frog creative chief: think outside the computer box

frog's Mark Rolston presents a vision for omnipresent computing and what it will take to build it.
Written by Chris Jablonski, Inactive

Despite the power and knowledge they afford us, computers are boxes that restrict what we can do and take us out of the moment and away from human connection. The challenge and opportunity that lies ahead is how to get computers out of computing, said Mark Rolston, the chief creative officer at frog design.

Speaking yesterday in San Francisco at GigaOm's RoadMap conference, Rolston said that technologies like Apple's Siri voice recognition system and interactive projection displays are decoupling computing from the various boxes and devices we call computers.

“The room is the computer," he said as he described a future where computers are a set of externalized resources distributed across a room.

"I can talk to it and wave at it, type on a keyboard, and there might be are screens or cameras in the room. These [computers] compose in the moment as we need them and they are no more ornate than that moment needs," he said.

When you have an iPad, that's all you have-no more, no less. In Rolston's decoupled scenario, computing becomes more flexible, and available to become whatever the user needs for the function they need to fulfill.

The challenge for designers like those at frog is to figure out how to use the human body as an input device now that computers have eyes (e.g. Kinect) and ears (e.g. Siri). It will require a new skill set to discover how to instruct computers using human emphatic gestures and speech.

Rolston said that he is excited to face the challenge and potentially change the landscape of computing.

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