The Mouse: Good Night and Good Luck

Mouse-free computing is something we have just begun to taste. We have touchscreens on many devices including tablets, phones, and e-readers. These allow us to access the Internet; send texts, and emails all without a mouse. Is this the shape of things to come? Will we eventually leave the mouse in the dust and move on to more advanced ways of communicating with our computers?

Gesture sensing

Consumers who play video games have used this for some time. The Wii and the PlayStation employ gesture-sensing technology. This technology allows users to grasp a wireless remote and utilize their body movements to swing a racket, jog in place, or shoot menacing robots on screen. While this technology has not been perfected it’s not difficult to envision how gesture sensing could be applied to computing.

Multi-touch technology

Multi-touch technology is another interactive innovation that is being employed in a few common devices, namely, tablets, e-readers, and smartphones. This technology allows users to tap icons to open program, pinch or extend their fingers to zoom or minimize the pictures on their screens. Since this is a relatively new technology it’s still being refined. How do you think this will be utilized down the road to allow us easier navigation around our computers?

Voice recognition

Another possibility for controlling computers is vocal recognition. This technology already exists and is quickly increasing 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 a long time before voice-command functionality becomes standard in all devices.

No matter what new technologies arise or how refined the ones we spoke about get, chances are that the mouse won’t disappear all together. It has served us well, and we know we can depend on it.

Posted on: 02.29.12