adding muscle to communications services

Typing text on a keyboard and manipulating a mouse are recent, conventional muscular routines for communication. Those routines have little relation to the muscular practices of communication that humans have used throughout their evolutionary history. Moreover, those routines are much different from muscular activities many people do for enjoyment, such as walking, playing catch, running, playing tag, swimming, and curling. Making communication services more muscularly natural and muscularly enjoyable could create additional value.

In conjunction with the use of sight and clever extra-body technology, a person can write with any muscle at speeds comparable with those of current keyboard routines. The Dasher Project allows a person to write text by directing a point across dynamic, letter-coded regions. With the appropriate linking technology, any muscle, including eye gaze movements, can direct the point to write. Such technology obviously has great value to disabled persons. For persons with a wide range of muscular possibilities, such technology allows communication service providers to offer muscular routines that are natural, enjoyable, and propitious for the specific circumstances of use.

You can use your hands in ways that are much more natural and satisfying than typing on a keyboard. Jeff Han has developed a multi-point graphical interaction surface that is pleasurable even to watch. The forthcoming Apple iPhone, 8 million of which are expected to be sold in its first year on the market, incorporates some touch-screen gestures for controlling the phone.

Highly successful products suggest the value of innovation in the space of muscular movement. Dance Dance Revolution (Dancing Stage) has brought large-muscle leg movement to video games. The Wii video console controller includes motion sensors that enable, for example, sports games to incorporate sports-typical gestures. The Apple iPhone also incorporates motion sensors, as does the recently announced DoCoMo D904i.

I’m still hoping for a mobile camera-phone that better communicates “Look at this!

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