Smartphones, smartwatches, machine learning, the Internet Of Things (IOT), you hear something about these technologies on a daily basis. Technologies meant to make our lives easier, faster and more comfortable. These technology have one thing in common, they focus on the digital world. They at the same time contribute and benefit vastly from the ongoing popularity of digitalization (Parviainen et al., 2017).
I however think that there are also some pitfalls we have to look out for with digitalization. The main thing we need to look at is the way in which we interact with all this available data and how we will deliver new data. In order for products to remain easy to use I would like to encourage digital interaction to remain as close to natural interaction as possible.
I want to achieve this by making Natural User Interfaces (NUI). NUIs stimulate users to make use of their human abilities such as voice, touch, motion and vision (Liu, 2010, Fjeld et al., 1997). NUIs can be made for input, output or both, an example of an input NUI is a digital sculpting device (figure 1). This device allows its user to use its touch as they would in the real world while processing information digitally.
Figure 1: http://www.bastech.com/product-software/3d-haptic-devices/
I have always been curious, from a young age I started to take appliances apart to see how they worked. Next to trying to figure out how things worked I also wanted to make products myself. As the grandson of a blacksmith and a carpenter I learned to work with my hands at a young age. During my study of industrial design I further improved these skills and also started to make use of rapid prototyping tools like 3D printing and laser cutting.
My curiosity often helps me in the design process encouraging me to ask that one extra question. However it also has a downside, it can make me very impatient. I like to dive into things head first not always having taught well enough about the possible outcomes. This is where a big part of my vision originates from. When I get a new product I want to start using it immediately and not first having to read a user manual.
I want to design products that facilitate this type of immediate interaction. With the help of NUIs I want to make technology accessible for everyone and intuitive to use resulting in a better user experience.