Control panels / alt interface
Collection of random images I’ve taken or seen which show alternative user interfaces. I am constantly wondering whether you can get an edge in custom-made interactive environment (think 📂Series about Self or 📂tinySelf ) by using all kinds of alternative physical interface?
Great article on this topic; The UX of LEGO Interface Panels.
Control panel of a nuclear reactor
See LVR-15 research reactor near Prague for details.
What I really love about this type of control panel is how graphical they are. You can really see what is happening, and you can also control it simply by touch.
I cannot tell you how many times I wished this for our backend services. One panel to see everything that is happening, all the message queues and the data flowing through them, status of all services, restart with simple touch.
I know, you can use zabbix and kibana and graphana to obtain all of this, but this metaphor is stronger because it translates directly into intuitive understanding.
Also: A collection of Soviet control rooms. Power stations, control towers etc. Posted mainly for aesthetic reasons.
Hackathon: Nuclear power plant dashboard
So, last year (2022), I joined with two of my colleagues, and we created a project for hackathon in our company during the two days we had allocated for that project. Here are some screenshots of the README:
In the end, we won some category, but I later learned that we gave away all the rights for the project to the company (including the idea itself), so that was probably the last time I participated in any hackathon.
Anyway, in two days of intensive coding, we created the ui, backend (rest server), data model and all other necessary stuff for this to work, and I can imagine making it into a full product.
One thing which is not really obvious is that this was really a control interface, not just a dashboard. You could for example turn off the microservice, increase the number of instances, or redirect data flow to a different queue just by clicking.
I just love it.
I was immensely impressed by this ultrasound machine:
Specifically, not by the machine itself, but by the control panel with trackball. The doctor who used it was really skillful, and you could see that this was many times more effective than just simple mouse and keyboard.
The second shot captured how she measured distance, on a zoomed in image. She was very fast and precise.
This device is used by doctors to check bones of little kids: