HCI Newsletter #2 – Interface of the future, more on NASA’s HoloLens, Identity and a book to read

HCI Tiny Letter Cyborg

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My creators want me to be the user interface of the future

I saw this video [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=105&v=kOil2HSDq0E ] titled ‘Face of the future rears its head’ which is a collaboration between researchers at Toshiba’s Cambridge Research Lab and the University of Cambridge’s Department of Engineering. It is a step further towards a life-like digital representation of ourselves. I find it interesting that we keep trying to create AIs that have a very human representation because we will always know that it isn’t a human, so why do we want it to look human? Still great research even if it is a little too close to Holly. [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQH-Za6jhsI ].

Project Sidekick – just what was HoloLens going to do on the ISS?

There’s a 30min NASA Technical Q&A [ https://youtu.be/ZJt6AA2lFRs?t=41m49s ] on YouTube featuring Alex Kipman where NASA talk about how they’re intending to use HoloLens in in space. They talk about 2 applications. Remote Expert Mode – let the ground controller to see what the astronaut is seeing and guide them through an exercise (press this button, flick that switch etc) allowing NASA to connect a leading expert with a piece of equipment with the astronaut on the ISS. Procedure Mode – an animated hologram appearing on top of an object that they have to guide them through an experiment. Interesting in one journalist’s question in that he just doesn’t understand the notion of mixed reality – there’s a great explanation from Alex Kipman in there – the difference between Mixed Reality & Augmented Reality [ https://youtu.be/ZJt6AA2lFRs?t=1h3m8s ].


Having to sign-in to a computer has become more complicated, mainly due to the security protocols imposed by IT organisations which require in most cases 2 factor authentication. So it’s not surprising that tech companies are trying to find interesting yet secure ways to give users access to their devices and their data. Windows 10 launches in the next week and with it comes Windows Hello that uses built-in hardware (an Intel Realsense depth camera) to identify users [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4klvYqaXZc ]. Then there’s hints of biometric advances at Apple prompting some to ask if Apple is preparing to get rid of the home button which is used for fingerprint recognition in favour of embedding Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint sensor directly onto the display – [ http://qz.com/439022/is-apple-prepping-to-nix-the-iphones-home-button/ ].


If sci-fi is your thing then I’d recommend William Gibson’s Peripheral – I’ve just finished it. Set in an unknown but not far off decade which considers how we can communicate with people in the future and some of the technology that people in a hundred years’ time may be using with a dash of the ethics of time disruption thrown in. I found this to be one of his more accessible pieces of fiction. [ http://www.williamgibsonbooks.com/ ]