By PowerBuy // 10 February 2014 // Related Categories: Tips
It’s ironic that although technology is here to serve us, we often have to adapt ourselves to use it. Remember your hand cramping when you first learned to drive a manual car? Computing is no different: it takes everyone a while to get the hang of using a mouse, or learning to send text messages.
Yet, if current trends are anything to go by, a new chapter is about to be written in the computing evolution – where IT will start to adapt to us. Let’s look at three areas of development of “no-touch computing”.
Technology is skin deep
A startling possibility: sensors will soon be integrated into our bodies – turning your hand into a virtual computer mouse.
If this seems an awkward proposition, consider for a moment electronic pacemakers, which are implanted to monitor and adjust a person’s heartbeat. And this technology’s been around for years.
If the leap of merging man with machine seems still a bit much to process for now, a different approach would rely on highly sensitive external sensors reading your body language. Soon, subtle body expressions and micro gestures will work as commands a computer can interpret. Imagine simply staring at something to select it, nodding to approve something, or checking off lists on your fingers. The days of touching a computer will soon be over.
HP’s Leap Motion Notebook is the first step in this direction; users can simply use their hands and fingers to navigate all menus and functions on the screen. Incredibly accurate tracking of hand motion makes using it as intuitive and simple as possible.
Computers can’t make decisions for us. But they can do a lot of the thinking. Or, to be more accurate: they can make informed choices by using information they get automatically from us. For example, a famous fast food chain can now predict with 80% accuracy what you will order, based on the vehicle you drive – which must cause frustration when kids borrow their mom’s car! And In Japan, vending machines use sensors to recognize users’ sex and age, before drawing rather accurate conclusions from it. (Guess it’s programmed to know that women order the lion’s share of chocolate!)
Voice your choice
As a technology, voice recognition has been around for quite a while. Recognizing and matching pre-recorded voice waves forms the basis of this technology.
Yet for a computer to not only recognise someone’s voice, but actually understand it are two different things. Over the past decade, technology has made leaps and bounds in this area. It’s now at a point where simple sentences of nouns and verbs can be understood.
As is clear from a development like Siri, the days of talking to your computer have arrived.
A hands-free future
Humans have been interacting with machines for years. New devices like tablets have become part of every home, helping us shop, chat, surf and process information in an easy, informal manner that creates minimal interruptions to our routine.
It’s often said that the best personal assistants have a talent for making a room seem emptier when they enter it. With the advances in no-touch computing, computers aren’t that far off.
In a nice reversal, the next technological leap will focus more on natural interactions, bringing machines closer to us – and perhaps even making them part of us.
Source: HP Technology @ Work, 2014.
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