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A Day Made of Glass

Posted Feb 5, 2012

The folks at Corning put together a heckuva concept video that peeks into the near future of touchscreen interfaces. I’m not usually a huge fan of concept videos—they tend to veer into science fiction. While I appreciate the creative value of imagining “what if,” concept videos are often slight marketing vehicles for companies who are unlikely ever to deliver.

But this video splits the difference by looking to the very near (and very plausible) future. It also goes the extra mile to spell out what’s already happening, what’s emerging, and to put caveats around what’s more speculative. A lot of this stuff feels right around the corner, though, and it’s pretty marvelous.

I especially appreciate the emphasis on screens embedded in convenient places in our lives, rather than full-blown computers. Mirrors and windows and interactive dashboards that talk to our personal computers (phones and tablets) to build context-appropriate interfaces on nearly any surface.

This closet door is actually a display driven by Amy’s tablet. All this intelligence you see on this display—all these apps—they’re all residing and running on Amy’s tablet. This display spans the entire door. It has its own small-footprint operating system, and it’s smart enough to recognize Amy’s device. And based on proximity and other rules, it knows what to display and in what format.

It’s exciting and, frankly, not so far off. If you think touch-based phones and tablets are stretching interface conventions, just wait until this stuff lands.

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