• 04.22.13

What’s It Like to Use a UI That “Feels Like Magic?”

User Interface design is changing, but what’s the ideal interface supposed to feel like? David Holz, of Leap Motion, thinks he has the answer and designers and developers can get a taste for Leap Motion’s Spatial UI from NASA’s robot controller.

What’s It Like to Use a UI That “Feels Like Magic?”

One of the ideals ascribed to future interfaces: That they should feel like “magic.” The things a user has to do to control an action should be so fluid and natural that it’s as if the device itself knows what you want in advance. David Holz, CEO of Leap Motion, whose “spatial interface” device, the Leap Motion Controller, goes on sale next month, phrased this more eloquently when he spoke recently at SXSW. Via The Guardian:


This world [of natural gestural interfaces] perceives you in new ways. It is very much a new reality, when you reach out for an object using Leap Motion, it comes to you–it’s like being a Jedi.

Leap Motion has developed an impressive combination of hardware and software for detecting hand gestures and converting the information into computer controls. Current experimental projects include remote controls for boats and an air harp musical instrument; check out these stories from New Scientist and Engadget.

And then there’s the NASA demo—on stage at the recent Game Developers Conference, scientists remotely controlled the one-ton Athlete rover prototype using Leap Motion. Far from being a simple demo of a more intuitive way to command a rover on a distant planet or moon, NASA sees this sort of spatial UI as key to near-future robotic exploration of our solar system–because the interface is so transparent, it helps the operator feel as though they’re actually “tele-present.” Whether or not a spatial UI is as beneficial here on Earth remains to be seen. Via The Verge.

Want to know more about the future of software interfaces? We’re tracking Your App’s Next Interface: Tracking Spatial Controls And “No UI”.

[Image by NASA Goddard on Flickr]

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