Next-gen Desktop object manipulation metaphors

Just stumbled across a phantastic prototype video (the BumpTop 3D Desktop Prototype) by the Digital Graphics Project at the University of Toronto that’s illustrating some cool new interaction techniques for desktop object manipulation. It’s building on the idea of Piles (that’s an older concept Apple still holds the patent on) and using gestures to manipulate files (or their representations as icons, resp.) on a high-fidelity desktop environment. Object behavior like momentum, acceleration etc. is simulated through a physics engine much like the engines built into newer Ego Shooter games.

BumpTop Desktop Prototype

What I’d love to see in addition is the Wear and Tear concept – objects that have not been touched for some time start showing signs of age, get wrinkled etc.While I quite enjoy the great graphics and the cool ideas behind the demo, I think it doesn’t solve the problems inherent in the Desktop metaphor – like: limiting our approach to object manipulation by what we assume is possible on desktops with real objects etc. The other drawback I see is that manipulating objects in this environment might be so much fun that actually working with the objects becomes a boring chore :-)What’s cool as well about this is using YouTube to distribute your ideas. What a great medium to use! The traditional approach would have been to present this at some conference where it would have been seen by a small number of experts … now it’s out in the field!

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