Mouse-free computing is something we have just begun to taste. We have touchscreens on many devices including tablets, phones, and e-readers. These let us access the Internet; send texts, and emails all without using 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 online world 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 yet another interactive innovation. This is what is being applied any time you tap your smartphone screen to access programs, or swipe your finger across the surface of your tablet to switch screens. In the past few years we have seen lots 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 in which 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 can easily count on it.