How will we control the computers of tomorrow?
Well that's it! Everybody, well some of the experts anyway seem to agree that the ageing keyboard and mouse just isn't going to cut it any more. It's just not a good enough way to communicate with our computers. It's slow and clunky, in fact the story goes that an alphabetical keyboard would be quicker to type on but we've just got qwerty because it slowed down typists and stopped the typewriter hammers getting all clogged up. Clearly we need a new way to interact with our computers.
Fortunately help appears to be at hand, quite literally, as there are new an innovative ways to interact with our computers available and in general use already. There's the recently introduced Siri from Apple, which while it might be a version 1 product and in need of some improvement (especially if you're Scottish) seems to work rather well for voice interaction.
Then there's the now venerable Kinect, coming soon to Windows to help us to all pretend to be Tom Cruise throwing his windows around Minority Report style. Touch screens are opening new opportunities too and new types of keyboards. Sadly a wholesale move to touch technology can only guarantee that the next worldwide health scare is a pandemic of repetitive strain injury and nobody needs any of that.
But slowly and surely we are moving away from using keyboards and mice to control our computers and to communicate with them. This has led me to wonder exactly how we'll be doing this in the future? Clearly the outsider has got to be voice. With so many languages, dialects and words to learn we're still many years from the processing power needed to produce reliable results, and do you want to explain to your boss that you had said "brick" in that email but the software misunderstood you?
Then comes touch. RSI issues aside we can still use them to read natural handwriting. This technology has now been around and working reliably for a decade, the postal services around the world have invested huge sums in computers that can read the words we write. Alas this is a slow process and writing out a long email instead of typing it in under half the time just isn't suitable for the demands of modern life. This brings us then to the Kinect which is great for throwing things around but pretty useless the first time you actually try and do precise work with it.
This means there there's a gap, sitting somewhere between what he have and what we don't and I thought I'd throw this out for you to see what you think will be the control methods of tomorrow? Will we will use keyboards and mice so much, or will the mouse go in favour of gestures and will basic keyboard controls be taken on by voice control instead? In short, will be resort to using all of these technologies simultaneously to control our devices?
I bring this up because this has all really taken off just this year. 2011 has been a tremendous year for new ways to control computers with some of the most amazing technologies put into practical and widespread use for the first time. 2012 looks to be even more exciting with swipe gesture control coming to Windows 8. We may not want this though. For many a keyboard and mouse are just fine and they'll want to keep things like that. What do you think? Do you think there will be an outright winner and do you even think that ten years form now we'll have any choice in what we use? Why not tell us here.Advertisement