RIApalooza 2: RIAs Beyond the Mouse and Keyboard Recap

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On May 8th I as at RIApalooza Two, an unconference event for Rich Internet Application enthusiasts. Adam Flater and I gave a talk titled ‘RIA Beyond the Mouse and Keyboard’. Adam and I talked about how computing user interfaces are evolving and moving away from the current status quo of mouse and keyboard.

Adam talked about and demoed examples including his use of the mac accelerometer as an input device, his Lego Mindstorm robot controlled via Flash, and his mobile device, the Tesla Roadster.

I showed a couple videos of innovative uses of technologies such as augmented reality, touch computing, and the Wii balance board. Here’s a link to some of those videos. I demoed controlling a virtual 3D car with the Wii balance board, controlling a 3D earth using head tracking, combining Augmented Reality with Twitter, and my PostIt board with handwriting recognition. These are all part of a holistic vision of what constitutes a more natural user interface, moving away from the more artificial interaction that are the current state of input devices.

Here are some photos taken from Anthony Hand’s camera. My favorite picture has to be where I’m caught picking my nose – great.

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Twitter + Augmented Reality

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What happens when you put together Flash, Augmented Reality, Papervision3D, the Twitter API, and a bored geek? You get this little webcam demo of a Flash app that tracks a marker and displays a speech bubble with your latest tweet.

Although Augmented Reality (AR) has been around for a while now, cheap webcams, 3D on the web, and other factors have only recently enabled the field of AR to be usable by the masses.

Thanks to John Lindquist’s tutorials, I was able to quickly put together a small demo of what you can do with AR and the Twitter API.

The commercial use of AR is still in it’s infancy and people are still trying to figure out how to use it. There have been some examples in the entertainment space, namely the PS3 game Eye of Judgement and the Topps Baseball trading cards.

Here’s a cool AR idea for a conference. Your registration badge can come with a marker that can be read by a big interactive wall installation with cameras. You can then walk up to it and it would show you your sessions. Not only that, but other people who walk up to it can also see their sessions and maybe, if the person standing next to you has the same sessions as you, it would let you know that so you can connect.

Here’s another cool AR idea for the web. Webcam Poker. Each player would have a marker on their desk. The webcam can then pick up the marker and project a virtual hand on your desk, so that your opponent would see your desk as if you had cards on them and you would be able to play virtual poker in a slightly more realist fashion than just clicking cards on screen.

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