Since the introduction of the Apple iPhone in 20097, we've seen an explosion in the the use of haptic or "touch" user interfaces in a wide range of devices including smartphones, tablets and portable electronics. We're starting to see similar growth of voice control (e.g. Google Voice Actions for Android). While voice control is certainly not new, we're starting to see more mainstream adoption driven by more powerful mobile chipsets.
What's next? In my opinion gesture-based interfaces (e.g. Microsoft Kinect for Xbox) could be the next big bet. While the initial release is focused at the consumer-based gaming market, Microsoft clearly has big plans for the future as it acquired Canesta last week. I've included a video below on what the end user experience might look like. Leaked documents from Microsoft also point to features in the next version of Microsoft Windows that leverage Kinect-like capabilities for user authentication.
I had an opportunity to try Kinect at the Microsoft campus earlier this year. My kids have an Xbox and I'm pretty sure Santa will be bringing them (and me) a Kinect for Christmas. It will be exciting to see if and how this technology makes it into enterprise computing.