The New Media Consortium has published the 2010 Horizon Report: Museum Edition which “identifies and describes emerging technologies likely to have a large impact over the coming five years on a variety of sectors around the globe.”
A section on Gesture-Based Computing caught my eye for obvious reasons. The report lists the time-to-adoption horizon for gesture-based computing as four to five years. We agree with many of the report’s findings, but since we’ve been involved in developing multitouch and multiuser applications for over two years now, I would move that timeline forward. Although what one would consider “adoption” and how widespread it is seems to be open to interpretation.
Below are a few of the points that we found especially interesting.
The report calls gesture-based computing a transformative technology.
“Because gesture-based computing changes not only the physical and mechanical aspects of interacting with computers, but also our perception of what it means to work with a computer, it is a transformative technology.”
It mentions the importance of allowing visitors to “manipulate objects” and how that is a “satisfying personal connection of an individual with the object. In addition, the report touches on the potential of collaborative interaction:
“Larger multi-touch displays support collaborative work, allowing multiple users to interact with content simultaneously, unlike a single-user mouse.”
The potential for collaborative work and communication between museum visitors in the report really should be expanded. Our experiences in developing multitouch exhibits has shown us that beyond “intuitive gestures,” multitouch means multiuser and well-constructed exhibits can encourage interaction between visitors. In fact, the interaction we’ve seen around multitouch tables is similar to the types of interaction one might expect from a hands-on science exhibit.
The report is worth checking out and there are a variety of links to examples of multitouch exhibits (including two of our own).