What could a future without physical screens look like?

Last week Sony launched its Xperia Touch projector, which turns any flat surface into a touchscreen. We ask designers how screenless technology could be used in the future.

Drew Bamford, head of HTC Creative Labs

“Imagine that you’re on your morning trail run. Up ahead, you see a runner who looks like a fitter version of yourself. It’s your avatar, on your goal pace. Your trainer then materialises beside you. He is Artificial Intelligence made to look like a resurrected version of American runner Steve Prefontaine. Steve recommends that you shorten your stride, and digital footprints illuminate the trail in front of you as a guide. You catch up to your virtual self and fireworks erupt in the sky above.

In the post-screen era, we won’t watch a movie, or look at our phone. We’ll inhabit a new kind of world in which the digital and physical can no longer be distinguished by our eyes alone.”

Phil Jenkins, head of digital user experience, Kinneir Dufort

“My hope for the future of digital interactions is that we can blur the boundaries between physical and digital. Developing technologies such as contactless haptic feedback, gesture recognition and projected displays have the combined potential to bring digital content into the physical world in an almost seamless way, not constrained by the limitations of screens and devices.

I look forward to a time when we can interact with digital content just as naturally and intuitively as we interact with objects in the physical world, using all our senses. These technologies will enable us to create interaction models that can adapt to the physical and cognitive needs of individual users making technology accessible to all in a truly inclusive way.”

Luke Thompson, designer, Kin

“In a screenless future there will be more of a focus on contextually appropriate information shown through a range of other means. Haptic feedback, projections and embedded technologies will be sprinkled throughout our lives. With this pervasive and omnipresent smartness will come a more active way of interacting with our technology and media. Rather than have glowing boxes steal our attention as we pass, we’ll choose what we engage with and when.

There will also be more attention paid to the physical materials that we use and the way that tactility can affect how we engage with content. Technologies like Apple’s rumoured version of Google Glass could trigger a big shift away from us all carrying a screen in our hands.”

Dr Mitra Memarzia, head of collaboration, Seeper

“In a world of abundant information, the only scarcity is our attention span. The confinement of the screen format is no longer serving our appetite for consuming content. Computing is ubiquitous and an omnipresent extension of our collective knowledge. So why do we still encase it inside screens?

At Seeper we’ve been using the surfaces of buildings and internal environments to deliver visual content, because we know that this is the most impactful way to engage people.”

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