The interfaces between people and technology have always interested me. It's also a critical part of my work as a web designer. And when I watch movies, it's interesting to see what kinds of fictional "shinies" and other gimmicks people have come up with to portray the future of interface technologies. For the most part, the graphical wonders that have come out of Hollywood are dumb, useless, or strickly plot-driven in their design. But every now and then, I see a creation that is thoroughly thought-out, and beautifully rendered. And then, I turn around and find some aspects of these fictional technologies beginning to be realized.
Seeing the Multi-Touch Interaction Research demo video made me very happy today. Watch the entire video. It's well worth it.
People are finally beginning to build technology that can truly take advantage of all ten of our fingers. Mainstream technology (in the form of the mouse pointer) is essentially a single "finger" on our screen. It can be a very slow and annoying experience to work with just a mouse. In fact, the "ancient" technology of the keyboard is still much faster, especially in the hands of a talented keyboard jockey. Stylus technology, such as Wacom's excellent tablet lines, are a step up. In some cases, I'm faster with a digital pen than I am with a mouse. And check out this video of a master artist working magic on a Wacom Cintiq. It's amazing. But these devices and applications still represent a single point of contact.
The Multi-Touch project is one of multiple projects that are beginning to break out of this model. How soon until we start seeing implementations akin to those shown in such movies as Minority Report and The Island? I don't know about you, but I can't wait.