Friday, September 9, 2016

Invisible User Interface (IUI) for Health 4.0

The Invisible User Interface (IUI) will be a key characteristic of next generation Health 4.0 systems.

The emerging Invisible User Interface (IUI), also referred to as the Natural User Interface (NUI), involves a major paradigm shift in man machine interaction using a computer interface that will be basically invisible. Most computer interfaces today use artificial controls and tangible devices whose operation has to be learned, e.g. Windows, computer mouse, joystick. That's about to change big time with the convergence of multiple modern technologies. See Wikipedia.

The Invisible User Interface (IUI) will include sound, touch, gesture, and tactile inputs and outputs as humans interact with an ever increasing numbers of 'smart' machines all around us, i.e. Internet of Things (IoT). The goal for system developers is to now make ubiquitous computing technology ever more simple to use – designing systems to seemingly be more intuitive and accessible for use by humans with minimal technical knowledge and expertise.

Health 4.0 - Imagine a next generation Artificial Intelligence (AI) system linked to a massive global health data warehouse storing data from a wide range of health IT systems, e.g. Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems, Personal Health Records (PHR), Health Information Exchange (HIE) networks, wearable fitness trackers, implantable medical devices, clinical imaging systems, genomic databases and bio-repositories, health research knowledgebases, medical sensors and more.

Health 4.0 Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems of the future will constantly monitor and analyze the health data gathered on humans in real-time, quietly detecting potential individual and public health issues in the background. It will detect problems and diagnose them, send alerts to patients and their healthcare providers, and generate treatment plans to resolve any healthcare issues. The system will also be interfaced to pharmacies, laboratories, health insurers, public health agencies, and other institutions as needed. The key is that most of this activity will be done quietly in the background.


Health 4.0 systems will use a variety of emerging technologies that will allow an infrastructure of intelligent sensors embedded in our living and working environment to unobtrusively monitor your personal health data and then interact with you, your family, healthcare provider, and other concerned parties using a range advanced verbal and non-verbal communication technologies – think Amazon Echo or Apple's Siri personal assistants.

Invisible User Interface

Today's computers can hear, see, read and understand humans better than ever before. Using advanced ambient intelligence devices embedded in the environment where we live and work, these emerging technologies will be able to monitor our movements, voice, glances, and even thoughts – causing these systems to respond and meet our needs in a variety of ways.

These technologies are opening a world of opportunities for AI-powered systems to interact and serve us using next generation Invisible User Interfaces (IUI). Think about it! Our words and natural gestures will trigger interactions with computer systems and the Internet of Things (IoT) all around us, just as if we were communicating to another person. Essentially, we'll be doing away with old-fashioned 'screens', today's graphical user interface (GUI), and the ever growing number of mobile apps.

Building the Invisible User Interface (IUI) is a new way of approaching the user experience that thinks beyond the screen. The goal is to design systems to better fit within our lives, rather than forcing us to adapt to the machines we use. Key features of the IUI and future systems include:

  • Anticipatory design of new products and experiences that use constantly available, real-time data to anticipate what customers need and want to do next.
  • Personalization is the way that companies can better connect and interact with their customers, giving them the information they need in a way that feels more 'human'.
  • Ambient communication involving an infrastructure of intelligent sensors that will be embedded in our living and working environment – including wearable and implantable systems.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be needed to monitor, analyze, and take action based on the wide array of data being collected on each person.
  • 'Deep learning' is the process of teaching computers to understand and solve a problem by itself, rather than having engineers code each and every solution.

Examples of Systems using Invisible User Interfaces (IUI)


The following are some current examples of emerging next generation apps and interfaces to tomorrow's information systems. What makes them special is that they use a non-traditional invisible or conversational user interfaces as their means of interaction with humans - Read 'No UI' Is The New UI.

  • Amazon EchoVoice interaction device capable of accepting commands and providing a wide range of information to you upon request. It can also control smart devices in your home.
  • Braingate - Creating and testing transformative neurotechnologies to restore communication, mobility, and independence of people with neurologic disease, injury, or limb loss.
  • EmotivCreating mobile EEG wearable systems, providing access to advanced brain monitoring and cognitive assessment technologies. Read Telepathy and Brain Interface
  • FitBit – Creating wearable fitness and health tracking devices for individuals.
  • MagicThis company provides access to a 'smart' personal assistant set of services to meet a range of customer needs.
  • 'M' by Facebook - A personal assistant powered by artificial intelligence (AI) that’s integrated with Messenger to help complete tasks and find information on your behalf.
  • TIII ProjectCollaborative research project focus on developing tangible, intuitive, interactive interfaces (TIII) for the future.
  • WiiUses a handheld pointing device for interacting with the Wii computerized game system that detects movement in three dimensions.

* You might also want to explore Google Glass, Hexoskin, and other 'smart' wearable systems.

Conclusions and Next Steps


How people communicate with each other is very different from how people interact with machines. The trend in computer systems design now involves looking more closely at how humans interact and communicate intuitively. The goal is to teach computers, machines, and the Internet of Things (IoT) to better comprehend and communicate with humans.

The most profound technologies are those that disappear. They weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life until they are indistinguishable from it.’ That’s what computer scientist Mark Weiser wrote in his famous article The Computer for the 21st Century, originally published in 1991.

In the relatively near future, we will be interacting with computers all around us without noticing them. This ties in closely with the Invisible User Interface (IUI) and the rapid growth of the Internet of Things (IoT), which includes wearable, implantable, and embedded health sensors.

Collaboration, Coherence, and Convergence will be the key to industry efforts to challenge the current generation of health IT and healthcare delivery systems. Efforts are already underway to design and build the next generation healthcare systems – Read Global Health 4.0 for 2040 and Beyond

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