Microsoft’s Home & Work XUI concept videos

At the Computer-Human Interaction (CHI) 2009 conference early this month in April, an interesting video series titled “Home, Work and Play” was produced for and showcased on behalf of a mysterious and never-seen-before group at Microsoft called Volume Studios. It’s purpose, inspiration in nature, was aimed to “explore in a poetic narrative way how certain developing technologies could begin to blend and augment our daily lives”.

The first two of the series, “home” and “work” were recently published and words fail to describe it.

XUI, which stands for experience-user-interface in theory is the next evolution of computer-human interaction from natural user interfaces (NUI) like Microsoft Surface which itself is an evolution from graphics user interfaces (GUI) like Windows.

Its creators, interactive design firm INVIVIA, explains, “the hyper-real phenomenon portrayed focuses on an ability to instantly personalize space as well as inject/reveal hidden properties of daily objects. The emphasis both in concept and execution was to remove the digital influence inherent to computing and focus on its repercussions. Analog devices behave in extraordinary ways in tangent with, or sometimes the complete absence of, complicated computing systems. The actual filming of the video also reflects this approach, lighting and placement of real objects to appear rendered and rendered objects to appear real.”

To say the video thinks outside the square would be both a pun and an understatement.

(Thanks to the tip by Kip from LiveSide.net)

41 insightful thoughts

  1. Really really strange….
    I think the previous UI video you posted was far far better.

    On a side note how did you get such a good score in L4D survival mode? Getting gold is so hard!

  2. Pretty sure you can buy something that recreates a similar scenario, on any shady street corner.. Though, it might get you in a fare bit of trouble if caught..

  3. The “Home” video is just bizzare but the “Work” video is quite impressive. It seems very unrealistic at the moment but who knows what the future holds

  4. The first one just looked like poetic nonsense. I’ve seen perfume commercials that made more sense.

    The second one is cool. Too far fetched at the moment, but who knows what can be achieved while working towards it.

  5. Whats the problem?

    The video shows how intuitive their ideas for new user interfaces is – by applying the ideas to real life. Its just a way to show that incredible UIs can feel intuitive and self-explanatory even though the advanced functionality they supply.

    All cognitive ideas in the videos can be in some way applied to a computer screen. Strange things – yes! But with a natural feel to it.

  6. This has nothing to do with the post, but Long Zheng, you are a excellent web designer and photographer. So excellent that I have been peeking at your CSS codes :p don’t worry i wont copy you,

    btw check out his flick photos for excellent wallpapers

  7. These remind me of a video from Apple I saw at an educational conference about 15 years ago concerning the future of the desktop. Lots of things in that video (multitouch, video streaming, web linking, social sites) are just now becoming reality. All of us who saw the video thought that it sure would be great to see these things but we didn’t know that it would be possible in our lifetimes. Wish I could remember the name of that video–at the time it was very cutting edge.

    I think these videos may be of the same type. We may not see them as portrayed but there are some very interesting concepts in them. I look forward to what they may do.

    I’ve always thought that Microsoft was underappreciated in their vision of the future–perhaps they now are finding ways to articulate that much more effectively.

  8. This is precisely why I’m a Microsoft advocate when it comes to “Micro$oft vs Open Source/Linux/rest of the world”. They actually spend those money on research and are able to show something that is really VISIONARY as opposed to the only “vision” that is perpetuated in the linux-fanboy-world aka “this is the year of desktop Linux”

  9. What’s the problem? The problem is that neither video makes any sense. It’s all a bunch of fanciful nonsense. I’ll give whoever thought up those ideas credit for being creative. Ideas are great but their usefulness depends completely upon their execution in the real world.

  10. “This is precisely why I’m a Microsoft advocate when it comes to “Micro$oft vs Open Source/Linux/rest of the world”. They actually spend those money on research and are able to show something that is really VISIONARY as opposed to the only “vision” that is perpetuated in the linux-fanboy-world aka “this is the year of desktop Linux””

    While I’m sure there are plenty of open source companies spending a lot of time and money on research, I always have to laugh when I see lists of planned open source projects where all items are basically “An open source replacement for [Popular proprietary product X]”

    Way to innovate!

  11. The problem with Microsoft is that they envision this, and deliver Flip 3D. They are unable to deliver. Only in recent months they seem to slowly get their act together.

  12. “The problem with Microsoft is that they envision this, and deliver Flip 3D.”

    Yes, because there’s no such thing as Surface or Touch Wall, and anything you envision in a video has to ship with the next OS release.

  13. I quite like the money Microsoft puts into this research. To see this kind of thinking for free is amazing!
    One point of feedback would be that the way the actors hands interact with the objects looks quite forced, and a lot like how you have to work with the contemporary touch interfaces.

  14. Hey guys.
    This is really similar to that thing previewed last year.
    I’m quite keen on seeing stuff like this sooner, especially with peripheral devices, not much with computers.
    What I like is the fact taht you can browse with your hand – something that annoys the hell outta me on my HTC touch (fingers) and Slow.

    I don’t think that spending loads of cash on visionary etc vs. Linux’s conservative ideas is a bad thing at all!
    When the 1st tablet PCs came out, they were revolutionary, though they died away, without these innovative research directions and forceful indulgance in new technology, that TabletPC OS and I/O would’ve been gone and not come back.

    Remember back in ’98, the step from 98 to 95 was VAST, although we cannot say the same for Vista/7 or even XP/7, these minute changes have to be overlooked – OS has actually come as far as it could. These new ideas will change OS to what it comes FROM, not where it’s going to.

    That’s the main idea that people should understand.

    Peace,
    Allen.

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