Monday 2 February 2009

Is Nintendo Wii the future of computing?

How do you communicate best? Reports, presentations, web pages? All one-sided push technologies.
For thousands of years, humans (and primates before that) have communicated face to face, with words, tones and sounds, gestures and expressions. There is some work often quoted which says that over 50% of the meaning of a communication is in the body language, and less than 15% by the words used.
And yet, in the developed world, the bulk (numerically) of communication is by email and report. Words.
The position adopted by a computer user doesn't help - a screen between me and thee, fingers tied to the keyboard which limits the gestures I can make, chin on chest reducing the range of my voice.
Then along comes the Wii.  Suddenly expansive gestures are back on the menu; interactivity and making connections, team work whether in the same room or the other side of the world.  There's a room in the film "Minority Report" where Tom Cruise goes to sort through data.  He stands in the middle of the room, surrounded by see-through screens -- not cut off from the world but able to assemble his information and keep it to hand.
Gestures bring up pieces of information, gestures link and overlay them.  You would dismiss it as science fiction but already an enthusiast has demonstrated that this can be done on your computer using little more than a Wii controller and some reflective tape on your fingertips.
Google Earth is another candidate.  It's a way of exploring enormous amounts of data - in this casee physical and geographical features, but it could just as easily be mountains and valleys of statistics, marketing or production data.  Once again, an amateur programmer shows us how to make the leap from using a mouse to press on virtual buttons on a flat screen, to an interactive experience controlled, yes, by a Wii remote.

What do you do currently on a keyboard, that you would prefer to do standing up and with gestures?
  • using mindmaps?
  • conferencing?
  • brainstorming / focussing / action planning?
  • monthly progress reports?
  • linking and overlaying data?
I wonder how long it will be before these remote controllers become ubiquitous and are used for all the things they could be used for?

No comments: