Tapworthy author Josh Clark believes the future of sensor-rich devices will take us well beyond mobile to new forms of interaction. In his standing-room only presentation at SXSW Interactive entitled “Where No Geek Has Gone Before,” Clark looked into the not-too-distant future of computing where many traditional single interfaces will fade into history.
The biggest change, Clark says, is the sensors that give us more comprehensive insight and input than ever before, which rockets the utility of mobile devices well beyond typical desktop and laptop computers.
Sensors save users time because they are able to intelligently gather data through GPS, cameras, microphones, accelerometers and more.
Apps like Tabledrum “push the interface of the screen itself” by mapping real-world object to sounds in a “whimsical way” to create augmented audio, Clark explains. Anytouch lets users turn anything – even a sheet of paper — into an interface.
As a result, Clark believes “the best touch interface may be no touch at all.” Gestures and speech can make magic all by themselves.
On top of that, it has become “trivially inexpensive to put a sensor on anything,” even tiny sensors in pills that track when you take your medicine.
As all the sensors and smart devices proliferate, users aren’t going to want multiple operating systems or even multiple interfaces, Clark says.
Ultimately that has to happen with open systems, he says. It’s a future of social devices based in a social cloud. “We’re all cloud developers now,” he concluded.
Clark paints an exciting picture of what’s ahead. Here’s my take: as these interfaces, devices and apps emerge, they will undoubtedly move even more to the cloud, where the same app and APIs can adapt to multiple devices and data from all those sensors can be easily created, saved and recalled. And when it comes to open systems, there’s no better place than the open cloud.