Thursday, June 4, 2009

Human/Computer Interface, 1 of 3

This is a first in a set of three posts that takes a peek into the future of computer/gaming interfaces.

The two that follow are current visions, just demoed over the past few days at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). But the one I really admire -- even now, 22 years later -- is this video from Apple Computer, circa 1987:

For a full overview of the Knowledge Navigator concept, visit this Wikipedia entry.

This idea emerged while John Sculley was head of Apple Computer. Unfortunately, those were dark days for the technology product and usabilty innovator, until Steve Jobs returned to the company in 1997. But Sculley can be credited with this bold vision of what a computer can should be.

In this video, we see the Knowledge Navigator as a true Personal Digital Assistant (PDA). It has a touch and voice interface, can intelligently intercept calls, anticipate needs, make intellectual connections, and more. On top of all that, I love that the avatar (or "software agent") looks a bit like Bill Nye, the Science Guy.

Also check out this video from the same period: Future Shock.

Why, over twenty years later, have we made such little progress?

In the next two entries, I look at two recent innovations/visions. Still far from Apple's original vision, but progress nevertheless.

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