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Classroom Technology - The evolution of technological interfacing

Since the dawn of time communication has always been an essential part of our development, and it is one of a few features that set us apart from other creatures. In the past century there have been a number of technological advancements that have revolutionised the way in which we can communicate, for instance, the telephone provided a practical solution to long distance communication, and the Internet provides a massive amount of potential for communication in many different ways. But it is only in the past few decades that technology has really taken off and started having a bigger impact.

These days a co-worker might email their friend in the next cubicle, attend a virtual meeting via the Internet to exchange information, or text a flat mate when your own your way home to see if they want anything picking up from the shop. Though these methods of communication are effective there is much debate about whether or not new technology has stained the art of communication. With the vast majority of younger generations choosing to use social media such as Facebook and Twitter as their primary source of communication, whether or not they are developing the necessary interpersonal skills that they will need as an adult is uncertain.

It's not just how we communicate with one another that is being revolutionised by the digital age, possibly of equal importance, is the development of new and innovative ways to interface with technology. Interfacing with computers is something that is seemingly going to be an inevitable part of the future, given that computers have already become heavily integrated into society already. New techniques for interfacing with technology have a variety of implications for a number of subjects, for example a musician might prefer to use a MIDI controller to a computer keyboard.

At the forefront of new techniques for technological interfacing is gesture based technology that works with natural user interfaces. No doubt many of you will have seen this type of technology portrayed in films, for example Minority Report, where Tom Cruise manipulates 3D images with his hands, or activates a complex instruction through a simple command. Though it will be a long time before anything as slick as that is about, the potential is still there. Nintendo Wii has already set the benchmark for computer consoles using gesture technology and Microsoft's Kinect technology will available as an add on to the Xbox 360. Kinect will include full body 3D motion capture so the user will be able to control their avatar through simple gestures.


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