NUI – Where Microsoft gets a little Touchy!

22 Oct

It’s a general concept that Microsoft don’t innovate at all, and just copies from others (Those others who hold less than 7% of computer OS segment. Yeah right!). Also, that it’s a completely closed source company (knew Openness and CodePlex?). Clearly, these things are market gimmicks to snatch some customer base (~92% market share is something!), and in reality nothing to do with what actually the company does. As far as innovation goes, you may want to have a look at Microsoft Research. Now before we go into stupid Microsoft vs. Apple fight again (sorry Linux, you now don’t make a cut.), let me come to the topic.

What exactly is NUI? NUI stands for Natural User interface (and it has nothing to do with that stupid Natural Scrolling Lion has). NUI is not a single product but a series of offerings to help you control the digital world in more natural way. Microsoft has done these kinds of attempts in past as well (Microsoft Surface, anyone?), but they haven’t seen much acceptance from customer, to put in polite way! What’s new in store of NUI then which make drastic changes? Currently nothing, but let’s look at what’s about to come (maybe!) in future.

The three products I’m gonna tell you definitely has potentials, but it’s too early in their development phase to be sure of their future. Let’s begin (in increasing order of my liking).

1. Microsoft PocketTouch:

PocketTouch is Through-Fabric Capacitive Touch Input (phew!). Essentially, it’s a way to interact with a touch sensitive device through your cloths. That means, you don’t have to take out your mobile every time in order to do simple works, just touch your pocket. If you’ve seen the video above, you can easily understand it’s working and usefulness. As far as size goes, well, I don’t think final product will be this big or have such a long wires. Actually, it should be inbuilt in the mobiles for better user acceptance.

2. Microsoft OmniTouch:

OmniTouch is Wearable Multitouch Interaction Everywhere. It simply means you can potentially convert any surface into interactive user interface. It’s much like Pranav Mistry’s Sixth Sense Device but comes with a lot more features. As you can see from the video, it looks quite fluid and powerful. If it sees a commercial light, it has a potential to retire mouse altogether. Again, it’s just the initial model in the video and the final product will be made into a pendant or a watch.

3. Microsoft HoloDesk:

HoloDesk (it doesn’t have single line definition, sorry!) is the latest offering from Microsoft and created a lots of buzz lately. Developers at Microsoft Research created a Virtual Interactive System using Kinect camera optical see through 3D display. User can interact with the virtual object just like he does with natural objects and all of these happen in real-time. This clearly show the huge potential of Kinect as well, but the overall system created for HoloDesk is something really worth a look. Just look at the video and get mesmerized.

We cannot predict the future for sure (unless you’re a Mayan, of course!), but looking into these technologies, it seems that our future will be much more interactive and immersive than what’s it today.Finally before leaving, here is one more video on how Microsoft plans to transform User Interaction with computers in future. Take a look:

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