Brendon Walsh
UI's in Media

UI's in Media


The Graphical User Interface has made great leaps while operating systems and software have become more complex and sophisticated. However, it is interesting to note that the physical interfaces to technology have largely remained the same. The mouse and keyboard, aside from some ergonomic advancements are unchanged since their inception and are still recognized as the most functional way to operate a device. For this reason, I've decided to focus on two of my favourite UI's that are presented in both film and television.

Serial Experiments Lain

Serial Experiments Lain is a short Japanese TV series is merely 13 episodes long. Yet the length and breadth of it's content is astounding. The story follows a troubled teenage girl name Lain who becomes increasingly involved in technology as the story progresses. I won't reveal too much of the story, because it really should be viewed without any prior impression or expectations to the story line.

Throughout Lain's ventures she upgrades her computer several times and each time the way she interfaces with the machine is changed. The progression starts with voice recognition and finally progresses to a complete neural link with the machine made possible with a psukhe (psyche) processor.

It is interesting to note that beyond the UI developments that have been made, the GUI that was presented in the series has intrigued so many viewers that there was once a project to design a Linux environment based on the Operating System that Lain used. It was referred to as the Lain OS and was designed under the influence of Apple's Copland OS.

Minority Report

Minority Report (personal reviews aside) was a revolutionary film presenting a User Interface unlike anything anyone has ever seen. Within the Pre-Crime division, premonitions were recorded and then analyzed through a giant semi-transparent screen which was controlled through hand gestures controlled by gloves that the operator wore.

The full-scale implementation of this UI has not yet been reached, but their are indeed devices that are working towards this. Can you think of any? How about the Nintendo Wii? This is the first console ever to sport a wireless motion sensing control system. Perhaps down the road in it's life cycle, we'll see greater developments in the user experience on the Wii.

Another attempt at a Pre-Crime interface is Jeff Han's "interface-free" multi-touch screen. This is by far the closest thing I have seen to resembling Minority Report's conception.

Other companies have quickly tailed this development. Companies like Apple and their latest iPhone product. Microsoft is even trying to jump on board with Surface and their software Silverlight.

Your Favourite

These are obviously two very different ways to interact with a machine. Both of which are completely free from the traditional mouse and keyboard. While these are my favourite UI's in film and TV I know there are plenty others so I'd like to see what you guys think about where our technology is headed and where our interfaces will be headed in say, the next 10 years. Or where you'd like to see things go.