Goodbye Keyboard, Goodbye Mouse
It’s gonna happen eventually…but when? When are we going to stop using these rudimentary tools – the computer keyboard and mouse. Just look at them. They look like they are straight out of the early 1900’s and well…they are.
At least, the keyboard is. The Keyboard has its roots in typewriter technology which was first in use in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Video terminals for computing along with keyboards were used in the 1970s. The mouse was first used for personal computers around 1984.
So here we are almost 30 years later and technology hasn’t changed a whole lot for computer input. Sure – I’ll admit that keyboard and mouse technology has changed a bit with optical mice, wireless keyboards and other minor advancements in technology. But I’m still punching keys to write this article and I’ll roll my mouse around my desk and click the buttons to post the article to this website.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful for the keyboard and mouse and how they allow me to get my work done. I just often wonder when they will become obsolete and I won’t need them anymore. For as much work as I do on the computer, I’m looking forward to trashing the keyboard and mouse so I can move on to something greater, something more productive and maybe something that allows me to stand up and move around (think what Nintendo Wii did for video game consoles)
Thank You Hollywood Prophets
Sometimes I brainstorm about what might replace the keyboard and mouse. Thankfully, Hollywood has helped get my creative juices flowing. If you haven’t seen the movie Minority Report with Tom Cruise from 2002, check out the video below of the computer user interface in one of the movie’s scenes. Tom Cruise’s character is not using a keyboard or mouse but using glove to manipulate the data on multiple screens…pretty cool. Although he is not doing any input of text, this example does give a glimpse of what could possibly replace the mouse. It was a bit of foreshadowing to multi-touch screens that are now in use on touchscreen tablets and smart phones. I can only hope I have one of those hologram computers in my office in 10 years!
Is Speech Recognition the Answer?
There are some other hints in current technologies that point to the inevitable demise of the keyboard. Mainly, speech recognition software. I’ve never used speech recognition software extensively myself but everyone I’ve spoken to who has used it has not recommended it. I think it still has a long way to go in improvements before it can be used extensively. Luckily, the use of smart phones has been exploding and smart phones are demanding more efficient and productive speech recognition technology. With this spurring on of speech recognition technology, it’s likely that within the next decade, we will be speaking more than we type on our computers. The question is – how soon will we be able to dictate text and get an accurate recognition complete with correct grammar and punctuation all while maintaining the same speed or even increasing the speed of input? And not having to use your hands to type on the keyboard means your hands are free. So what will you do with your hands? Maybe you can put on a pair of those gloves in the Minority Report scene to do other work on your hologram screen.
So what difference does this make to you? Maybe none at all. But advances in technology have shaped the way we use our computers, phones, and internet and it’s interesting to think about what the next advances will be. For those who consider themselves early adopters of technology, you may be interested in finding these technologies well before they are used by the masses. Or maybe you’re an astute investor and can look for technology companies that are pioneering these technologies and invest in them (I take no responsibility for investment losses :).
Whatever you do with the information…think about it and let me know what you think. I’m interested in your thoughts and feedback. It’s 2012 as I write this so we’ll see if any of my mild predictions come true by the year 2022.