Friday, April 07, 2006

RE: It doesn't game as well as a keyboard and mouse

I've been recently reading some forums commenting on work that I did at Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories. Most of them are postive (there's usually a couple 'If your system could play some game I'd wet my pants' type comments) . A few conspiracy theorists seem to think that my demo is too good to be true - and someone calls me to task on my Warcraft skills.

First, I'd like to dispel the myth: this work is NOT fake, if you'd like to see exactly how we built this system please read our research paper. When you look under the hood you'll see that this system is really just a simple conversion of gestures and speech to standard keyboard and mouse commands.

Second, people commenting about how this system is not as good as a keyboard and a mouse are totally missing the point of this research. It's not about being more efficient than a keyboard and mouse but rather this work is about making actions public so that others can
double check to ensure the best outcomes.

Many things in life are not like WarCraft III where you can die and play again. Think about safety critical applications such as real life military command and control or air traffic control. Here the collaborative decisions have a direct impact on people's lives. By making actions public on the tabletop others can monitor your activity and ensure that you are doing the right thing.

Warcraft III is really designed as an example of a military command and control situation rather than a replacement for the keyboard and the mouse in the game.


Anonymous said...

My first instinct was that this doesn't work as well as a mouse and who wants to move their arms all over a table top for hours on end.... I came here to tell you that then read a little... So the public access thing makes some sense. SOME sense. Ok, even making SOME sense its still basically a niche product that does nothing for most people except let them fuck around. Thats the problem with tech these days, half of it boils down to being something neat to fuck around with.

Who says you can't have a guy with a mouse or touch pad on the side of said table-top monitor and simply let people stand around and watch the user click stuff. Ultimately a table is a big flat thing that is not at a good angle to look at, nor is it easy to interact with should it be much more than a meter along any side.

Also, resolution, a mouse can click on a pixel, a finger for clicking is like trying to write out a check with a giant sharpie.

Check out the gestural keyboard that are out there. Those have more promise IMO. Its fun and interesting to have a touch enabled display but I think its far from practical, especially from a work point of view.

Besides, eventually we will be controlling computers with our thoughts, its not that far off really.

Anonymous said...

I think your research is quite amazing. This can revolutionize Mapping Sciences and the way we teach in the classroom. Also the interaction between multiple users is pretty awesome since I think computers have individualized us so much we forget about community and the innate instinct that draws us to other human beings.
As for the keyboard and mouse comments, well I think the computer mouse is archaic. Just look at it! 3 lousy buttons with one that can scroll vertically (ok so maybe some of you have 5 but they dont make use of our pinky and ring finger). When will technology learn that we have 5 fingers?