Prefab Is A Great Example of HCI Research

I talk about human computer interaction (HCI) a lot on this blog.  We’ve invested in a number of companies in our HCI theme, including Oblong, Organic Motion, and EmSense and have a few more that we are working on that hopefully will be announced shortly.  When I think about the areas I’ve been paying the most attention to and am the most intrigued with as an investor, HCI rises to the top of the list. 

This morning I read an article on SeattlePI titled UW researchers look to reinvent the graphical user interfaceWhile the headline is a bit sensational, the project (Prefab) is very cool.  At first glance I thought it was simply rewriting HTML pages (clever, but not that big a deal) but then I realized it was doing something more profound.  The five minute video is worth a look if you are into these types of things.

The bubble cursor and sticky icon examples are great ones.  Starting at 1:45 you see the bubble cursor and sticky icons in action on Firefox in Vista.  At 2:05 you see it on OSX.  At 2:45 you see it in action on a Youtube player.  The magic seems to be around pixel level mapping, which anyone working in adtech knows that’s where the real action is.  It’s pretty cool to see it being used to map UI functionality.