The Innovative Field of Human Computer Interaction

By: | January 23rd, 2017

Emerging HCI Design

Human Computer Interaction (HCI) involves the creation of interactive computing systems for humans to enhance work and play. A great resource for HCI is HCI Bibliography that lists thousands of publications on the topic. The site lists over 300 companies involved in HCI. All of these companies are involved in the creation of hardware and software computational models that help humans and computers interact. If you are older than say 50 years, the computers you grew up with and even recent models often do not provide the basis for the successful interaction between humans and machines. New types of system functionality are required, and new functionality depends on new technology and software.

One of the founders of HCI, Jack Carroll, explains that Human-Computer Interaction sparked interest in User Experience and Interaction Design. The field took off in the late 1970s after the emergence of personal computers (PC) and personalized software including Word-like text editors inExcel-like spreadsheets. The birth of personal computers also led to new operating systems, programming languages, and hardware. One of the great early applications was interactive computer games such as Pac-Man.

The Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon is one of many organizations dedicated to improving interactive computer systems and how they serve users, organizations, and the public.

One big shift in HCI is from the logical arrangement of UI functionality to a more natural interaction between humans and machines. New HCI systems are designed by first understanding what user intent is and then to provide a UI with the functionality needed. With problems such as carpal tunnel syndrome and office workers and computer users feeling like drones, not to mention recent comparisons of computer work to smoking, creating human computer interfaces that will make workers productive and happy has become the goal.

As a result, HCI engineers and designers are beginning to monitor people’s brain activity as they interact with computers in the hopes of recognizing thoughts that could be turned into commands. There is also an attempt to gather information on user emotional states to provide customized experiences to make users more productive.

The following video, HCI Lecture Five Emotional Interfaces, explains how user emotions will soon be a part of HCI.

David Russell Schilling

David enjoys writing about high technology and its potential to make life better for all who inhabit planet earth.

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