Human beings need space to express ourselves fully. Our eyes have a broad field of view, our heads turn, and our arms reach several feet in many directions. Unlike us, our screens are small. They constrain our movement to small twitches of the fingers and a few degrees of eye movement. They’re easy to carry around, but they’re also restrictive.
The invention of the touch screen removed a barrier between people and technology, allowing us to interact with computers more naturally. A desk-sized touch screen could free us to be even more of ourselves. It wouldn’t be just a new device, it would be a completely new kind of experience, peerless in the history of computing.
Imagine the way a map could feel if it were shown across a desk-sized expanse of luminous glass, filling our peripheral vision and inviting us to turn our heads and move our eyes. Imagine how it could feel to drag a finger and see a huge amount of information respond to that movement. Paired with the right software, I believe this would be a transformative moment in human history.
We’ll always need mobile devices, but right now we’re literally missing the big picture. The iPad Pro is still too small to be our largest touch screen.
So far, our explorations into truly full-sized touch screens have mostly been limited to science fiction. The images above are from the 2013 film Oblivion. If you care about interfaces, you should watch it. GMUNK hosts a fantastic breakdown.
Published September 15, 2015.