Like many other prognosticators, Fortune’s J.P. Mangalindan contends that touchscreen gesture recognition will make the computer mouse obsolete, contending that after more than 40 years of mouse development, the arrival of smartphones followed by the iPad and other media tablets – all touchscreen enabled – has narrowed “the communication gap between man and machine (allowing, for example, very young children to became savvy computer users).
Some of us, evidently a minority I’m obliged to concede, beg to differ, at least in the context of quality of communication. I much prefer the pinpoint precision and button-mediated positive control provided by mouse, touchpad, or even trackball input, to the vagueness and ambiguity of touchscreen manipulation.
Mangalindan cites scientist and entrepreneur John Underkoffler arguing that “Gesture is the richest possible digital input that we, as humans, can deliver,” and that “spatial operating environments” are sensitive enough to pick up movements as slight as a quivering finger. Yes, and that would be part of the problem with them from some users’ perspectives.
The article notes that the next generation of Microsoft’s Kinect gesture-recognition hardware is due this winter, dubbed Leap, claimed to have 100 times the accuracy of the original Kinect product but to cost less than half as much, around $70, in a more compact form factor and compatible with Macs and PCs.
Mangalindan predicts that the mouse will soon the mouse will no longer feel like a throwback but will simply be obsolete.
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