In the realm of the Human Computer Interaction and when it comes to history of the Graphical User Interfaces (GUI). It appears that the work done at MIT's Lincoln Labs during the early 60's link eventually evolved into a cohesive user experience, as was demonstrated link by Douglas Engelbart and his team in 1968.
That's not to say that there was a direct connection between MIT and Engelbart.
However, we should be thankful that Engelbart did not listen to the voices that kept telling him that his ideas were crazy and bordering on science-fiction. That he continued and pursued his vision.
Now, I am sure that there is much more when it comes to the history and the evolution of the graphical user interface and the series of inventions that were to be had. Inventions and designs that would change how humans would interact with the machines.
Now, I am a child of the 80's and I've had the opportunity to witness, first-hand, the evolution of the various personal computing devices since then.
When it comes to personal computing, we are largely stuck with the designs of the 60's.
Now, at some point during the mid 90's, I recall going through a printed version of the Time Magazine. In one specific issue, there was an advertisement for IBM. The title on the page (advertisement) was 'Computing at the Speed of Thought'.
Since this was a while back and from what I can recall, the advertisement was supposed to showcase the power of the IBM workstations or the number of computations they could render during a finite amount of time. The advertisement simply showcased a businessman using their workstation. The message that IBM was trying to project was, that by using their workstation, users would have the ability to render applications that much more faster.
Throughout the times, more computational power has been equated with faster computing. And thanks to Moore's law and the general (healthy) rate of innovation in the computing industry, faster computing is what we got.
Personally speaking, I can still recall the day when I would have clicked on an icon on Windows 3.1x and I'd then have to wait then next 10 seconds for the application to load. We've come a long way since then.
However, even in this day and age of faster computing, the human interaction piece of the design is overlooked. Again, we continue borrowing the designs and they have existed during the 60's and we continue building upon them.
Define the problem:
Now, I hear that Moore's law is slowing down and that leads the door open to a reality, whereby we may make a switch towards another form of computing. Perhaps a form of computing that isn't inherently reliant on silicon based transistors or something else. But that's not the topic of discussion here.
What has been happening though is that we've just been taking this squeezing of the transistors and what it translates into, for granted and there have been very few innovations in the realm of human computer interaction with a core focus on the graphical user interface.
And that is the problem that I've been thinking about.
My overall suspicion is that the advancements in Moore's law has masked a gulf. That, a gulf exists between a human and the (computer) input systems.
This is a deep, design problem and a lot of opportunities can be had in this space. That we have a variety of input devices, but not much has changed in terms of how the interactions occur.
The solution entails that we re-frame the problem and put the advances as they have been made in the realm of better and faster computing and leverage this phenomenon in order to power newer mediums and enable newer ways for humans to interact with machines.
From the perspective of everyday computing, I believe that the 'interaction' piece has to be re-thought and re-designed, so as to overcome this gulf that I have defined above.
In my mind, I can almost visualize a very seamless and fluid user experience.
Something, that is beyond Oculus and Leap motion.