Science fiction films often take liberties with the technology that they display. After all, it is fiction. Though they can make up essentially whatever they want, technologies still need to be somewhat realistic to the audience. This influences the way that sci-fi technology is presented in film, but in turn, it’s how sci-fi influences technological advances in the real world.
Nathan Shedroff, Chair of the MBA in Design Strategy Program at California College of the Arts, and Chris Noessel, Managing Director at Cooper, took it upon themselves to study the lessons that can be learned from science fiction. They analyzed a variety of interfaces from all different time periods of film and television. They discovered that when new technologies are developed and released to the market, people already have expectations of how it should work. This is based upon having already seen a similar, fictional technology.
Of course, there are instances where the technology in film is all but an impossibility, or at least impractical in real life. This changes as gestural and voice recognition technologies become more advanced, but a lot of interfaces in sci-fi are developed simply for the “cool” factor. Even then, looking to these interfaces as a reference point can help focus a design.
Nathan and Chris join Jared Spool to discuss their Rosenfeld Media book, Make It So: Interaction Design Lessons from Science Fiction in this podcast.