Computer interfaces have evolved slowly over the last 40 years. As soon as we were able to produce affordable display graphics, the Windows-type environment became the standard. Since then, we’ve only had refinements of the same basic interfaces. Windows, Icons, Mice and Pointers, better known as WIMP have been the defining characteristics of our interactions.
I won’t open a can of worms about who pioneered this paradigm, but suffice to say it originated somewhere within the halls of Silicon Valley. Others might add it came to maturity further north in Seattle, but that’s a whole other post. The important thing is that it’s the accepted standard and you’ll find little argument about that. Arguably the only thing that has been added over the intervening years is touch displays.
One thing has become increasingly clear in 2017 is that we’re on our way toward the next generation of human/computer interfaces. The history of this shift, and what will win out, has yet to be written. It’s a category I’ve written previously about, and one for which I have a keen interest.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve been more than a little skeptical of VR goggles as the next gen interface. There are a few reasons, but chief among them is the isolating and disorienting experience of full 3d immersion. The debate is as touchy as the one about who invented Window-based computing, and the stakes are just as high. Suffice to say that I’m not yet in the VR goggle camp.
What I do find intriguing, and what I think has a better shot at grabbing the interface crown, is the mixed reality-type headset championed by Microsoft. The Hololens, and other devices like it, take away some of the objections raised by VR goggles. What is an isolating and disorienting experience behind goggles, becomes an open and empowering controller for human/computer interface.
I started writing a book about 10 years ago and in my book I envisioned the cell phone as a portable holographic device. That prediction is starting to come true in a very small way with phone extensions and software giving us the first glimpse of what will be possible over the next 10 years.
While you’re waiting for the market for holographic devices to mature, you might want to check out this little mini projector I found from Alien Tech. While it’s meant primarily to be a portable and battery operated projector, it also includes 2 very cool features.
The first feature is called projector mapping. If you’ve seen some of those neighborhood light shows that have cropped up around Christmas in recent years, then you already know what projector mapping is all about. With a little bit of software and a projector like the S Cube, you can begin creating some of your own projection maps.
The other neat addition to the S Cube is the ability to project 3D holograms. Simply download the HeavyM (or any other mapping/hologram app) to your phone or tablet and connect it to the S Cube to begin your experimentation.
One word of advice, the unit does not come with built-in Wifi, so if you want to connect to it wirelessly, you’ll need to buy a Wifi dongle for the USB port.
Alien Tech S Cube
- Ultra-Compact 2″ Square
- Ultra-Light 9 Ounces
- Super Play Time, 2.5+ hours of battery life, or leave it plugged in for continuous play
- Massive Screen Size, up to 10 foot screen sie with full resolution
- Full HD Quality, 1080P
- Boasts 128GB Memory, via micro SD card
- Supports Multiple Video Formats (MP4, MPEG4, MOV, WMV, MKV, AVI, MPG, ASF, M4V, 3GP)
- HDMI & HML Ready, powerful connect to anything HDMI or MHL compatible
- Full Apple Support – Apple iPhone 5 & 6 users will also require Apple Lightning Digital AV adapter, not included
- Wi-Fi Ready, via a Wi-Fi dongle such as Chrome Cast, Miracast, FireStick, etc, not included.
- Hologram / Projection Mapping Ready (Download software or app on external devices)
- Screen Mirror Mode Ready, for hologram or projection)
- PDF Ready, great for making PDF presentations anywhere
The Alien Tech S Cube is a new portable projector and hologram creator that has recently undergone a dramatic price drop. If you’ve wanted to experiment with Projector Mapping or Holograms (additional software required) then this might be the device for you.
Some customer reviews
Initial impressions were, its cute. Being only 100 lumens, its hardly the most powerful of the projectors out there, but it does the job. In a dark room, the color is clear and vivid.
Works just like it was projected to! Can’t find an exponential 3 or it would say Satisfaction cubed! You should tri it!
Works great for game and direct TV off of a Laptop You can put movie on ceiling or wall.