It takes an ecosystem: Building natural UIs isn’t just about sensors and software.


The launch of Aquifi, a startup offering a gesture-based UI, plus a weekend programming my connected home has left me thinking about the wall technologists are crashing into when it comes to consumer expectations of next-generation user interfaces and the current limitations of computer intelligence.

As we expect our devices to become more contextually aware and our interactions less constrained by a screen, the binary nature of computer-human interactions is become increasingly fraught. In my home I encounter it as I try to program my home’s Awake mode to change only when two specific sensors are triggered (just triggering one might mean I’m just getting up in the middle of the night) and only during a certain time of day, on days that aren’t weekends or holidays. It’s beyond stupid to think this is going to work.

And yet, when I figure something out, and it does come together, it’s…

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