I blogged previously about multi-touch technology, an interaction design that has been around for a while but will probably become more popular with the release of the iPhone. Meanwhile, ‘back at the lab’ even more exciting things are in the works.
Amar at UIScape recently blogged about how computer scientist Andrew Wilson is working on technology that lets you interact with computers without even touching anything. Basically, a webcam attached to the computer screen recognizes shapes made by the human hand and processes them as commands. For example, when you put your thumb and forefinger together, you can move, zoom and rotate content on the screen.
Although obviously still in its very early stages, the applications for changing how we interact with computers could be revolutionary. My only fear is that ergonomics is not taken into consideration when developing hand gestures. The invention of the mouse and keyboard has enabled us to interact with computers efficiently for decades, but at the expense of a healthy lifestyle in many ways.
Although replacing the mouse with our hands could be cool, I don’t see the value in it unless it will be a real improvement over the mouse ergonomically.