Omniface or Common Face Technology

The time for personal universal controllers to make their debut is fast approaching. Research at CMU shows that control panels on PDAs can be both faster and less error prone than the hardwired interface provided by manufacturers. At least since 2003 far sighted people have been imagining

a future where each person will carry with them a personal universal controller (PUC), a portable computerized device that allows the user to control any appliance within their environment. The PUC has a two-way communication channel with each appliance. It downloads a specification of the appliance’s features and then automatically generates an interface for controlling that appliance (graphical, speech, or both).

What will this technology be called? It could be any one of the following – listed from the shortest to longest – and at least one of these is probably not yet a trademark! omniface, multiface, omnidisplay, common face, omnicontrols, multidisplay, general face, generic face, omniinterface, multicontrols, catholic face, multiinterface, common display, universal face, common controls, general display, generic display, ubiquitous face, common interface, general controls, generic controls, catholic display, general interface, generic interface, omnicontrol panel, catholic controls, universal display, catholic interface, multicontrol panel, universal controls, ubiquitous display, universal interface, ubiquitous controls, omnicontrol display, ubiquitous interface, common control panel, multicontrol display, general control panel, generic control panel, catholic control panel, common control display, universal control panel, general control display, generic control display, ubiquitous control panel, catholic control display, universal control display, ubiquitous control display!

A transition to personal universal controller technology would mean that appliance makers would be able to focus their attention on building the bits of the applicance (oven, copier, DVD) that actually provide the service and not need to provide any control panel! This has a number of benefits:

  • Simplify the engineering of the device.
  • Allow the provision of multiple control models for the appliance tailored for novice, amateur and expert users
  • Greatly simplify multiple language interfaces

Bring it on!

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