The 10 most iconic user interfaces in movie history

Movies made us fall in love with them - and some are now becoming a reality. Interface technology specialists Anders DX take a look at the most iconic user interfaces in movie history.

Advanced user interface technology was once something that only seem to happen in sci-fi movies. When we marvelled over the technologies we saw in The Matrix years ago, the concept of controlling and moving 3D objects on walls of glass seemed ridiculous and far-fetched.

But now these technologies not only exist - they're increasingly commonplace, as companies rush to adopt user interface technologies to please their customers and promote their businesses. DJ booths in restaurants and raves, bar tops, café menus, even virtual store windows are all utilising these new technologies to create an innovative touchscreen experience and deliver a unique, optimised end-user experience to their customers that is like no other.

As the adoption and development of user interface technologies continues to develop at breakneck pace, we look back at the Hollywood movies that inspired us so much to create them...

01. Minority Report

Minority Report screen technology is a reality in 2012

This modern sci-fi classic involves Tom Cruise working in a futuristic police department where three psychics (or 'precogs') can foresee murders before they happen. Its most iconic scenes see Cruise shifting images and screens around an enormous glass wall display. This was very cool in 2002; it's now very much a reality in 2012, with multi-touch interfaces appearing in mainstream products such as Microsoft's Surface and the Xbox Kinect.

02. Iron Man

Tony Stark's helmet holograms brought a new look to movie interfaces

Robert Downey Jr as Iron Man does much of his interfacing via a hologrammatic display inside his helmet - even when he's flying. No one can deny this is very cool, and when something cool in imaginary sci-fi, it's a good sign we'll eventually see in reality. You can find out more about the incredible FX work Perception NYC did on Iron Man 2, including its interfaces, in this article.

03. Total Recall 2012

The Total Recall remake featured some amazing looking tech

The new Total Recall features a number of awesome-looking touch screen technologies, plus lots of new and interesting concepts - not least, changeable computerised faces!

04. Mission Impossible 4

The fourth in the MI series upped the ante further in terms of both action and technology

The Mission Impossible juggernaut seems unstoppable, and even those who find Tom Cruise unbearable to watch have to admit a grudging respect for the success of this action franchise. Like its forerunners, and indeed other Cruise movies, number four features a range of cool-looking, futuristic touch screens that make us fall in love with interface technology just a little bit more.

05. The Matrix Reloaded

What the sequel lacked in terms of plot it made up for in its vision of futureworld interfaces

Although the plot itself was somewhat disappointing for fans of the original Matrix movie, this sci-fi sequel still features some incredible technologies and concepts - touch screens galore, voice controls, main frames, robots, spaceships, and more.

06. The Avengers Assemble

While the musclemen fought the bad guys, the backroom boys and girls used a variety of stylish technologies to keep the show on the road

2012's big superhero movie focused more on its muscle-bound personalities than fancy tech. But there was still a lot of cool glass-screen input technology flickering away in the background, making sure everything ran smoothly, as the superfriends strutted their stuff.

07. Avatar

Avatar looks the idea of virtual reality to a whole new level

One of the biggest blockbusters to come out of Hollywood, grossing over $2 billion, Avatar brought virtual reality technologies to possibly their ultimate conclusion, where one man can control another (alien) body using the power of the mind. Touch screen and gesture technologies were front and centre throughout, portraying an exciting - if somewhat dark and depressing - future for user interface technology.

08. Quantum of Solace

Bond wouldn't be Bond without cool tech

James Bond wouldn’t be anywhere without his gadgets, so it was only right that the secret service turned their meeting room table into a touch screen computer. Like Microsoft PixelSense but cooler.

09. The Hunger Games

In the Hunger Games, an entire terrain was controlled by computer

Always getting bigger and better every year, the 2012 Hunger Games took futuristic technology to another level with an entire terrain connected and controlled by a main computer. Gesture and touch screen technologies were promoted heavily with 3D projections similar to those seen in Avatar.

10. Prometheus

Reviews were mixed on Prometheus, but it's safe to say the blockbuster's futuristic interface technologies - implemented within robots, spaceships, and even alien architecture - were stunning. Rather than an overly 'science-y' feel, the team at Territory took influences from coral reefs and abstract art to give an organic feel to their interfacedesigns.

Making dreams a reality

Although some of the technologies we have witnessed in Hollywood’s interpretations of the future are far-fetched, a lot of the tech seen in these movies are already being utilised in businesses and companies throughout the world.

AnderDX is one of the companies that can make this a reality. Providing projected capacitive (P-cap) and optical IR multitouch components and monitors, award-winning multitouch software, embedded multitouch displays and miniature fanless, low energy computers, we can move enable multitouch on your devices and help you differentiate your products and stand out from the crowd.

We’ll leave you with a few more examples of exciting input technologies to get you excited...

A Day Made of Glass

Wesc Interactive Store Front

ReacTable DJ Decks Rihanna – Please don’t stop the music

Words: Anders DX

Anders DX is a user interface technology specialist, dedicated to optimising the user experience of non-consumer devices. For more information visit

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