After the digitalization of everything and anything, the time has come (or returned) for an intelligent combination of digital and analog. Even if we’ve developed the ability to conceptualize on a screen, nothing replaces the experience of physical interaction.
With screens popping up everywhere, the temptation to digitalize or virtualize gave birth to numerous interfaces ‘in’ the screen that we could navigate with keypad arrows, a mouse or joystick. However, we’re still hungry for a more natural, analog relationship with our objects.
To prove the existence of a reproducible pattern, consider racing video games that come with a steering wheel and driver’s seat. The more we incorporate things from the real world, the easier it is for us to forget that we are dealing with a machine.
On consoles, the trend started with the Nintendo Wii, followed by Microsoft Kinect, where the human body became a new analog game interface. Then the iPhone 4S was launched, and Apple introduced voice as a telephone interface (go figure… a telephone that we can talk to! Unbelievable!) The potential for iOS voice navigation functionality will undoubtedly have a great impact on all applications and will likely be built in to the soon to be released iPhone5. At various electronics shows this year, manufacturers from around the world – Samsung in the lead – presented new voice and movement-based interfaces for all electronic devices, with an emphasis on televisions. Even Google entered the ring with a voice-operated Google TV remote (Hey TV! Put on the soccer game!). This functionality seems so obvious that we can’t fathom how we ever lived without it – even before trying the technology.
And finally, board games played on the dining room table are making a comeback.
So which sectors or products will be the next to adopt this low-tech/high-tech mix?
Read more from Jean Pascal at A Nos Vies Numériques.