I’ve just been to an interesting talk about Dr Osamu Morikawa’s HyperMirror system. How do you allow for richer interaction over video conferences? Make the participants believe they are all in one room, but looking in a mirror. Wonderfully simple idea, which seems to work very well. There are short video clips on the web site.
It reminds me of the MIT ALIVE project, where you saw yourself in a mirror view of an artificial world, with which you could interact. HyperMirror is much simpler and more useful for most people, because it’s about communicating with other people rather than machines. (It doesn’t even need a computer for a simple implementation.)
This is a noticable trend in the progress towards ‘ubiquitous computing‘. Technologies which simplify communication between people thrive. Those which simplify communication with machines are mostly just a stepping stone.