I recently came across a post by Steve Clayton on Next at Microsoft about a new term to me – FUI or fantasy user design. If you haven’t heard of it, you’ve most likely experienced it.  

FUI is the stuff that used to sound really far-fetched for real-world applications. It was the backbone, or at created some of the most memorable visual elements, of films such as The Bourne Ultimatum, Mission Impossible and Children of Men. The man behind that is Mark Coleran. There’s a comprehensive article on Fast Company’s Co.Design, and it’s worth a read.

Think of FUI as the older brother of natural user interface (NUI), which has been a buzz phrase for a while now. Quite simply, NUI encompasses how most of us engage with technology from things like touch-enabled PCs and phones to totally touch-free gaming systems like Kinect.

It reminds us all that things in the not-so-distant-past, thanks to the autobahn of technology innovation, are meeting up with us in rapid pace. Where we live. Where we work. And where we go.  

Interesting to see how things we once awed at in the movies as fantastic are now helping solve real-world problems, such as comparing water availability and potability in India.

As FUI pushes the boundaries, imagine what the future holds. Technology is a marvelous thing.

— Amy Bryson is an account director at Airfoil Public Relations, a high tech PR agency with offices in Detroit and Silicon Valley.