As computers have moved into every corner of modern life, our discipline has grown in turn. Yet long before the computer, designers engineers and craftsmen have been coming up with and honing the tools that have shaped our world. A curious and unfortunate change has happened with the arrival of the computer, however. We have largely scaled back our efforts to change our tools and simply accepted a vast array of unnecessary limitations.
Most tools throughout history have had too important avenues for innovation. One was the form of the object itself, and the other was the method by which the object was used. These roughly equate to hardware (form) and software (method of use). In the last 20 years our focus has narrowed to be primarily about software. Rarely is interface hardware brought into question in the design of computers as tools. Thus we are trapped in a world where we specify how mice move around windows that we manipulate on a screen. We’ve attained a great amount of depth in this subject while a whole host of other input and interaction modes remain in their infancy.