Half the world hasn’t even realized it yet, but we’re facing one of the greatest design challenges in humanity’s history: How do we connect this cloud-based digital world we’ve so quickly inhabited with the analog world we’ve inhabited for so long? It’s a problem greater than any one microchip, wireless standard, or ingenious gadget: It’s a problem of melding meat and bits. It’s a problem of interface.
Already, we’re seeing the best and brightest repositioning themselves for this murkier hybrid world. With Windows 8, Microsoft adopted a universal interface with the realization that the PC was dead. Yet a mere Kickstarter project called Twine may be even more important in the grand scheme, as it leverages smart sensors and a clever web UI to keep track of dumb, analog objects in the big data cloud.
Indeed, 2012 was a very big year for the future of UI. Here are our favorite projects to catch up on before 2013 takes over and this whole list is, inevitably, antiquated.