@SparkyWatt: Changing work patterns and work habits is the biggest obstacle to any new technology implementation. It's up to the providers of these new devices to make it somewhat intuitive to operate with tried-and-true design and engineering tools otherwise any added utility is for naught.
It isn't really that you have to do it that is the problem. I like learning new things, in good order. The problem is that you have to do it so often. If I have to spend a week on the learning curve, I would like to go a couple of months working efficiently. The real problem is that this week you have to learn this change, next week you have to learn a different one. It is hard to be really effective when you are never off the learning curve. This situation is taken from annoying to explosive by managments who have to have everything yesterday. You can't keep up at peak efficiency. Being on the learning curve all the time just makes it three times worse.
I think not enough credit was given to Microsoft's Kinect system, which was originally created for XBox and is now being integrated into many no-touch devices due to its low cost (resulting from large scale production).
It would not surprise me at all if this incredible device is integrated into the upcoming Windows 8 suit of computers, tablets, and phones. Exciting times are here; that is for certain!
If he imagined the gesture interface of today back then (without a peak from his buddy Steve Jobs) then Speilberg missed out on the opportunity to count tech genius among his many talents. I'll have to check out the movie, Chuck. Thanks for the heads up!
If you haven't seen Minority Report, Beth, you should see it. Tom Cruise opens and closes screens and moves things around by waving his arms and using his hands, in a way the way that I imagine is similar to what you've described here. Also, I have a hunch you're right about Spielberg's connection to Jobs. I don't know anyone else who could have imagined that so accurately years before it actually happened.
@tekochip: No doubt people hate change and you count me among that mix. The idea of having to learn new things simply to handle the day-to-day tasks that you do everyday is where people typically have the most opposition. But as you say, it's opening yourself up to new ways of working that ultimately might save you time and help you do a better job in the process.
Beth, I definitely agree with you on this one. My wife and one of our sons surprised me with a Kindle Fire for my last birthday. I have been working with this marvelous device for several days now and have found the operation remarkable in that there is no real strain on my wrists or hands. The apps that can be downloaded do just about all of the things I need done and then some. I would gladly move my computer mouse to the shelf if I could use the tablet. I can see a tremendous advantage for a CAD or CAE operators that live on a computer day after day. I had no idea there were as many "options" relative to data entry. I suspect most if not all of these are on the "market" right now and can be purchased. Great post.
I think Engineers are probably more open to change than most people, since we are always working with new tools and technology, but it seems that the average person is reluctant to change. I always get a kick out of people opening up their laptop and the trying to find extra space to plug in a mouse into it rather than using the touchpad or other input device on the laptop.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.