I was so struck by Adam Penenberg’s recent article in Fast Company that I’m going to break my own rule and direct your attention to a totally non-brain related topic: The future of touch screens.
I’m no technofetishist, but even I was blown away by the revolutionary touch screen technology being developed by NYU’s Jefferson Han. Han’s demonstration at the 2006 TED conference left a crowd of tech-luminaries, including Google’s Sergey Brin and Larry Page, speechless:
Han began his presentation. His fingertips splayed, he placed them on the cobalt blue 36-inch-wide display before him and traced playful, wavy lines that were projected onto a giant screen at his back . . . With the crowd beginning to stir, he called up some vacation photos, manipulating them on the monitor as if they were actual prints on a tabletop. He expanded and shrank each image by pulling his two index fingers apart or bringing them together . . .
“There is no reason in this day and age that we should be conforming to a physical device,” he said. “These interfaces should start conforming to us.” He tapped the screen to produce dozens of fuzzy white balls, which bounced around a playing field he defined with a wave of the hand. A flick of a finger pulled down a mountainous landscape derived from satellite data, and Han began flying through it, using his fingertips to swoop down from a global perspective to a continental one, until finally he was zipping through narrow slot canyons like someone on an Xbox.
If you think this description is dazzling, wait until you see a demonstration: The article includes a video clip of Han manipulating his Gibsonesque invention.