“Zero UI,” the Amazon Echo, How Loud Is Your Neighborhood, and More


The future of user interfaces, the Amazon Echo reviewed, and three more curated items in this week’s Five for Wednesday.

  1. “Zero UI” describes the design principle that will inform the ways we will soon interact with many of our smart devices. This thoughtful piece predicts our words, our gestures, and our past behaviors will take the place of tapping on a piece of glass. HT Mr. Bill Lublin
  2. For some products, the future is now: Amazon’s Echo is a voice-controlled hub that tech pundit Walt Mossberg says “does a lot more than you might think.” Whether it knows if time flies like an arrow or if fruit flies like a banana remains to be seen (or heard).
  3. HowLoud is a mapping app that listens to street noise, airplane traffic, and other noise sources and produces a “Soundscore” that tells you how noisy or quiet a future home will be. Currently only available for LA and Orange counties, but there’s a Kickstarter to fund expansion.
  4. It turns out science knows a lot about the differences between reading on paper and reading on screens. Spoiler: don’t throw out that printer or stop buying physical books just yet.
  5. The MistBox surrounds your air conditioner with a fine mist when it senses your AC is getting stressed, enabling it to operate more efficiently. In other words, “it’s an air conditioner for your air conditioner.”

Photo credit: Cherry Lips” by Camila Zanon. – originally posted to Flickr as Cherry Lips.. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Joseph Sullivan

Joe Sullivan is a User Experience Designer for the Center for REALTOR® Technology.

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