Inside IT
The Connection Between You and Me, Natural User Interface

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WWMU

“ Wake me up after 8 hours”

“ The alarm is being set. The alarm is being set for 7:11”

Communicating with computers is something we used to only see in Sci-fi films, but it is now a reality. We now have the devices and systems that allow us to communicate with computer via a mouse, keyboard or touch screen. This technology is known as an ‘interface’.

WIAI

Interface refers to a system, device or software that allows separate entities to access each other and interact. In short, it is a medium for 2 entities to connect each other.

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Interface Structure

The interface is set with the ‘input’ and ‘output’ of the medium. Input is the transmission of information from one device to another. When another device receives the information, it is called output.

Types of Interfaces

There are 3 main types of interface depending on the purpose of the interface: hardware interface, software interface and user interface.

A Hardware Interface is a medium for devices to connect with each other. A USB drive connecting with a computer is an example of a hardware interface.

A Software Interface is a medium that allows different software to send messages and communicate. A system allowing applications to interact with the OS on a computer is an example of a software interface.

Finally, a User Interface is a medium that allows people to interact with devices. The main type of medium for interaction between humans and computers is referred to as an HCI (Human-Computer Interface).

This human & machine based interface is also called a MMC (Man-Machine Interface). Since the advent of computers, tablets and other devices, there is more and more interest in how people can interact with these machines.

Earlier User Interfaces, CLI and GUI

Once computers came out, they have developed through CLI (Command Line Interface) and GUI (Graphical User Interface).

1CLI

We have all seen the black with white text that comes up when there is an issue on a computer and it is rebooted. This is a main example of a CLI.

CLI primarily uses test for input and output. When this type of interface was first developed, it primarily used text for navigation and communication and was similar to reading a book. Dos and Unix were the main CLI used at that time.

2_GUI

Because user interfaces are used directly by people, development must be done to make it easy for people use and recognize. Since pictures are easier for people to recognize than text, basic human tendencies and technological development were combined to create a graphic interface using icons instead of text.

This type of graphic interface is known as GUI (Graphic User Interface). GUI uses a monitor for output just like CLI, but interaction with the computer is made easier by clicking on icons. Microsoft Windows and MAC OS are examples of GUI.

The Advancement of User Interfaces, NUI

Later, people began to want a faster and easier interface than the interaction with a computer using a mouse and keyboard. Without any additional factors, people wanted a natural communication with the computers.

For this reason, user interfaces were developed so that people could interact with computers without other hardware. This type of interface is called NUI (Natural User Interface).

Just like the word ‘Natural User Interface’, once NUI was implemented, people began to communicate with computers without any special hardware. Interface technology was developed based on the hand movements and language mostly used by people.

Hand Based Interface, TUI

Interfaces developed based on hand movement are called TUI (Touch User Interface). The interfaces people implement while using their smartphones are examples of TUI.

Since TUI is already being used on a large number of devices, reducing inconveniences in touch technology has become very important. LG Electronics monitors use a TUI called ‘Multi Touch’.

Most LG Electronics products implement precise swipe gesture touch with no after-image. In comparison to other products, LG Electronics products have no external touch overlay and have built-in apparatus to remove space between the touch frame and the glass panel.

Voice Based Interface, VUI

Voice based interfaces are known as VUI (Voice User Interface). An example of this type of interface is a voice recognition technology that analyses and reacts to human languages. LG Mobile implements ‘Q Voice’.

Q Voice is embedded in the LG Watch Urbane LTE. At this point, communication is primarily unilateral, but 2-way communication will soon be possible.

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Q Voice (Source: www.lgmobile.co.kr/data/manual/f180/lg-f180K/160.html)

소제목 _최종

NUI uses communication through voice and hand gesture recognition, so current interfaces have begun including new factors to support development of NUI.

People now want a more natural and organic interface that is not limited to the exchange of determinative information for communication between people and machines. This demand has caused user interfaces to be developed to implement OUI (Organic User Interface).

The ‘organic’ in OUI refers to making user interfaces that reflect more natural forms, transitions, flexibility and evolution. In other words, input devices can also be output devices and almost any ‘things’ can become an input/output device, so the form type of interface can be made more natural.

Virtual reality and curved displays are example of this type of interface. An interface like this is easy to find on LG smartphones. Scan Search on LG smartphones is an example of one of these interfaces.

When ‘Scan Search’ is open, the user can point the camera in a certain direction and the application will notify the user which shops are in the frame. The user can direct the camera at the sky and receive information on the weather or direct the camera at the ground to receive information on the surrounding area.

The technology allows the user to obtain all sorts of information on different objects through the app. Using NUI, the user can communicate with objects and use OUI to obtain additional information.

There is another way that OUI is changing interfaces. The LG 1mm OLED Wallpaper TV is an example of this.

This TV is not a TV that is hung on the wall, but it is a display attached directly to the wall. We can see how this is an improvement in convenience for the consumer and how the technology makes for a more natural environment.

<LG’s 1mm OLED Wallpaper TV>

As we can see here, user interfaces have become an integral part of our lives. When the OUI is in use, it can record user patterns and then customize itself to match each user and become a completely new interface altogether.

There are high expectations for how interfaces with make communication between people and machines easier and make our lives more convenient.

Written by Sangmoon Kim, LG CNS Student Reporter

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