Computers of the Future: Fantasy Technology

“... Think big, be bold and inventive, but don't forget about ecology and environmental protection” - this was the task of the design competition held from May to December 2005 by Microsoft and the Industrial Designers Society of America.

One day at lunch, Microsoft employees working on the Windows operating system decided to “try their hand” on their computers. The results perplexed those present at the dispute - a quick survey of colleagues and acquaintances showed that a “cool” computer is not made at all by a powerful processor or a large amount of memory. The main thing was the design! And the point is not in the exotic form or color scheme of the case, but in how the computer fits into the “digital lifestyle”, helping to save time, have fun and just have fun. The dispute went beyond the cafe when they heard about it at the American Society of Industrial Designers (IDSA, Industrial Designers Society of America). IDSA members have truly captured the idea of ​​computers of the future. So the idea of ​​a joint competition between Microsoft and IDSA was born, dedicated to the computers of the future - mobile, entertaining, efficient and, of course, stylish.

The competition was announced in April, the acceptance of applications began in May, and by October on the official website of the competition it was possible to get acquainted with three hundred different projects. For ease of viewing, all projects were divided into four categories: Personal Productivity (increasing productivity - both at work and at home), Living / Lifestyle (innovations that expand the role of technology in everyday life), Entertainment (entertainment technology, TV, music and games) and Communications / Mobility (communication and mobile technologies). In November, the finalists were announced, and a little later - two winners: “IDSA Jury Choice” and “Microsoft President Choice”. And then on the site for a month, a vote was held among visitors, designed to determine the two best projects, which received the title "Public Choice". Will these projects form the basis of computers of the future? After a couple of decades, Popular Mechanics will certainly write about it.

IDSA Bookshelf [jury selection]. Authors Sunn Ho Song, Scott Shim

The concept of Purdue University students (Indiana, USA) of the entertainment digital library of the future is designed to solve the problems of reproducing copyrighted materials. Bookshelf ("Bookshelf") is a media center to which digital modules are connected via a universal connector on the side wall - just like books are put on a shelf. unlike modern discs and cassettes, modules are not the recordings themselves, but only the “keys” to download them from the provider's network, play and, of course, manage copyright. Bookshelf quite plausibly predicts in which direction the relationship between users and digital multimedia libraries will develop in the near future. By the way, the modules, as conceived by the author, are quite mobile - they can be used not only at home, but also in any other place - subject to the availability of compatible equipment. And the only thing that remains a question for us is whether it will be possible to lose with the help of Bookshelf the good old CDs ...

sChOOL Pack [choice of Microsoft President Bill Gates]. Author Prashant Kumar Chandra

The idea of ​​this project is to replace the heavy schoolbag with textbooks and notebooks with a small and light computer. The main users of this device are high school and college students. sChOOL pack is designed to facilitate two main school activities - reading and writing, for this it is equipped with two screens. The top is a traditional LCD (for reading), and the bottom is a touchscreen, similar to those used in handheld or tablet computers (for writing and drawing). The computer is equipped with an interface for quickly connecting hard drives (or flash memory), on which educational information on various subjects will be recorded. “Unnecessary” discs at the moment can be stored in the nests of a special “bandoleer” on the satchel wall like pens or pencils. So the failure to do homework is no longer justified by the phrase "forgot the notebook at home." However, the phrase “the drive is demagnetized” sounds no better.

janet [public choice]. Author Clemens Lango

janet is the dream of a resident of a large city - a personal navigator. The owner of this device will never have to freeze at a stop, wondering when the bus will approach. A small electronic gadget janet will independently determine your current location, ask for the final destination and offer a choice of several routes - for example, the fastest (time-optimized) and the most economical (price). It is understood that in the future, public transport will track its location and report to its information network; this will allow janet to display the exact wait time (and no problems finding the schedule) and fare. Thanks to the convenient interface, it will be possible to visually compare and choose the most suitable type of transport and route. I wonder if janet will be able to defeat the eternal problem of megacities - traffic jams?

Be Free [Public Choice]. Author Marsial Asayan Montoya

“Be free” is the name of the concept computer for travelers. People who often move from place to place (from business need or just for fun) will be able to take advantage of all the capabilities of modern computers - watching movies, listening to music or playing games. “Carrying BE fREE with you is like taking a particle of your own home with you.” An unusual laptop equipped with rotary speakers and a built-in projector.

Eyemove PC [finalist]. Author Riccardo Alexandro Pereyrina Da Silva Bayao

The two main parts of this computer are the wireless universal touch-screen remote control and the system unit with a high-definition projector. The main thing is not to lose the remote control!

Domino [finalist]. Author Visno

The Domino Design Media Center is like an iceberg. Its visible part is a touch screen, a DVD player and two small side elements that play the role of diffuse backlighting. Well, the “underwater” part is the central unit not shown here, which has all the responsibility for storing and processing information. The side elements are removable and can serve as universal wireless control panels.

PC.Pet [finalist]. Posted by Oscar Javier Reyes Acosta

The "computer animal" does not have a keyboard or mouse and communicates with the user through "emotional communication" - voice and touch. The round touch screen is removed and turns into a wireless control panel. Working with PC.PET., As conceived by the author, is more like playing with a pet than routine keystrokes.

L-Cam Wearable Camera [finalist]. Author Norman Lee

You won’t surprise anyone with camera phones. but the camera, built into the sun visor, has not yet been released (although technically it is possible). Such a form factor will be convenient for the operator (his hands remain completely free), which is especially important when shooting sports and extreme videos. But get ready for the fact that when going to closed objects you will be asked not only to turn off the phone, but also to take off your hat ...

The Complete Creation Station [finalist]. Posted by David Kush

Artists and designers are actively mastering computer technology. To facilitate the creation of "digital art", this concept uses a digital easel, brush and palette. But is it possible to distinguish a digital copy of the picture from the original?

Logic Step [finalist]. Author Emanuel Sanchez

This futuristic-looking stand is a revolutionary input device. It is able to track the position and movement of the operator’s hands and head, digitize them accordingly and display them, creating the illusion of a three-dimensional “digital space” in a person. This will be especially useful when working with graphic software packages for visualizing three-dimensional objects — the operator will be able to work with his hands in the virtual world, move and reposition objects — and see this on a screen that acts as a window between the real and virtual worlds. The main thing is not to get confused where which one, otherwise, welcome to the Matrix!

The article was published in the journal Popular Mechanics (No. 3, March 2006).


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