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Zero UI — The Future of Interfaces

Are we in the era of Zero UI? Not quite, but we’re getting close.

Zero UI is the concept of removing the barrier between user and device, and having a more seamless interaction with technology.

Industry advancements are moving towards not only more intuitive and integrated pieces of tech, but also an environment that creates less disconnect from our world, providing authentic, meaningful interactive spaces.

Zero UI is all about how we as the user interact with our content. Typically we have a device being interacted with directly through a touchscreen, or indirectly with a remote control. Zero UI is the push to become even more integrated with our tech. Touchless tech or Zero UI.

While a world completely devoid of physical interfaces may never be a reality, being less tied to our devices may be in the cards.

At the helm of this transition are gesture-based user interfaces. The gaming world has been one of the first to adopt gesture controls as a way of providing a more natural user experience.  Think Wii, PlayStation Move and Microsoft Kinect. Our ability to control our gaming console has become less tied to button commands and instead allows us to incorporate more properties of physical space and motion into our experience.

More recently, Google has announced an advancement to gesture control through Project Soli, a chip that will allow users to gesture above a device without needing to touch the screen directly.

Say "so long" to tapping tiny buttons on a small screen; with this project by Google, users will be able to press their fingers together and incorporate other hand gestures that simulate using physical controls.

Machine-learning technologies employed by companies like Nest are helping to further the idea of touchless interfaces.

Having tech that doesn’t get in the way is crucial to having devices that feel more like a part of our environment, rather than foreign objects taking up our space.

Just as our lives are multidimensional, our devices must also be able to have and understand a complete 360o vantage point.

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Jenna Palermo is a designer for ESPN and also an online design instructor. She’s based in Los Angeles, CA. Check out her projects on Behance, follow her on Twitter @wittythings, and visit her site: Yes Juliet.

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