What are Natural User Interfaces?

It is already common to interact with a new class of devices entirely by using natural movements and gestures. Smartphones, tablets, game consoles, and the new class of “smart TVs” are part of a growing list of devices built with natural user interfaces that accept input in the form of taps, swipes, and other ways of touching; hand and arm motions; body movement; and increasingly, natural language. These are the first in an evolving array of alternative input devices that allow computers and devices to recognise and interpret natural physical gestures as a means of control. Natural user interfaces allow users to engage in virtual activities with movements similar to what they would use in the real world, manipulating content intuitively. The idea of being able to have a completely natural interaction with your device is not new, but neither has its full potential been realised. What makes natural user interfaces especially interesting is the burgeoning high fidelity of systems that understand gestures, facial expressions, and their nuances, as well as the convergence of gesture-sensing technology with voice recognition, which allows users to interact in an almost natural fashion, with gesture, expression, and voice communicating their intentions to devices.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to academic and research libraries?

  • Stronly related to "library as a place" in the digital information environment. [- frank.scholze frank.scholze Apr 17, 2015]
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(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • While such technologies are exciting, we need more conventional alternative access for persons reliant on assistive technologies. - g.payne g.payne Apr 14, 2015
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(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on academic and research libraries?

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(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?