Topic Workshop: NUI

During the charades workshop, our small group was asked to design a NUI for calling. I was surprised that our imagination is constrained by the representation of today’s technology.

The smartphones are certainly not the end form of communication tool. Yet, they have become a pillar for the infrastructure that powers our culture. My generation is born with the existence of immediate voice communication by remembering and dialing people’s numbers. The tool has integrated to our ways of living, so much that it became difficult for us to think of other ways of talking to each other.

Can we imagine a new way to communicate beyond using phones? I asked myself: if calling is magic, how would we call each other? It inspired me to look for other possible interactions we can have with the world, such as bringing a person to me wafting on a person’s picture to bring them (and the air around them) towards me.

Dialing a picture!

When a technology product works exceptionally well, people describe it as “magic.” But I think magic and technology relate to two distinctive directions of imagining our future. When we think about achieving a goal by magic, the interactions might better map to the hopes and needs we have. At a moment when many solutions derive from technological advancement, this way of imagination could be much needed.