I love the fact that Microsoft is making this research public. These aren’t ready for store shelves, but some of the concepts being explored here are very interesting.
I’ve felt like my laptop trackpad surpassed the functionality of a desktop mouse a while ago. It looks like the mouse, or some other type of input device, will catch up soon and take advantage of all of these new multitouch mechanisms that are being built into modern operating systems.
Bruce Branit put together this great short film, World Builder, in which he visualizes the future of hands-on 3D modeling. World Builder is a futuristic mix between the Holodeck from Star Trek, Maya (or Sketchup, 3DsMax, Rhino, Modo, etc), and SecondLife. The film was produced with one day of live footage shooting and 2 years of post production.
We surely won’t be using our own World Builder, as pictured, any day soon… But I do wonder how long it will be before we have visualization systems this powerful and interactive. Just look at the progress in computer based modeling software that we’ve made in the last 25 years. Compare Pixar’s first (pre-rendered) animated short from 1984 to what can be visualized in real time with Luxology’s upcoming Modo 401. If experimental visualization tools like ILoveSketch (you must watch the demo videos) are any indication, we won’t have to wait too long for our own World Builder.
Of course progress will be exciting and difficult at the same time. It will be exciting as knowledge of a tool becomes less of a barrier to communicating ideas, but that is exactly what will make the people and industries that have invested so much time and money into learning current tools so defensive. We’ve seen the rise of the user-generated-web shift the production of entertainment from professionals to the masses, and I’d argue that the result has been the discovery of more great ideas and talent that used to be lost due to a lack of resources. Perhaps we’ll see the same shift happen in the design of artifacts.
BMW recently unveiled their new GINA concept car. They’ve taken the body panels of the car, typically sheet metal, plastic, or fiberglass, and replaced them with a stretchable cloth. Beneath the cloth there are a series of structural supports that can be moved around, changing the form of the car. These days, the rigidness, safety, and ride quality of a car is mostly affected by the structure of the vehicle, while the skin is mostly aesthetic. In this video, Chris Bangle (Director of Design at BMW) talks through some of the philosophies behind the study, and explains the implications it may have for BMW as a company moving forward. We won’t see it on the road any time soon, but GINA may represent a shift in focus at BMW toward non-traditional solutions to very traditional problems.
I still do it the old fashioned way… my mug and CPU are separate, but Jason Farsai has a better idea. His Yuno concept turns your insulated coffee mug into an internet appliance. Think of it as bringing your Dashboard Widgets with you to the breakfast table.
Now that flexible displays are reaching commercial practicality, and wireless data options have saturated our lives, I expect that we will see a lot of exciting concepts like this becoming a reality. Cool concept Jason, and those are some beautiful renderings/composites.