The possibility of 3D applications

Recently we had an interview with Jan Derboven, who majors in touch interfaces and gestural interaction and one of the researchers at the Centre for User Experience Research  in K.U.Leuven. We talked about the future of 3D interface application and we got some interesting conclusions.

First, let me introduce some 3D interaction applications we talked about in the interview:

Although Gmail Motion does not exist, we asked Mr Derboven how he thinks about this application using 3D camera and gestures to operate email. The answer is absolutely no-go. 3D interaction may have a big future, but imagine you are in front of a computer, you simply want to reply to an email. Instead of typing, you have to do all kinds of weird gestures (as seen below), which is awkward and not understandable. Next to the social problem, it’s technically not feasible to distinguish all the gestures.

Talking about a girl standing in front of a screen, and a 3D camera captures her body shape, and shows it on the screen. Then the girl can just wave her hands, chose an outfit and dress on her “virtual body”. Mr Derboven said this is possible and cool, because this is not 3D interaction on its own because the basic technology that we are used to is a mirror. Traditionally girls dress up and stand in front of the mirror to see if something fits. Introducing 3D shopping into the story is not a replacement of the mirror, but an enhancement. It makes shopping easier and possibly more fun because you can try on new outfits a lot faster. Especially for the guys out there, that might be just great!

According to Mr Derboven the conclusion is: 3D interaction applications in an abstract context like Gmail Motion are surrealistic in the future. There is absolutely no link between moving around and writing an email, while 3D technology based on an existing technology that already uses physical interaction (standing in front of a mirror) is quite feasible.

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