At this year’s SXSW festival, speakers pressed the importance of embedded sensory technology – including wearable devices such as Google Glass – and gesture tech, heralding the disappearance of the user interface as we know it. “The next user interface might be the body. Designers are radically changing the points at which we engage with technology. For example, as touch-based interfaces proliferate, focus is shifting towards controlling and enhancing our sense of touch,” says Hayley Ard, senior editor at Stylus.
In a keynote session, Michael Buckwald and David Holz, chief executive and chief technology officer respectively at motion-control software firm Leap Motion, demonstrated the firm’s gesture-controlled device, going on sale in May for around $70. “This world [of natural gestural interfaces] perceives you in new ways. It is very much a new reality, in which we can reach out and interact like it's really there. It's a new world different to the one around us, but it will be a much more human world than what occurs around us naturally. When you reach out for an object using Leap Motion, it comes to you – it's like being a Jedi,” said Holz. Asking businesses to consider how they might embed Leap Motion into their products, he added a cautionary note: “If we want to surround ourselves with sensors, we have to trust them and the companies behind them, to know they are there for us.”
Look out for full coverage of the Interactive themes mentioned here – and more – in our SXSW reports, which will also address directions in film, entertainment and music.