A young man takes a look at existing technology, and how we humans interact with it. He thinks we can do better, so he explores the possibilities. Take 13 minutes and watch this amazing video. If you don’t watch it, the rest of this blog will make no sense – as usual. (If you’re in a hurry, skip ahead to 4 minutes 30 seconds in.)

The mind boggles at the real world potential for this approach to the human machine interface. In addition to the “cool” applications you see in his presentation, there’s exceptional potential for the more mundane aspects of business technology – and perhaps for some more trivial pursuits as well.

On The Serious Side…

Consider a warehouse where, as items are picked and packed for shipment, those items are checked against the order and the Inventory system is updated in real-time – without the pickers and packers doing anything other than picking and packing. No computer or handheld devices. Imagine further that as the picker picks an item off the shelf, an image of that item is projected onto the box for comparison. If you’re packing items that require special packaging or handling, video and audio instructions guide you through the process wherever in the warehouse you’re doing it – again with no handheld or static computing device.

On The Lighter Side…

You’re on a first date – nice restaurant, good conversation so far. And of course your thoughts and gestures are projected onto your date’s shirt, which is only amusing until you realize that the wall behind you is, in fact, a mirror…so you make your escape, only to get pulled over by a cop while driving home. He got suspicious when he saw the row of shot glasses projected onto your windshield.

In my opinion …

Yes, we should remember the unfulfilled hype of previous emerging interfaces like the Tablet PC. But this is different. I suspect in a few years’ time we’ll see this interface approach replacing the “tied to the desk” metaphor in many environments. And we’ll all be better off for it. Of course, for application developers, this represents either a big threat or (as in my case) an excellent opportunity.