Mouse-free computing is something we’ve 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. So is this the shape of things to come? Can we eventually leave the mouse in the dust and move on to more advanced ways of communicating with our computers?
Consumers who own Wii or PlayStation video game systems already have an idea of this. These two game systems offer users the chance to play games and explore the internet through wireless remotes that synch with body movements. Wii players can smack a tennis ball by swinging their hands while they hold a wireless remote. They are able to jog in place, climb a virtual mountain, or shoot menacing robots in the same way. This is called gesture sensing. The tech isn’t quite ready for standard computing yet. However, it isn’t difficult to imagine a future where gesture sensing becomes one of the primary modes of interacting with our computers.
Multi-touch technology is the one other interactive innovation that is being used 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 images on their screens. Since this is a relatively new technology it’s still being refined. How do you think this will be utilized in the foreseeable future to allow us easier navigation around our computers?
Another possible technological advancement that may replace the mouse involves voice recognition. Instead of clicking on a mouse button to open up a program, users can simply tell their computers to open an individual word file or close iTunes. Some of this already exists, most notable is Dragon NaturallySpeaking, which allows users to dictate reports and stories to their word-processing programs. Again, the tech still needs refinement, but a future where we speak to our computers isn’t really that far-fetched.
No matter what new technologies arise or how refined the ones we spoke about get, the odds are that the mouse will not disappear all together. It has served us well, and we know we can easily rely on it.