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18 Jul


BumpTop: Experimental 3D desktop interface

July 18, 2006 | By |

One major problem with working on a computer is always that the interface aren’t quite sufficient. Neat icons: Yeah. Really flexible: Hardly. While adding an extra screen helps quite a bit as you have more space available to at least sort the information and data on your desktop, it’s far from being perfect. What we need is a new, innovative interface, preferably 3D and not just visual.

As far as I know, all attempts to build similar interfaces have – so far – not been even near to being ready to mass-market them. One truly fine piece of software may just have popped up as a prototype: BumpTop tries to “push the desktop metaphor”, as they say, hard. (Keep in mind that the desktop really is just that: a metaphor, where some icons represent some file formats, which in turn represent data consisting of 0s and 1s.)

BumpTop lets you handle your desktop based on (what a nice description!) “physically-based casual interfaces and pen-centric interactions”. In other words: You use a virtual pen to shove around and rearrange your desktop icons roughly based on real-world physics. (Props here to Anand Agarawala, who it seems has contributed the very basis of this idea in his papers.)

So what does this holy cow look like? Well, roughly like a table on which you arrange and rearrange a few stacks of postcards. The best way to get an idea is most certainly the very educational movie on (6:49min). However, if you’re really under time constraints, there’s also an 18 second hip hop version here.

Most certainly one of the most innovative data visualization tool I’ve seen in a while. (via FactoryCity / Citizen Joe)