District 9 - Alien interfaces

Imagining alien technology is a whole new ball game, the possibilities are endless. District 9 have tackled the design of the alien UI in a similar way to the GUIs we are used to but with a few differences. First of all the interfaces are in an alien language and displayed and interacted with holographically. My favourite moment must be when the alien gestures to spin the circular control across a 3 dimensional axis. This manipulation in a 3D space is something unique to holographic UIs, and it was just such a nice surprise.

In terms of design, layout and animation it is very close to the interfaces we are familiar with. This may have been done intentionally to perhaps show the similarity between these aliens and humans, or maybe for the audiences' sake of understanding the plot. And although the language, the interactions and the gestures are indecipherable we are still able to comprehend some sort of method or order.

A recurring motif in the alien UIs is the visual aspect of the interfaces and how the layouts mostly revolve around an image, whether it be a blueprint of the engine, a map of the galaxy or a map of the surrounding terrain. This may also act as a visual cue to help the audience comprehend a sense of order.

Another exciting introduction was the biological factor of the technology. It was something unexpected and opens up the possibility for a whole new dimension of alien UIs. It will be exciting to see where this develops.

Watch the District 9 clip here