Tuesday, February 5, 2008
Told You So
So, Jeff Han's multi-touch wall-mounted computer has hit the big time.
CNN unveiled a version on Jan. 2 on "Wolf Blitzer's Situation Room," and continues to use it, especially for campaign coverage. According to The Washington Post piece linked above, the blizzard of information sailing in and around the screen sometimes can be too much and the wall sometimes takes a pretty tough touch to cough up data, but overall the reviews are positive.
This new, intuitive computer interface is one of the things that made me a believer in the advent of virtual government (see my Jan. 2008 post). Why we have put up with the kludgy, clumsy, uncomfortable TV-screen/typewriter interface for so long I don't know. Directly touching the screen. using hand and finger movements to manipulate, move and call up information is just so much more natural. It's also far less imposing to people not accustomed to the QWERTY world or unable to type on a screen for one reason or another.
But the most exciting aspect of wall-mounted multitouch computing is its ability to display so many disparate types and pieces of information in easy-to-understand visual representations. Suddenly, we can see all at once the trend data and geography and building size and the bird's eye view and statistics and a host of other stuff relating to a decision or a query or an event or a place or group or business or whatever.
Once the human mind can take in this disparate information visually, it can act as the most powerful computer yet and make connections and conjure hypotheses heretofore unimagined. And if you've ever watched kids play with Wii video games, you'll understand immediately that they will not just prefer, but expect, a physical interaction with information when they take over the leadership of government, the military and business.