Problem with The MouseMouse are damn slow. Though mouse have more intuitive than keyboard, most keyboard based input still dominates when it comes to speed of control. If you have ever used MPlayer and VLC keyboard shortcuts, you will realize how much energy and time you are wasting to get the things done by the mouse. Not all screens are shrinking. Screens are becoming bigger bigger in case of personal computer and other devices like television. And as screen becomes big, use of mouse make the controlling slower.
Mouse is not feature rich. Today’s mice has only two main features: Point to click and scroll. It lacks vital feature called ‘gesture’ (how you love that iPhone based gesture to zoom something?). Apple tired, and still trying to sell, mouse with gesture technology but I feel it is pathetic and only suitable for touchpad. Apple too know that and they have come-up with touchpad (i.e. trackpad) for desktops.
Has Touch Screen Potent to Replace The Computer Mouse?Most popular among new user input technology is touch screen which is more successful as it enables high backward compatible and its ‘intuitive’ nature. Gestures based on touch have added a new dimension to it but it is still limited to mobile devices (and at information kiosks) as it is not feasible for a lot other devices are not guaranteed to be in reach of user finger (say, your TV). Also, it has not proven itself as potential successor of mouse as its main usage domain – handheld devices – never had mouse. So yes, touch screen technology will still remain master of its domain for years to come before exhausting itself and will continue where mouse shouldn’t be there or cannot be there. But it cannot be viewed as candidate for totally replacing the mouse.
What Can Replace Mouse?
- Fast to point
- Support for gesture
What Else Can Work?Trying to solve everything by single device or technology may not be wise and unfeasible in shorter duration. Engineers need to employ many technology and devices to phase-out mouse from the face of desktops and other devices. Let’s relook at the features listed above and potential technology which can satisfy that.
Faster to point: When you want your mouse to point at a pixel, you first look at it. Then your learned brain gives single to appropriate muscles to move so you can move mouse at desired position on the screen. If you come-up with a camera based solution which can just point where you are looking, it will reduce a lot of work for user. Learning is not much required as that’s all our eyes do – look at the area of interest. And as said, that’s what we do first. Also, you can control a multiple devices wirelessly and minimum possible time.
This solution may seem very complex to implement but already some researchers have submitted paper at many forum making this process easier and more accurate. Some of them are based on infrared camera making the process more robust where lighting is not a factor so it can work in dark too.
Support for gesture: Clicking may not be feasible with camera based technology but a smaller version of trackpad (say clickpad) or clip in your hand may just do fine. A clip or ring kind of device in your hand or finger(s) with motion detection can become very simple and accurate device to input user gestures to system. There are many ways to achieve this and no sensor based technology can be under estimated when it comes to gesture. But as people have already experience, computer vision based gestures would not work as they are more stressful to user.
Bye For NowMy suggestions to replace mouse may not be the best but they definitely makes system more easily usable. My gut says that that’s where the future is. Mouse were invented when we didn’t have many technologies to gather user inputs and they have served well by tremendously increasing user base of personal computers. It’s time we move on for something even simpler and better. With wishes that you happily interact with your PC for now and in the future,