A Keyboard… How Quaint

by Casey Lynn
Contributing Writer, [GAS]

CNET News reports that this week’s ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology could reveal some interesting new developments in the area of computer interfaces. But is it time to abandon the mouse and keyboard for Star Trek levels of speech input technology?

Maybe not just yet. According to CNET’s Microsoft expert, the next big thing on the horizon is the surface display. Just like the beginnings of any new technology, it’s currently cumbersome and expensive, though it’s already being used in a very limited capacity.  So what makes “surface computing” so great?  According to Microsoft, (1) the ability to “grab” information with your hands, without the use of a mouse or keyboard, (2) recognizing many points of contact simultaneously rather than just one like a typical touch-screen, (3) easy for several people to gather around at once (a “collaborative, face-to-face computing experience”), and (4) object recognition for items placed physically on the display.

So what do you think?  In ten or twenty years, will surface computing be ubiquitous?  Will every desk and conference table have a computer built right in?  And/or will be talking to our computers Scotty-style?  Either way, it seems likely that a mouse and keyboard may be considered “quaint.”