At OMMA, We Saw The Future, And It Was Freaky
In a way, it was a fitting (coincidental) memorial for science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke, who died in his Sri Lanka home at the age of 90 just a few hours before.
Herigstad recalled that "10 years ago, it looked like we were never going to be able to reach" the sort of gestural interface he helped design for Tom Cruise in Minority Report--but now, "it doesn't seem that far away." The popularity of Nintendo Wii and iPhones based on gestural technology demonstrates that the basic technology is scalable and easily adopted. Herigstad added that technology companies are developing systems that rely on gestures alone, with no need for handheld devices or swooping histrionics.
Meanwhile, development of the multi-dimensional interface is well underway, thanks in part to Herigstad's work for Schematic clients. The design guru wowed the audience with a series of highly interactive formats for organizing and navigating media and entertainment like video games, categorizing the interfaces by the spatial context where people are using or seeing them--ranging from 200 feet (public spaces) to 10 feet (a communal, friends and family experience) to two feet (PC) and 1 foot (mobile device).
At the 10-foot distance, where video games are usually played, Schematic designed the pre-game experience and interface for a basketball game by EA Sports that features content from the NBA and ESPN. The opening interface locates the user in an abstract basketball arena with virtual video panels floating above it in a giant circle, like levitating jumbotron screens. As the screens slowly rotate, they display live content from ESPN basketball that is imported to the game through an IP connection, promoting games and products as well as features of the game itself.
Herigstad explained the interface: "Left and right arrow allows you to move between the game world, on left, and ESPN media content on the right, with screens showing live video content, moving forward and back in three dimensions."
(Because only the desktop PC comes equipped with a mouse, Herigstad said the basic navigational elements of most of the displays will be vertical and horizontal, with content arranged in categories and sub-categories that sort of looked like Apple's iPod, although visually far more spectacular. An organizational trick common to all the interfaces is storing things already owned on the left, and things that can be purchased on the right.)
Similarly, Schematic designed an interface for the Miami Vice DVD that organized content with the same kind of moving panel format, inviting users to explore "extras" far beyond the scope of the usual DVD: using an IP connection again, the DVD menu allows users to view constantly updated content imported, for example, from actor Jamie Foxx's Web site. The Web site itself isn't recreated on the screen, but Foxx's songs, movie clips, TV appearances, news, and pictures are extracted into the same visual context as the rest of the DVD.
Other interfaces for TV shows like "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" and movies like "The Bourne Ultimatum" allow the viewer to pause (or not pause, if they like) the program and view details about products included in brand integrations. The interface, which can be hidden for a simple full-screen view, shrinks the play-screen down slightly and displays product information in the margins.
At the public levels of viewing (50- and 100-foot distances), Schematic teamed with Accenture to create interactive walls at airports which allow travelers to access news and information from the Internet, opening multiple screens in different parts on the wall. Several people can use the screens at once, Herigstad said, noting that they also tend to attract an audience, creating a multi-layered public experience.
Oh, and the brainwave-scanning remote control? It combines gestures, head movements, facial expressions, and data on previous content usage with information on the user's conscious thoughts and emotional states, gathered with brain scans, to navigate a graphic interface that looks sort of like a huge virtual galaxy of media options. Schematic designed the interface for Emotiv, the company that created the Epoc Neuroheadset, on sale this Christmas for $299. Emotiv is currently accepting reservations for the device.