We’ve already had a taste of mouse-free computing. Touchscreens on our smartphones and tablets let us search the Internet, compose e-mail messages, send texts, and stream movies, all without using a mouse. So what on earth do you think this will lead us to down the road? How will we interact with our computers in the coming decades? After we ditch the mouse, what comes next?
Gesture sensing is something most gamers are familiar with. The PlayStation and Wii both use this technology. Simply by using a wireless remote you can control the game using only body movements. This technology hasn’t been perfected or widely applied to computing but think about the possibilities. Perhaps in the foreseeable future we will boot our computer by putting on a sensor bracelet and each and every little gesture we make will execute a task on our computer!
But gesture sensing is simply one interaction innovation. There’s also multi-touch technology. Again, iPad along with other tablet users are already familiar with this. By tapping icons on their screen, they can open apps and programs. By swiping their fingers across the screen, they are able to flip to a different page on a website. By pinching pages, they can zoom on an image to make it larger.
Another possibility for controlling computers is vocal recognition. This technology already exists and is quickly gaining in popularity as developers figure out the kinks. One of the most common vendors is Dragon NaturallySpeaking. Vocal recognition technology has a ways to go before it’s perfect, but technologies improve so rapidly now a days that I don’t see it being very long before voice-command functionality becomes standard in every devices.
No matter what new technologies arise or how refined the ones we spoke about get, chances are that the mouse will not disappear all together. It has served us well, and we know we can easily rely on it.