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Virtual Dictionary

Natural User Interface

A Natural User Interface or NUI is an interface type in which the interface with the computer system occurs like an extension of the user's own body. It feels natural to that user, to the point that the computer system itself seems to disappear. As such a NUI is something of a holy grail of interfaces, and whilst some have been achieved, is usually difficult to pull off just right.

The emphasis is always on Natural User Interface, separating the user and the interface into two parts, rather than treating it as just one, as is the usual concept of a UI. By doing this, it becomes a matter of partnering a naturally behaving user with an interface for them, rather than creating a user interface and then introducing the user.

Examples of NUIs include VR systems in which the interface elements themselves fade from the user's mind, gesture control systems that flow smoothly, and interactive tabletops that behave as you would expect paper to but with added functions.

In short, a NUI is all about essentially eliminating any need for the user to stop and think about how to interface with the system; they use the same methods and mannerisms to interact with the computer devices as they would if working with a non-computational system. The interface learning curve is either very flat, or non-existent to the end user.

Below, we offer a selection of links from our resource databases which may match this term.

Related Dictionary Entries for Natural User Interface:

Auditory Display

Gesture Sequence

Gesture Sequence Navigation

Motionless Gesture

Multimodal Sequence

Multimodal Sequence Navigation

Natural User Interface


Repetitive Strain

Repetitive Strain Injury


Touch Based Gesture

Touch Sequence

Touch Sequence Navigation

Two Handed Input

Unintentional Gesture

Voice Control


Resources in our database matching the Term Natural User Interface:

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Locally Hosted resource
Large Image Display: Chrysalis: Natural User Interface in Surveilance
Part two of a short series looking at the French film Chrysalis (2007)'s take on Natural User Interfaces. This focusses on a slightly more advanced form of touchscreen display; dealing with video data in such a way as to feel totally natural, even to a non-computer-user.

Locally Hosted resource
Large Image Display: Chrysalis: Natural User Interface in Paperwork
A look at the tabletop interface system, a form of NUI that has long been sought after, but as the French film Chrysalis imagines it. A form which strongly resembles current efforts, but has the added benefit of being just a few years ahead of us, and is willing to show the capabilities off.

Locally Hosted resource
Natural Language Processing For Multi-User Virtual Worlds
This expansive, and well-written article takes a look at how to implement a more natural language system, to enable the parsing of more complex commands in text-based virtual worlds. Contains code, orientated towards MOO/MUSH developers.

Locally Hosted resource
Brain Machine Interface Enabled Wheelchair
Researchers at the University of South Florida have developed a wheelchair-mounted robotic arm, which is capable of interfacing with the wheelchair user's thoughts via a non-invasive neural interface.

Locally Hosted resource
Adding Haptics to a Second Skin
Researchers have prototyped an electrotactile second skin to be worn over the first, which adds additional pressure sensation to the user's own sensory capabilities it makes the natural skin much more sensitive to touch.

Resource Type not Available

The Vocal Joystick is a hardware interface for those with severe disabilities such as motor impairments. Provided they can make sounds with their larynx, even if they are not words, the user can navigate a virtual environment, or web page.

Spoken Dialogue Technology attempts to provide an exhaustive coverage of spoken dialogue systems. Based on the author?s earlier 80 page paper on the same subject, this book fleshes things out, whist still maintaining a fairly academic presentation style.


Industry News containing the Term Natural User Interface:

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The 7th Australasian User Interface Conference, to be held in Hobart, Tasmania on 16-19 January 2006 is a technology-focused forum for user interface researchers and practitioners from Australia and New Zealand, and throughout the world. Th...

The European Union is funding a three year project to combine 3D images with hand tracking, gesture recognition, and speech recognition technology, in order to build the next-generation prototype computer interface ? a true AR interface.

DEK International, a provider of equipment and processes for high accuracy mass imaging of electronic materials, has won a Global Technology Award for an interface which utilises VR techniques to display complex machine and process data for...

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded a contract for up to $34.5 million to The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md., to manage the development and testing of the Modular Prost...

The screens on many mobile phones can leave a user feeling distinctly vision impaired, especially if her attention is divided between tapping virtual buttons and walking or driving. Fortunately, engineers at Google are experimenting with in...