What are Natural User Interfaces?


It is already common to interact with a new class of devices entirely by using natural movements and gestures. The iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch, Xbox Kinect, Nintendo Wii, the new class of “smart TVs” and a growing list of other devices built with natural user interfaces accept input in the form of taps, swipes, and other ways of touching; hand and arm motions; body movement; and increasingly, natural language. These are the first in a growing array of alternative input devices that allow computers to recognize and interpret natural physical gestures as a means of control. Natural user interfaces allow users to engage in virtual activities with movements similar to what they would use in the real world, manipulating content intuitively. The idea of being able to have a completely natural interaction with your device is not new, but neither has its full potential been realized. What makes natural user interfaces especially interesting this year is the burgeoning high fidelity of systems that understand gestures, facial expressions, and their nuances, as well as the convergence of gesture-sensing technology with voice recognition, which allows users to interact in an almost natural fashion, with gesture, expression, and voice communicating their intentions to devices.

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