“Starfire” was a concept video from Sun Microsystems, developed by a team led by noted interface engineer Bruce Tognazzini. It’s full of telepresence, multitouch, and all sorts of other other interactivity that we basically have today. It’s from 1993—but it was brought to my attention by PopSci‘s Stuart Fox, who noticed that it is remarkably similar to a “This is the future” video recently released by Microsoft. Except for the special effects and animation looking similar (as well as being free from the awkward narrative of Starfire), it’s really not remarkably different.
What struck me was how much that it’s mostly showing off the future of interface. Interesting enough, but it seems to me that the interesting part of how we interact with gadgets in the future will be more than just multitouch and transparent devices, but will be the subsumption of interface directly into our bodies and environments. Still, I like both videos in their way—it’s just that Microsoft’s is much more immediately believable, as it projects a future that is nearly in reach.