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"Interface-Free" Touch Screen at TED 194

Down8 writes, "Jeff Han, an NYU researcher, has recently shown off his 'interface free' touch screen technology at the TEDTalks in Monterey. Some sweet innovation that I hope makes it to the mainstream soon." The photo manipulation interface is reminiscent of "Minority Report."
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"Interface-Free" Touch Screen at TED

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  • Interface-free? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WilliamSChips ( 793741 ) <full DOT infinity AT gmail DOT com> on Monday October 30, 2006 @12:11AM (#16638351) Journal
    How do you not have an interface?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 30, 2006 @12:16AM (#16638383)
    This is a great development for people with hand, finger and wrist injuries. Many of them have profound problems using a keyboard, so a touchscreen like this actually works better. They're not always as efficient as somebody using a typical keyboard, but I've worked with people who can type up to 45 words per minute on such touchscreen devices.

    I'm also reminded of this story of a man who seriously injured his hands while blogging []. This is the sort of device he may wish to look into, once it becomes widely available.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 30, 2006 @12:30AM (#16638425)
    Hand me a doughnut while I work on this would ya? Everyone take a moment and look BETWEEN the keys on your keyboard. Now put that all on your monitor.
  • by streak ( 23336 ) on Monday October 30, 2006 @12:31AM (#16638427) Journal
    Ok, everyone realizes this was recorded in February right?
    Last I checked its the end of October.
    Jeff Han has been covered I don't know how many times on how many sites (probably on Slashdot too - haven't checked the archives yet).

    There's no such thing as no interface btw.
    Yes, you can remove a lot of the mode-switching with different gestures, but there is always going to be some sort of interface to allow you to access other functions.
    In my mind, once you get above about 4 or 5 gestures, things start to become confusing for people again - what was that gesture again? Thus defeating the purpose of no interface.
  • by jpardey ( 569633 ) <> on Monday October 30, 2006 @12:33AM (#16638441)
    Oh no! Children may use conventional tools, rather than futuristic things that are not in production yet, and probably won't be for 10+ years! When will we ever learn?
  • Oh for fucks sake (Score:4, Insightful)

    by glwtta ( 532858 ) on Monday October 30, 2006 @12:38AM (#16638481) Homepage
    Sure, it's neat - giant touchscreen with multiple points of contact and gestures that zoom and pan.

    And this is what's going to "change the way we interact with computers"? Odd as it may sound, most application interfaces don't revolve around zooming and panning; there are considerably harder problems left to solve.

    Funny he should mention RSI too, because that keyboard that will free you from the bonds of conformity, and that's displayed on a hard surface, will kill your wrists in a matter of months.

    The thing is great for the Earth-type applications, but that's about it. It's cool technology - why must every innovation promise to change all future computer interactions?

    (btw, if that picture viewer's "Pile of Crap" metaphor is where UI design is headed, I'm never upgrading again. I have my desk to act as a pile of crap, it won't make me feel more comfortable with my computer if it emulates that)
  • by Terminal Saint ( 668751 ) on Monday October 30, 2006 @12:50AM (#16638567)
    Everybody clean between your keys. Now clean your monitor.
  • Minority report??? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ( 142825 ) on Monday October 30, 2006 @12:58AM (#16638611) Homepage
    This is not from the Minority Report that was released in 2002. This was shown in shuttle interface in Earth the Final Conflict [] which aired in 1997.

    This type of interface was also in The first $20 millions is the hardest. [] But that came out in the same year as The Minority report.
  • The GUI (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mqduck ( 232646 ) <mqduck@m q d u c k . net> on Monday October 30, 2006 @01:48AM (#16638849)
    Very neat and completely useless. I don't know about you guys, but I find it much easier to find my data in my nice hierarchical filesystem than by digging through a garbage can fan full of papers, which is what this GUI simulates.
  • by daeg ( 828071 ) on Monday October 30, 2006 @01:58AM (#16638919)
    What were they supposed to do, write a transcript so you could read it with Lynx? Or maybe offer the entire video is an animated GIF?

    Not everything can be fully accessible to everyone.

    I'd wager that having it as Flash video makes it more accessible to more people than say, embedding it with other proprietary video software like Windows Media Player or Real Player, or even offering the file for direct download using some codec that you assume everyone has (not everyone can offer 10 different encoded videos so you can watch it on fringe systems). Flash video is, fortunately or unfortunately, the lowest common denominator across the widest variety of systems at this point.
  • Re:Interface-free? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Atlantis-Rising ( 857278 ) on Monday October 30, 2006 @02:38AM (#16639107) Homepage
    I took a gander at that book, and right away as I skimmed the amazon page, I noticed problems. He may be a wonderful cognitive psychologist, but he's no technocrat.

    The whole "Why shouldn't my computer take three nanoseconds to turn on, read my mind, and then never ever have errors!!!?!?one1" thing is a very amateur approach to the problem, if you ask me. Sure, it would be nice, but I'm absolutely sure it's technically impossible.

    To be more specific:
    "There has never been any technical reason for a computer to take more than a few seconds to begin operation when it is turned on."
    I can name half a dozen; power consumption for suspend to RAM, system process cleanup for suspend to disk, disk space storage for suspend to disk, driver software that doesn't gracefully handle failing down to a hibernate state, plug-and-play hardware detection on bootup... not to mention the whole raft of problems that occur when users never shut down and clog their system up by never ending processes.

    The problem with the view he espouses is that it practically requires a suspend-state, when users aren't good with suspend states. It wasn't until Windows XP and the relatively modern (last three or four years) (okay don't flame me I'm sure SOMEWHERE there was a build that had really optimal suspend, but I couldn't find it) linux systems that suspend really started working, and even so, your device drivers really depend on when you can suspend the system and how it restores.

    For example, when I tested Vista on my laptop, the base sound driver would for some reason kill the audio after restore from suspend. It just wouldn't make any noise until it rebooted. When I upgraded the driver, it went away.

    It is, in fact, only recently that we have had flashmem and the concept of keeping your 'bootfiles' on a seperate flash partition to read from for a quick boot has been a realistic and close to mainstream idea for the desktop.

    The same thing comes up here.
    "Why should you have to double-click anything? What does Ctrl+D mean one thing in one program and a completely different thing in another? And what's the point of the Yes/No confirmation if the user is in the habit of clicking Yes without thinking about it?"
    All of those things make sense in the context they are being used in, and they're relatively intuitive. After all, it's not the programmers fault the user is an idiot, especially with something as simple as a yes/no dialog box, as long as the dialog box is written in language comprehensible for the designed userbase.

System checkpoint complete.