Experience a Glimpse of 3D Web Browsing

Coming Soon: 3D computing. Well, it makes sense, doesn’t it?

3D Windows XP Icons
image credit: http://goo.gl/98PXI

My claim is that 3D is the next step in object-oriented user interface (OOUI), which is the way most of us interact with computers after someone (at Apple, I think) had idea that we’d store ‘documents’ in ‘folders’ rather than access them via a command line. Ever since, we’ve  been using ‘object-oriented’ analogies to interact with our machines.

Now is the age of 3D screen technologies, with Hollywood fighting back from piracy with a new golden age for cinema, Samsung outperforming Sony to becoming the number one manufacturer of 3D TVs, and the Nintendo 3DS making use of prismatic 3D in it’s menus, and of course in-game (think I might be buying Ocarina again soon). Not to mention Microsoft’s Kinect, which changes the way we interact in the three dimensions of physical, as opposed to virtual space.

But before all of this, there were innovators trying to make 3D compliant with everyday use, such as TATMobile who, without the power to print prismatic screens, force a behaviour change through the use of 3D glasses, or sell expensive stereoscopic 3D projectors, had come up with a pretty cool lo-fi solution:

The video above demonstrates the use of a front-facing camera on one’s mobile phone to track the location of your eyes, augmenting what’s onscreen, allowing you to see ‘behind’ icons or onto different screens by peering around. Hopefully you can imagine how a 3D screen might alter the way you interact with your device, so it’s no wonder they were bought by RIM and are now developing UI for BlackBerry.

While we’re at it, also check out the work of Bumptop (sadly now defunct), Johnny Lee‘s Wii hacks, and even YouTube‘s foray into 3D video.

Another lo-fi solution to making 3D useful comes from Mozilla, outlined in this fascinating article. Their technology, called Tilt, is not a way to physically see in 3D (it’s just software at this point), but certainly nods towards the future 3D stereoscopy web content. You can test Mozilla’s Tilt plugin in Firefox with their beta plugin at that link, but here’s a demo:

All we need now is for computer, laptop, tablet & mobile screens to become 3D-enabled, and for vast swathes of web designers to optimise their sites for WebGL, and suddenly those social buttons become a bit more clickable.

Everyday Coolness on the App Store

As much as I hate Apple (despite having an iPad… long story) you’ve got to hand it to them that they’ve really nailed their app ecosystem, haven’t they?

But that’s a redundant idea.

Of course they’ve developed a clever app ecosystem: a perfect storm of mutual reward for all stakeholders. Everyone knows that. But the app I’m about to showcase has highlighted, at least to me, that there’s another killer feature of the App Store that I’d not yet considered – it’s cool.
And you know what? Coolness attracts coolness.

For what other reason would Everyday for iPhone exist in the world?
I mean, just look at this fucking hip promo video:

Nice, huh? A simple idea, executed well. And I believe it could only exist because Apple has cornered the market in providing a place for cool apps like this to flourish. You don’t see this sort of shit on an Android (Androidify is probably their coolest though) or on BlackBerry, do you?

And what’s really cool is that Noah Kalina, the guy behind this famous video felt he could enter the market with no prior experience, purely on the perceived strength of his one cool idea. Where one or two interesting product features or a single USP would struggle to attract a buying audience in the real world, on the App Store it’s all that really counts. Apple have democratised the adoption of these cool little tweaks, and have created a playing field for all sorts of single-serving software and one-trick ponies.

Basically I’m saying that because of the App Store, the world has more cool stuff – which is just one more reason to love hate Apple.

Web Discoveries for January 14th

These are my del.icio.us links for January 14th