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It’s amazing. In only a few years touchscreens in our smartphones and tablets drastically changed the way we interact with humans and machines. In the next few years we’ll see an explosion of touchscreens invading every part of our lives; from the bathroom mirror, to the touchscreen table and even the possibility to interact with your living-room touch window.

Yet, I see touchscreens partially as an intermediate interface technology. Scientists worldwide are working hard to develop Natural User Interfaces with the ultimate aim of making computing and communication ubiquitous as a natural part of our lives.

The early signs of such technologies are already here. Intelligent personal assistants such as Apple’s Siri and Samsung’s S-voice allow us to input text or speak commands with our voice instead of typing. With Kinect and Wii like technologies we can control devices by using gestures. Brain-computer interfaces which read our thoughts are also in the make. Several parties such as Google are also developing augmented reality glasses that display information on top of what we see around us and Microsoft is even working with University of Washington scientists to develop electronic contact lenses with built-in AR displays.

Sure, it’s still early days but just imagine that you only have to think ‘show messages’ and the latest tweets pops up on your contacts and you click the virtual buttons just by making a gesture. Beats all those smudgy fingerprints on your smartphone touchscreen display.

100px Issue v0.6: David Lemereis   Beyond Touch ScreensThis page appears in issue v0.6 of TNW Magazine, our monthly digital iPad magazine. Download it for free so you can read it in the format it was designed for, including interactive elements that make it a spectacular read.

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