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Control Issues

In case you haven't noticed, the way we interact with technology is changing. Want some examples? For twenty-five years the Windows Icons Menus Pointer (WIMP) paradigm has dominated the way we use PCs. Now, new technologies threaten to leave the WIMP GUI behind. In five years time, both how we use them and even what we think of as a PC may have changed dramatically. Ten years ago, the idea of an MP3 player or mobile phone without physical controls would have seemed improbable. Now touch-screen phones and media players are commonplace, and physical controls are beginning to look old-fashioned.

Touch-screen devices with minimal physical controls are now the norm

Here's another. When Nintendo announced the Wii in 2005, people looked at the motion controls and wondered whether Shigeru Miyamoto and his colleagues had gone mad, picking a novelty Toy-Town console over the brute graphics horsepower of the Xbox 360 and PS3. Four years on, the Wii is the best-selling console of the current generation, and Microsoft and Sony are doing their best to build on Nintendo's concepts. In the last two decades, the devices we use and what we use them for has changed out of all recognition. Isn't it time that the way we used them changed too?

The Nintendo Wii changed the way many of us play games

Keyboards, mice, keypads and analogue controllers will always have their place, but the new interface paradigms will adopt other means. Tomorrow's high technology is going to take a more natural approach to communicating with us. It won't be about buttons and cursors, but about motions, gestures, focal points and speech. We're here to give you a glimpse at the future, and into what all this could mean.

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