Tim Huckaby can’t sit still. During his hour-long presentation on the future of user interfaces at the recent 2013 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), he leapt from demo to demo, his enthusiasm contagious, and his constant movement making it difficult for anyone in the audience with a camera to capture him in stasis.
Huckaby has good reason to be excited. The way this software expert sees it, we’re on the verge of a science-fiction-like future where doctors manipulate molecules in three-dimensional (3-D) space, augmented music players tune into your thoughts, and retailers deliver coupons in real time based on the focus of your gaze across store shelves.
Huckaby is founder and chairman of California-based InterKnowlogy, as well as the current chief executive officer of Actus Interactive Software. Both companies focus on user interface (UI) development, and Huckaby’s belief in the coming rapid evolution of the UI field is based on decades of work in emerging technology.
During his recent talk in Las Vegas, Huckaby was tasked with predicting what the interfaces we use to interact with computers and communications technologies will look like in five years. He didn’t stick to that time frame, but instead offered multiple examples of where UIs are headed, and how the evolution will unfold.
His predictions for what’s possible within the next 10 years are mind-blowing: a functioning “holodeck” (ala the sci-fi classic Star Trek) into which holographic images are displayed; a legitimate neural-based interface offering a direct pathway between the brain and external devices; and virtual objects that extend into practically every facet of life and that behave much as they would in the natural world.