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A Vision of Computing From Microsoft's Future Thinker

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Over the next 10 years, how people interact with computers will evolve drastically, with hand gesture controls becoming as common as keyboards, and file selection being determined by eye scans instead of mouse movements, predicts Microsoft chief research and strategy officer Craig Mundie. "Today, most people's interaction is through a screen--whether they touch it, type it, point or click, it's still just graphical user interface," Mundie says. "While that's very powerful and has a lot of applicability, I think it will be supplemented in dramatic ways by what we call a natural user interface."

Mundie says computers will soon be able to emulate the human senses of sight, hearing, speech, touch, and gesture, and combine them in multiple ways for people to interact with machines. The interactivity revolution will be fueled by new multiprocessor computers, which are expected to be widely available by 2012. Mundie says these new processors should provide major improvements, with some performances increasing by a factor of 100.

One of the first major commercial applications of the new interface technology is expected to be released next year when Microsoft launches its new line of Xbox gaming consoles, which will completely eliminate the need for handheld controllers. Mundie says the new gaming interface enables players to move and use gesture controls, with the system calculating in real time the angular position of the 22 major joints in the body.

Mundie envisions a day when users will simply be able to talk to their computers about solving problems. "You should be able to describe the problem or the policy you want and the computer should be able to somehow implement that," he says.

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Abstracts Copyright © 2009 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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