What are Natural User Interfaces?


A growing list of devices built with natural user interfaces (NUIs) accept input in the form of taps, swipes, and other ways of touching; hand and arm motions; body movement; and increasingly, natural language. Tablets and smartphones are the first in a growing array of devices that allow computers to recognize and interpret natural physical gestures as a means of control. These natural user interfaces allow users to engage in virtual activities with movements similar to what they would use in the real world, manipulating content intuitively. The idea of being able to have a completely natural interaction with your device is not new, but neither has its full potential been realized. What makes natural user interfaces especially interesting this year is the increasing high fidelity of systems that understand gestures, facial expressions, and their nuances, as well as the convergence of gesture-sensing technology with voice recognition. Users interact with their devices in an almost natural fashion, with gesture, expression, and voice communicating their intentions. The next wave of NUIs will likely be electrovibration, while involves the use of an electrostatic force to produce detailed tactile sensations that users can feel. Seen as the next evolution of touchscreen technology, it will allow users to not only provide touch-based input, but also tactile output via a wide variety of textures, topography, and other features as they interact with the screen.

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