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IT
  Ralf Hundertmark
Column  Updates
September 27' 2010

Forget Typing?

            To make one thing very clear, this is not another IPad review. However, I just borrowed a friend’s IPad for the weekend and wow!

It is extremely cool to sit in the garden and browse web pages or watch movies. It weighs close to nothing and looks really elegant and even though I was skeptical in the beginning, basic text editing is easy and smooth. However, when it came to something a little closer to desktop publishing, I was quickly starting to miss my mouse and keyboard.

So, by now I am sitting at my desk in front of my laptop and I daydream about how many devices will we carry and how will we interact with our devices in the future?

Well, for as far as question number one is concerned, I personally would be very happy to carry a one-for-all device and I believe that modern smart phones will be getting there soon.

Specialist devices like high-end cameras and high performance computers will still have their own vertical in the brought computer industry, but for everyday work a single device will soon be powerful enough to do your mail, office and web-work.

But how do we communicate with them? Will we still rely on the good old keyboard, a first-generation IT accessory, or what will it be?

While the experience of the onscreen keyboard on the IPad was still halfway pleasant, it is not on my Android driven mobile phone – and I am a male without long fingernails. Living in Southeast Asia with rather high humidity levels also makes the use of on-screen keyboards troublesome at times.
Cutting and pasting of text is a special task all together and all that makes me believe that we will see external keyboards and other easy-to-carry accessories pop out like mushrooms very soon.

I have heard of developments like laser projection keyboards, foil based monitors, which one can carry in a wallet or projection phones that have a standard projector included. Storage will certainly be the least problem, for most of the data will be residing somewhere in the cloud and will automatically be synchronized with one’s laptop or other rather stationary computer.

And while touch screens are very nice for low density operations like “clicking” on a button or sizing a picture they are rather difficult to handle for high density or fine work – at least for now.

But there is a lot more happening than this. What has caught my attention is the latest development in the game console markets, which give reason for hope that we will eventually be able to control our machines as shown in the movie “Minority Report”, without the need for a keyboard or a mouse.

On Microsoft website they say:

“Introducing Project Natal, a revolutionary new way to play: no controller required. See a ball? Kick it, hit it, trap it or catch it. If you know how to move your hands, shake your hips or speak you and your friends can jump into the fun -- the only experience needed is life experience.”

Source: http://www.microsoft.com/uk/wave/hardware-projectnatal.aspx

And the recent demos I have played really worked like a charm. This trend has started with Nintendo’s Wii, who first introduced motion sensors to its game console and the next version, which uses cameras instead of sensors will soon be standard in the way we interact with our game consoles. The same technology as used in the latest game consoles to track our motions will soon be brought to the mainstream computer markets.

Already today there are devices like the nia™ PC Game Controller from OCZ Technologies of San Jose that translate facial expressions, eye movements and concentrated brainwave activity into PC game keyboard and mouse controls and this technology will certainly be further developed till it reaches all off our homes.

Another exciting- or should I say rather scary video is available at vidivodo.com. In the clip titled “First Cyborg Of The World” a little car is shown that is reportedly controlled by the brain of a rat. This alone is not too scary, but the real shocker is that the producer of the video claims that the brain of the rat was separated from its host and sits in a bell jar and could transmit the commands via Bluetooth.

Well, I leave it up to you and decide what to think of that.

However true that is, with the latest developments in the technologies outlined before and the advances in voice recognition there might be a real chance for us to see keyboard-less interaction and control of our computers coming to our homes soon. So, I better go now and practice my speaking skills….

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September 27, 2010
Forget Typing?
To make one thing very clear, this is not another IPad review. However, I just borrowed a friend’s IPad for the weekend and wow! More

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