Human Computer Interaction: Breaking the Chair-and-Desk Paradigm

When personal computers first entered our homes and offices a generation ago, we conceptualized them mainly as high tech typewriters. Sit at your desk, look at the screen, and type. Although most computer work is still done via the chair-and-desk setup, this paradigm is shifting.

Whether it’s substituting desk chairs for bouncy balls, beds, and treadmills, or substituting computer mice for multi-touch screens, people are trying new ways of interacting with computers. On the one hand, this is great. As we spend more and more hours in front of computers for work and entertainment, it is important that we break the ergonomic shackles of the chair-and-desk. On the other hand, the fact that we now spend so many hours staring at a computer screen is something that should be questioned.

As a computer addict myself, I am hestitant to advocate less computer use. At the same time, I wonder how human computer interaction will evolve in the future. Are we doomed to trade reality for looking at life through the lense of an LCD screen? Or will we see even more radical changes in the way we interact with technology?

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