Bart and bottle caps the new UI input devices?

I don't know about you, but my desk is a mess. I embrace the mess as the sign of an active mind, but today I realized it is more than that --- I'm ahead of my time. I'm not sitting here taking a break for lunch amongst garbage, but amongst the UI input devices of the future! Never mind multi-touch displays, iPhones, or even Wii video game controllers. It looks like garbage will form the basis for the new UI!

Can you pick out the future in the photo:

Bart and the bottle cap

I didn't realize it, though, until a Tweet from @inspiring via @stephenanderson pointed me to the new MSNBC news visualization Flash app Spectra. News stories drop from the sky and open up, colour coded for different categories. Nice eye candy, sure. But then I noticed the option to "Use your webcam for human interaction." Sign me up!

Bart and the bottle cap - new UI input devices? from David Sky on Vimeo.

Here's a play-by-play of the video:

  1. That's me, looking rather odd. At first I tried a toothy grin, but thankfully that didn't work at all ( I was afraid of what colour it might display ).
  2. The blue bottle cap was recognized quickly, and associated with brains - "Newsweek: Experimental Brain Tumor Treatments" was the first story
  3. The red pen was next - a couple of stories about oil, then "Lost parrot tells veterinarian his address" - impressive!
  4. A green can of pop brought not one, but two copies of "This time Heineken shares a good commercial"
  5. Finally the yellow tones of a Bart Simpson Pez dispenser brought "Barbie goes green" and "A monster disappointment"

Overall I'd say the technology is off to a good start; now that I've seen the future I look forward to the day when we can browse the web by simply holding up assorted junk in front of the camera, and assorted junk ( like this very blog posting! ) appears. One can only dream.