Beyond mobile with Josh Clark

Another session at SXSW Interactive that was superb was Josh Clark’s Beyond Mobile: Where No Geek Has Gone Before. Mobile is everything right now, but what’s next?

I heard Clark speak at last year’s SXSWi about tapworthy design. His session was THE best session I went to last year. So I knew I was in for a treat again when I saw him on the schedule.

Post Mobile Era

Sensors are a new “thing” with mobile. From GPS to microphones to touch, there are many sensors your mobile devices offer. Further technology in speech and even gestures will further the interactivity with your devices.

Clark showed us a video of TableDrum, which brings the interactivity off the screen and onto…whatever you want. The demo on the TableDrum website (http://www.tabledrum.com) shows someone syncing a certain sound gesture to a certain instrument. Let’s say tapping my thumb would be the kick drum. After I assign each of my fingers an instrument, I can create a full drum onslaught my simply tapping (drumming) my fingers on the table. Freaking sweet, check it out.

My own side note:

Bringing the interactivity off the screen like this is going to be huge. I can also see a wide range of benefits for off-screen interactivity in special needs apps. Some children with cerebral palsy, for example, may not have the dexterity to touch a small icon on an iPad, and the trigger button they currently use doesn’t always allows the child to explore the app without assistance. Moving the interaction onto a table opens countless possibilities for apps geared toward special needs populations. This really is exciting – let’s explore this more in a future blog post.

Back to Clark…

Also, Clark spoke about what he doesn’t want to happen with mobile. We’ve all seen how kitchen appliances are becoming “smart” these days. Sigh. Do we really want 20 smart devices in our house? What if we had 18 “dumb” ones and 2 “smart” ones that controlled the dumb ones?

There is so much going on in the mobile world right now. It’s going to expand further as the technology progresses. Do we need this stuff? Maybe, maybe not. I can’t think of what my life would be like without the invention of roads, running water, the microwave, etc. Perhaps some of the more revolutionary mobile technologies will create a new touchpoint in society?

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