The Future of HCI: Why Computers Need to Understand Human Motion

We have experienced a series of great innovations over the years within the human-computer interaction (HCI) field. From Fitts's Law to The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Twowe now have very defined rules to help guide us when building phenomenal software interfaces.


In recent years, companies (Kiwi included!) are trying to take it a step further in removing the barrier between humans and computers. How many companies are now focussing on keyboardless and mouseless applications? Leap Motion, Myo, Nymi, and a plethora of other wearable technology companies have moved away from the desktop and laptop way of interaction.


But why Dave? Why are companies even trying to come up with a new way of interacting with computers when we have universally adopted the keyboard and mouse? It is the crux of our interaction with computers and my digital life!


Calm down, take a deep breath, the world isn't ending. Yes, we have universally adopted the keyboard and mouse, but the human body is an interface that can effortlessly give us what we want and need from any computer in a faster and more efficient way. And what's more natural than just moving our bodies?



Three ways HCI can benefit with human motions


There are three very simple reasons why the human body can act as an interface that is better than our current mechanical way of computer interaction:


1. It's more natural - We move our bodies day in and day out, and although we're used to the keyboard and mouse, there's still a clear machine aspect to it. By bringing our bodies into play, we can finally interact uninhibited from machine restrictions.


2. Activity over speech - Voice may be how we commonly communicate with other people, but in reality our non-verbal communication often says more. Every second of your life, your body's movements are telling you something. Transforming this phyiscal information to digital information can significantly expand the user's ability to learn and perform tasks more efficiently.


3. Motion is life - Motion is a way of interacting with the physical world. All our movements can lead to greater insights (medical, personal, relational, etc.) to change how we live our lives.


Our bodies can very well be the next step in human-computer interactions. There are numerous benefits with computers understanding the human body. The real question is: Are we ready for this step?