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 do you think this will lead us to down the road? How will we interact with our computers in the coming decades? If we ditch the mouse, what comes next?
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 hold a wireless remote and utilize their body movements to swing a racket, jog in place, or shoot menacing robots on screen. Even though this technology has not been perfected it’s not difficult to envision how gesture sensing could be applied to computing.
Multi-touch technology is the one other interactive innovation. This is what is being applied whenever you tap your smartphone screen to gain access to programs, or swipe your finger across the surface of your tablet to change screens. In the past few years we have seen a lot of growth in this technology. Do you think this will end up being the primary way we navigate around our computers?
Another possible technological advancement that could replace the mouse involves voice recognition. Rather than clicking on a mouse button to open up a program, users can simply tell their computers to open a particular word file or close iTunes. Some of this already exists, most notable is Dragon NaturallySpeaking, which allows users to dictate reports and stories on their word-processing programs. Again, the tech still needs refinement, but a future where we talk to our computers isn’t all that far-fetched.
No matter what new technologies arise or how refined the ones we spoke about get, the odds are that the mouse won’t disappear all together. It has served us well, and we know we are able to rely on it.