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An interface design operated with your thoughts?


Often it is already amazingly surprising what computer experts can do with an interface design of devices. Technology improves quickly and there has always been the attempt of improving the HCI with creating an interface design which is able to process what the user wants the computer to do without the need of a hand action, but through thoughts for example.

Famous interface design of the movie ‘Minority Report’ as an example

The movie ‘Minority Report’ by Steven Spielberg (released in 2002) takes place in 2054 and is a vision of the future, in which the police tries to avoid crimes before they actually happen. The society in the film is surrounded by quite a number of various technologies with a different interface design than we are used to navigating nowadays. The main character performed by Tom Cruise uses an UI design which can be operated without touching a keyboard or the screen. Just by his actions he can change pictures on screen or search for information, the user interface design of the device reads the movements and process them immediately. Actually what we can see in this is that computers become more and more natural regarding human actions. Could an interface design without the necessity of using a mouse or a touchscreen be realized in reality? What had been a future idea for a Hollywood movie actually became reality.

Interface design developer Dale Herigstad

Dale Herigstad created this contactless interface design for the movie ‘Minority Report’. In 2002 it was just an idea for a futuristic film, today it has already become available for the public. Some television devices can be operated with gestures, because the interface design can process the movements. With this it is neither necessary to stand up to change the channel at the television, nor one has to search the remote. The user just has to move his hands. A part of this concept has been also already realized in the gaming console Nintendo Wii. With its specific interface design, it can simulate sports games through human action. But while playing with this console, the user still has to hold a remote in his hands. This remote sends a signal to the device and the console can process the actions of the user. In the opinion of Dale Herigstad using a Wii is so easy because its interface design allows people to interact with it instinctively.

Mind-reading interface design – a glimpse in the future?

What Dale Herigstad tries to develop is a user interface design which is exclusively operated with thoughts. He already invented a sensory headset. While wearing it the user can navigate the computer with his facial expressions. The idea is that while thinking something humans make different expressions that reveals their emotions. The interface design is made to process these expressions as commands. This could be very interesting for computer gaming. When a user is angry or bored for example the system could be programmed to then change the difficulty level. Still the last step is not yet taken. Every interface design is reliant on the user’s movements. In future there will be user interface designs which read thoughts with processing brain activity, if we believe the optimistic Dale Herigstad.

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