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? Can we eventually leave the mouse in the dust and start mastering more advanced ways of communicating with our computers?
Consumers who play video games have used this for quite a while. Both the Wii and the PlayStation employ gesture-sensing technology. This technology allows users to hold a wireless remote and utilize their body movements to swing a racket, jog in place, or shoot menacing robots on screen. Although this technology has not been perfected it’s not difficult to envision how gesture sensing could be applied to computing.
But gesture sensing is only one interaction innovation. You can also find 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 are able to zoom on an image to make it larger.
Another possibility for controlling computers is vocal recognition. This technology already exists and is quickly rising 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 is perfect, but technologies improve so rapidly now a days that I don’t see it being too long before voice-command functionality becomes standard in every devices.
No matter what happens, though, chances are that we’ll still rely, at least somewhat, on the humble mouse. All things considered, it has served us well for several years.