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The Next Wave | Vol. 20 | No. 1 | 2013

User interfaces

In 1993, Tech Trend Notes (vol. 2, issue 1) featured this figure of a combined computer and radio enabling soldiers to communicate with one another over long distances; the technology was predicted to be available by 1999.

Early Tech Trend Notes articles on user interfaces projected dramatic increases in communications effectiveness and efficiency for US forces. Some of those predictions were that soldiers would be able to communicate while on the move with any other soldier, terminal, or telephone [1]; computer-generated maps would change scale and overlay different types of information in response to voice commands; live video would be transmitted to remote commanders [2]; and warfighters would be able to get just the information that they wanted from a single display terminal [3].

Today, smartphones provide mobile communications, maps, and video to anyone who can afford the purchase price and can connect to the Internet. But what of the future? As pointed out by the authors of the proceeding article, new ways of interacting with electronic devices will be driven by the needs of mobile Internet users, who now exceed the number of desktop users [4]. The first change, they predict, will be the replacement of the keyboard with a more flexible and efficient input process.

For more on this topic, see The next user interface.

References and further reading

[1] "Soldier C3 program." Tech Trend Notes. 1993;2(1):11.

[2] "The information warrior." Tech Trend Notes. 1996;5(1):1.

[3] "C4I for the warrior." Tech Trend Notes. 1992;1(2):8.

[4] Meeker M. "The mobile Internet." Dec 2009. Morgan Stanley.

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Date Posted: May 17, 2013 | Last Modified: May 17, 2013 | Last Reviewed: May 17, 2013