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User Experience Of The Future


Over decades we’ve used to adapt our habits, behavior and mindset to technology. We’ve improved our productivity by using tools and devices designed especially for the tasks we have to deal with regularly. But we’ve also constrained our abilities to the features of the very tools and devices we’ve become dependant on.

We’ve got used to a number of things. To traditional mouse-keyboard user interaction, to 2D windows-based user interface and to a rather unspectacular user’s workflow which enables one user interact with only one application at a time. For instance, while you’re browsing in your web browser you can’t scale your text and resize your window simultaneously — unless you are a keyboard-shortcut-master.

Good news: it can be different. Below we present some of the outstanding recent developments in the field of user experience design. Most techniques may seem very futuristic, but they are reality. And in fact, they are extremely impressive. Keep in mind: they can become ubiquitous over the next years.

Future For Gamers: Cheoptics360™ Link

Absolutely incredible. Cheoptics360 is a Vizoo’s product which can change our understanding of 3D for always. This is a documentation of the 5×5 meter Cheoptics360 in the Vizoo’s showroom. No special effects or compositing has been used editing this movie. This is the real thing. Official web-site.


reactable Link

reactable is a collaborative electronic music instrument with a tabletop tangible multi-touch interface. Several simultaneous performers share complete control over the instrument by moving and rotating physical objects on a luminous round table surface.

By moving and relating these objects, representing components of a classic modular synthesizer, users can create complex and dynamic sonic topologies, with generators, filters and modulators, in a kind of tangible modular synthesizer or graspable flow-controlled programming language. Demos.


Multi-Touch Link

Multi-Touch Technology
Multi-Touch-based devices accept input from multiple fingers and multiple users simultaneously, allowing for complex gestures, including grabbing, stretching, swiveling and sliding virtual objects across the table. While touch sensing is commonplace for single points of contact, multi-touch sensing enables a user to interact with a system with more than one finger at a time, as in chording and bi-manual operations. Demos 1, Demos 2.


Such sensing devices are inherently also able to accommodate multiple users simultaneously, which is especially useful for interactive walls and tabletops. Multi-Touch is already widely used. Apple’s iPhone has Multi-Touch scrolling and picture manipulation.


Microsoft Surface Link

Multi-Touch is also the core of Microsoft Surface, an interactive tabletop which allows a user, or multiple users, to manipulate digital content by the use of natural motions, hand gestures, or physical objects by putting them on the surface.


BumpTop Link

Bumptop is a fresh user interface that takes the usual desktop metaphor to a glorious, 3D extreme. In this physics-driven universe, important files finally get the weight they deserve via an oddly satisfying resizing feature, and the drudgery of file organization becomes a freewheeling playground full of crumpled documents and clipping-covered “walls.” TED-presentation of Bumptop.


Further References Link

  • 3D Operating System
    Next Generation Operating System from Sun Micro Systems
  • XTR3D is real-time software that analyzes 3D human motions using only one simple web cam, without any additional accessories. It will allow users to play games and interact in virtual worlds using natural human motions instead of keyboards, mouses and joysticks. Released Sep 27, 2007.
Smashing Book #5

Hold on tiger! Thank you for reading the article. Did you know that we also publish printed books and run friendly conferences – crafted for pros like you? For example, Smashing Book 5, packed with smart responsive design patterns and techniques.

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Vitaly Friedman loves beautiful content and doesn’t like to give in easily. Vitaly is writer, speaker, author and editor-in-chief of Smashing Magazine. He runs responsive Web design workshops, online workshops and loves solving complex UX, front-end and performance problems in large companies. Get in touch.

  1. 1

    Wow! Some awesome stuff in here – thanks!

  2. 2

    Very futuristic post, I think that some of this aren’t good idea.

  3. 3

    lorenzo piccinini

    November 26, 2007 5:51 pm

    Impressive! you know how to make us happy even on monday morning, this is a wonderfull post!


  4. 4

    Nice article. Perceptive Pixel somehow reminds me of the UI used in the movie ‘Minority Report’.

  5. 5

    Yet again another great post. Wonder when these solutions will be widely used in the average household…

  6. 6

    360 == holograms, rl startrek here we come ;)

  7. 7

    Richard Francis Kay

    November 26, 2007 7:12 pm

    I want these!

  8. 8

    Great looking but expensive as well. Future it might be cheaper of course, it looks cool but I don’t think its functions are as worth the price tag. Nice list though.

  9. 9

    Of these, I’m most interested in the Photosynth application and yet, now that Microsoft is involved, I cannot view the website with a Mac OS computer…typical!

  10. 10

    The success of the Wii controller showed us that the world is hungry for a richer interactive experience and these examples are right up that alley. The Bumptop desktop is especially intruging to me. I hope Microsoft and Apple are paying attention.

  11. 11

    Cheoptics360 and Multi-touch seem very promising! Can’t wait to see them being implemented in real life.

  12. 12

    Juan Manuel Lemus

    November 26, 2007 9:54 pm

    The Microsoft Surface is a great revolutionary device. I think that the future is in the mobile devices and touch interface…. . Very good article…!

  13. 13

    if bumptop combines with multi-touch technology on perceptive pixel, a new era of user interfaces will appear. just imagine the possibilities

  14. 14

    Coming back from the holiday, I could use about 10 more of these posts.


  15. 15

    “now you can view maps…on a big ass table”

  16. 16

    THE and the zooming interface belong on this list.

  17. 17

    Real time 3d is my all time dream to visualize and “Cheoptics360™ ” is really one such.

  18. 18

    Awesome! wonder when these technologies will be easily available to common man

  19. 19

    Microsoft is up to some pretty amazing stuff, but they’re more inclined to use it for applications rather then gaming.

  20. 20


    November 27, 2007 2:06 pm

    Thank you for an excellent post. We’re studying user interfaces in our university and these projects are wonderful examples of what can be achieved.

  21. 21

    what about elinks, gnu screen, and the bash prompt? no i am not kidding. it is entirely possible to see another future in which the public burns out on gadgetry and would rather settle for the most natural interface to people – words.

  22. 22

    i know someone who has bumptop, they said it wasnt that expensive

  23. 23

    Very informative. Atleast you make sure that we don’t get left behind.

  24. 24

    Multitouch is cool and very handay, but I don’t get the BumpTop. It looks just like more clutter to me.

  25. 25

    So it seems like somone just browsed the TED sight and made a post.

  26. 26

    I was under the impression that Microsoft’s Surface was not, in fact, multi-touch, but instead relied on IR cameras positioned above the table which tracked the hand gestures. May be splitting hairs, but I think the future is with capacitive surfaces (a la iPhone) and not these large, camera-based set-ups.

  27. 27

    The cheoptics360 seems to be using the same trick as those videocd based arcade games back in the early 90’s- use a concave mirror to make an image on a screen appear to be free-standing in space. Presumably they’ve innovated a bit by allowing the use of a projector, but i’s guess the theory is the same. It is *NOT* true volumetric- the image is the same from all angles – read the FAQ!

    also, IMHO, bumptop is a good example of a good solution to the wrong problem…

  28. 28

    yet another awesome post by SmashingMagazine

  29. 29

    This is by far one of the better posts I have read on the net lately. It’s a realistic look at the technologies of tomorrow. Great post.

    — Karim Baz

  30. 30

    Future for information organizers – 3D Topicscape


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