Back in 1979, author Douglas Adams included this paragraph in his brilliant comedy sci-fi novel, "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy." It happens when one of the main characters is trying to use his spaceship's radio:
The [radio] was rather difficult to operate. For years radios had been operated by means of pressing buttons and turning dials; then as the technology became more sophisticated the controls were made touch-sensitive--you merely had to brush the panels with your fingers; now all you had to do was wave your hand in the general direction of the components and hope. It saved a lot of muscular expenditure, of course, but meant that you had to sit infuriatingly still if you wanted to keep listening to the same program.
Considering that book was written before touch screens were even close to a possibility, you have to give Adams a lot of credit for predicting how technology was going to evolve. And he didn't get it right just when talking about touch screens, either.
The reason I thought of this quote is because of news from a Norwegian company called Elliptic Labs. It has just released an interesting bit of new technology that could radically change how we interact with smartphones, tablets and more.