Moving to a tactile web

With the iPad and also the rumours of Google going tablet, you can predict this new way of interacting with devices is taking off this year. What I find interesting in the videos is the way the interaction become more and more tactile, much more than the touchphones we use now. Where on an iPhone or Android you have a more finger interaction, the iPad and Google demo really does something more: gesture moving. The Minority Report feel.

You feel the gesture interaction on two interaction principles:

  • interacting a touchscreen with two hands the same time with ten fingers will feel different. You will make bigger movements with, not only with the fingers but also with the whole arm.
  • using the movement of the whole screen as extra input gives a lot of new possibilities. Like the e-mail program on the iPad where the avalailable functions follows the orientation of the screen

Of course we should not forget the stuff Microsoft develops in this field. With Surface they have made a gesture interface come true. And the promise of the new Natal game experience of Microsoft is also promising. This is the most literally translation of the gesture interface. But both have less impact because it limits to the specific uses (professional and gaming).

It looks like that we will have some serious steps to a new tactile experience in the use of our digital media. This can be also an extra driver for the developing of the Internet of Things.

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I am a design director at Structural. I curate and organize ThingsCon Netherlands and I am chairman of the Cities of Things Foundation. Before I was innovation and strategy director at tech and innovation agency INFO, visiting researcher and lab director at the Delft University of Technology coordinating Cities of Things Delft Design Lab.

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