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Input Devices GUI Software Upgrades

Computer Mouse Heading For Extinction 625

slatterz writes "The computer mouse is set to die out in the next five years and will be usurped by touch screens and facial recognition, analysts believe. Steven Prentice, vice president and Gartner Fellow, told the BBC that devices such as Nintendo's MotionPlus for the Wii and Apple's iPhone point the way to the future, offering greater accuracy in motion detection."
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Computer Mouse Heading For Extinction

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  • by hedronist ( 233240 ) * on Sunday July 20, 2008 @07:55PM (#24267073)

    But ... but ... I have a relationship with my mouse! It's one of the two things I have my hand on all day long. Oh, behave! I meant my keyboard.

    Somewhat more seriously, do you really want your screen to have ... stuff all over it? Personally, I don't let anyone touch my screen. Or imagine an office with everyone yelling at their computer, "No, God damn it! The other left!"

    • by antek9 ( 305362 ) on Sunday July 20, 2008 @08:14PM (#24267273)
      Next up: the combination of both those future bound GUI technologies, The WiiPhone (TM). It doesn't have any screen at all, you just throw it at whoever you want to talk to! Now if all things were that simple...
    • by racermd ( 314140 ) on Sunday July 20, 2008 @08:18PM (#24267321)

      While I completely agree that I don't want anyone touching my screen (yuk!), there ARE better methods of inputting x/y coordinate data than a computer mouse. A tablet is certainly effective, but a little bulky for most desks. The trackball is also effective, but equally disgusting to me unless it's cleaned regularly. The track-stick is favored by many, but I never found it truly useful - probably because I can't seem to get the hang of it.

      Another point to make is that the Wii Remote is (with the exception of the accelerometers) functionally identical to a computer mouse with the optical eye reading many images per second to detect motion. The method by which the receiving end translates the data into x/y coordinate data is certainly different, though.

      • by Ethanol-fueled ( 1125189 ) * on Sunday July 20, 2008 @08:37PM (#24267511) Homepage Journal
        I'm all for it.

        I love to skateboard, but by-and-large it's a lopsided method of exercise unless you constantly switch stance. I'd love to interact with my raster using two hands but the mouse has the advantage of configurability -- that is, you can change the cursor's speed and velocity to get more from less wtih the added bonus that it's a lot less intrusive onscreen than fingers are.

        [sarcasm] Let's blame this on the gamers for holding back progress. First they prevent Linux from widespread desktop adoption and now this![/sarcasm]
      • by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Sunday July 20, 2008 @09:00PM (#24267701) Homepage Journal

        Alternative navigation methods have come up from time to time, but apart from the trackball and cursor keys, pretty much all of them have the same drawback: They lead to what's known as the "Gorilla Arm Syndrome". We humans aren't designed to keep our hands extended and not resting on something for any length of time, and after a while, our arms will feel like they've weighted down with lead. Then, when you quit, you feel you have arms the size of a gorilla. And then the pain sets in.

        This is the main reason why touch screens never took off any of the three times they were marketed as the new and wonderful thing. My guess is that this is a fourth attempt, which will meet with no more success.

        Even graphic tablets can cause G.A.S., unless they allow you to rest your wrist and arm while using it. If they're much bigger than a mouse pad, many people will have problems.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          I wonder why people don't simply stick the monitor/touchscreen directly inside the desk? It would be easy to cut a hole in the middle of a desk and stick the touchscreen in it, and that would fix the problem with arm fatigue. There's no reason why a screen needs to be vertical like a TV.

          Doesn't anybody remember the old horizontal PAC-MAN and FROGGER gaming tables?

          • by gnick ( 1211984 ) on Sunday July 20, 2008 @10:26PM (#24268495) Homepage

            I wonder why people don't simply stick the monitor/touchscreen directly inside the desk?

            Because after 40 hours/week, your neck and upper back are going to scream at you unless you're looking at the screen via a mirror.

            • by martin-boundary ( 547041 ) on Sunday July 20, 2008 @11:20PM (#24268961)
              That's ridiculous. It's no different than sitting at any desk and shuffling papers/writing/reading. Kids do this 5 days a week for 12 years during school. Adults do it in offices without computers all around the world. What makes you think just because it's a computer screen it's different than paper?
              • by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Monday July 21, 2008 @12:13AM (#24269349)

                Some of us can barely handle that for 20 min at a time. This sort of bad posture leads to things like disc problems and serious long term damage.

                It's ergonomically terrible. Just because schools and offices demand it does not make it good for the individual. When's the last time you saw somebody outside of grade school carrying a pack around that was almost as large as they were?

                Applying pressure across the spine is the easiest way of damaging the spine outside of a freak accident.

                And to answer your question no it isn't any different, which is why it shouldn't be changed. Monitors are ergonomically better than paper in most cases, going backwards makes no sense at all.

                • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                  by sowth ( 748135 )

                  Why not both? A vertical screen for viewing text, images, data, etc. And a horizontal one for playing with widgets, data entry, and the like.

                  • by default luser ( 529332 ) on Monday July 21, 2008 @03:06PM (#24278747) Journal

                    Why not both? A vertical screen for viewing text, images, data, etc. And a horizontal one for playing with widgets, data entry, and the like.

                    We already have this, and it's called a laptop. The horizontal plane contains manipulation tools, and the vertical plane contains feedback.

                    I actually don't understand all the excitement over touchscreens for large devices myself. Touchpads were actually developed to leverage the technology of touchscreens without all the drawbacks of said large screens.

                    Benefits of touchpads over touchscreens:

                    * You have much reduced arm travel, which is one of the biggest annoyances with large touchscreens. This gets worse as screens get larger.
                    * Your arm doesn't block the things you are looking at on the screen.

                    This whole love-fest over touchscreen technology isn't anything new, and the only reason why it's recently resurfaced is because touchpad recognition technology is now excellent.

                    Basically what I'm saying is that the iPhone et al are just touchpads with a screen attached. If you try to expand said screens, you'll run into the same problems previous touchscreens did and never solved. I don't have much hope for those problems getting resolved, so touchscreens will probably remain restricted to hand-held devices.

              • Kids can shuffle papers, pick them up, do all sorts of things. If the screen's built into the desk you're limited to shuffling your arse and picking it up.

              • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Monday July 21, 2008 @04:35AM (#24270827) Journal
                When reading, most people pick up the paper, rather than hunching over their desk. When writing, the 'correct' posture is to sit up straight and barely look at the paper (yes, I could never quite manage that either). For people who wrote a lot, there were elevated and angled desks, which were much closer to a modern computer display in terms of positioning. They used to exist in schools too, but they were phased out before I went.
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by xalorous ( 883991 )

                Kids spend most of the time watching the teacher, looking out the windows, talking to their neighbors, walking between classes, etc. Adults at workstations stay put for hours at a time. Get back to me in 10 years or sooner if you develop a back problem...once they start you become intimately familiar with ergonomic design.

              • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Monday July 21, 2008 @10:05AM (#24273289) Homepage Journal

                That's ridiculous. It's no different than sitting at any desk and shuffling papers/writing/reading.

                Who said that was ergonomically correct? Draftsmen have angled desks and sit on stools because it is in fact not correct to sit and look at things on a flat surface all day from a chair.

                Kids do this 5 days a week for 12 years during school.

                I had horrible back pain throughout that time.

                I also had pains similar to carpal tunnel before I was even out of junior high. I blame this on being made to endlessly write lines in elementary school because I was "disruptive" (read this as "looking around the classroom") because I was consistently finished with my work very early.

                You will never do yourself a favor by citing any practices of a typical public school on Slashdot. Too many of us are cognizant of the fact that it is a center for indoctrination and prepares children only for going into prison or the military.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            I wonder why people don't simply stick the monitor/touchscreen directly inside the desk? It would be easy to cut a hole in the middle of a desk and stick the touchscreen in it, and that would fix the problem with arm fatigue. There's no reason why a screen needs to be vertical like a TV.

            Doesn't anybody remember the old horizontal PAC-MAN and FROGGER gaming tables?

            I always use my laptop screen at about 45 degrees off the horizontal (ie as low as it will go), which I find a lot more comfortable and is similar to the angles that calligraphers or draughtsmen have always used. I agree the vertical monitor thing is a legacy from the CRT, or maybe it's to save space.

        • by plover ( 150551 ) * on Sunday July 20, 2008 @10:12PM (#24268405) Homepage Journal

          We've done several studies of touch screens at my shop, mostly to answer the question: "which touch technology is best?" Last year we did another study where we installed various touch screen technologies on about a hundred cash registers, measured cashier performance, and collected cashier observations and feedback. We were expecting to get several complaints regarding comfort over time, others who found it easier to use, and were hoping to come up with a way to "justify" offsetting the complaints with the gains in productivity. These gains would first have to pay off the extra initial expense of the touch screen, but then would offer us labor savings.

          But instead we were very surprised by the results of the study: the touch screens did not make the operators more productive. We saw absolutely no gains in performance. We even looked for a slight bump for new cashiers to demonstrate it was easier for them to learn on a touch screen, but we found nothing at all.

          Regarding the cashier's comments, we consistently come up with the same results: a screen high and vertical enough to be very comfortably visible makes for an uncomfortable input device. This includes both touch screens and monitor-height keyboards, such as the NCR Dynakey []. Operators find the bent wrist position uncomfortable over time, and their arms get tired. Traditional keyboards at waist height are just as productive, but cost much less.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by dunkelfalke ( 91624 )

          i worked with a graphic tablet as a mouse replacement for 4 years now and i think you are wrong.
          smaller graphic tablets are much more incomfortable than bigger ones.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by hkmarks ( 1080097 )

            If you're talking about a non-screen graphics tablet, then you're missing the point just a bit. You don't look at an Intuos or Graphire while you're using it. You put it where you'd put your mouse pad, or on your lap, or in front of you on your desk. If you had to hold your pen up all day and tap the monitor, you'd quickly find it uncomfortable.

            A screen-type graphics tablet like a Cintiq also sits on your desk like a drawing board, not like a monitor.

            GP was talking about eye-level screens that you touch

        • by InvisiBill ( 706958 ) <(slashdot) (at) (> on Sunday July 20, 2008 @10:34PM (#24268573) Homepage

          This was one of the first complaints from the guy who modded the Wiimote to read sensors on his fingers, a la Minority Report. He said that after using it for a while, your arms just got tired out. As opposed to moving your mouse a few inches to move the cursor across the screen, you're now swinging your Wiimote/arm all around. While the extra activity may be nice in certain situations for limited periods, I don't think I want typing at work to be the equivalent of 8 hours straight of Wii Tennis.

          I can see some of these alternative input devices being very handy for specialized use, but I have to agree with everyone else here that the good ol' keyboard and mouse will be around for a while yet.

        • by KGIII ( 973947 ) <> on Sunday July 20, 2008 @10:44PM (#24268641) Journal
          I am going with this entire article being just plain bullcrap. The mouse isn't going to die for a long time. There are alternative input methods, as you mentioned, but of all of those I mostly accepted the little nipple that used to drive the mouse in my old Toshiba laptops. (I don't see those around so much any more, I was actually fairly adept with one.)
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by nine-times ( 778537 )

        While I completely agree that I don't want anyone touching my screen (yuk!), there ARE better methods of inputting x/y coordinate data than a computer mouse.

        ...maybe... But what lots of people tend to forget is that "better" isn't always better. For example, you might come up with a device that's main advantage is that it's far more precise than the mouse. But if that extra level of precision isn't helpful to me, and the new device has drawbacks that do matter to me, then suddenly that "better" solution is worse.

        So it's not enough for a new solution to be "effective". It has to be better, but it also has to be better in a way that people care about. But ev

      • by Vexar ( 664860 )
        This won't work. I don't know who they hired at Gartner to suggest the VP make that kind of claim, but I don't see the computer mouse falling out of the "Magic quadrant" of input devices anytime soon. Touchscreens are a constant source of eyestrain, especially in the morning, after a nice, greasy doughnut. The Wii motion plus approach is going to give everyone very stiff arms in the morning; it just isn't suitable for hours and hours of use as a pointer, extended at arm's length. Our arms will get tired
    • by lastchance_000 ( 847415 ) on Sunday July 20, 2008 @08:49PM (#24267623)

      You can have my mouse when you pry it from my cold, dead, fingers.

    • by Zencyde ( 850968 ) <> on Sunday July 20, 2008 @09:20PM (#24267887)
      I must agree with that anti-touching rule. I have a CRT and the fingerprints make me want to kill people.

      On another note, what abouT FPS players? Does this analyst really think FPS players (of which there are MANY) will give up their mice? Not to mention the fact that touch screens require far more physical energy and require your arm to be lifted in order to use. Yeah, I don't expect touch screens to be anything more than a convenience where mice aren't available.
    • by Vectronic ( 1221470 ) on Sunday July 20, 2008 @09:29PM (#24267999)

      Indeed, I dont think I will ever give up my mouse, at best I might sacrifice it to say a tablet and pen, but a touch screen and voice commands just will never be accurate or quick enough.

      As for dirty screens, maybe in 5 years time, they will have developed some sort of nano-gunk-eating stuff you can wipe on your screen that turns the gunk into oxygen, or a revolving protective cover (like outdoor CCTV camers) and then cleans the gunk off and uses it in some cold fusion cell to power the PC...

      Besides, since screens seem to be getting smaller, I really dont see that coinciding with the lack of a pointing device, although, if the entire keyboard was a touch-pad (or two touch screens, one screen, one keyboard), and you held down the [use as mouse] button (somewhere at a corner) then release button, etc that might work.

      Although, there's also the borg option, have some connection into your forearm muscles or something, or directly to your brain, then maybe the mouse would become "old school".

      As for vocal things, that'l never work in public, unless its directional, and in offices you'd probably have to make their cages (cubicals) more air-tight, or have sound proofing, even though phones are common, they aren't quite as pollutive (?) as an almost constant ranting of commands at your PC.

    • by Seumas ( 6865 ) on Sunday July 20, 2008 @09:48PM (#24268175)

      The idea of the mouse dying out is entirely idiotic.

      What am I going to do, reach my hand all the way out two feet in front of my face to drag a window across my dual 30" screens from one side to the other? Keep my arms constantly extended out in front of my face so I can touch the monitors?

      Monitors are expensive enough as they are right now. Without adding touch screen ability to them. Not to mention that the typical home LCD can't exactly handle lots of finger oils and smudges regularly.

      And yes, I'm totally going to write code or navigate the web with a Wii motion controller. Or an iPhone. Or by furrowing my brow on my face.

      This guy is no Alvin Toffler. He needs to relenquish futurism to someone better suited.

    • Has anyone used a touch screen for more than an hour. It's a pain in the ass. Really it's tiring as hell.

      Using the poorly implemented touch screens on the ATM (diebold) at the bank should clue you in that they can also suck for intermittant use.

    • This is the same retarded thinking that has been saying keyboards are going to be obsolete for years.

      New ways of interacting don't obsolete old ways for every task.

  • by FooAtWFU ( 699187 ) on Sunday July 20, 2008 @07:55PM (#24267075) Homepage
    But in practice, it will take a lot more than 5 years. 25 years, maybe.
    • by SignOfZeta ( 907092 ) on Sunday July 20, 2008 @08:00PM (#24267125) Homepage
      Even if the mouse dies tomorrow, it's not going to disappear overnight. Steve Jobs isn't going to bust down your door, seize your mice, or nail an iPhone over your trackpads. Parallel ports, PS/2 ports, and floppy disks were all declared "dead" a long time ago, but their corpses aren't being buried too quickly. And while we're at it, what about all those zombie processes on your system?
      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 20, 2008 @08:21PM (#24267347)

        Dont forget: joysticks.

        There is no way in hell the mouse is going to disappear, especially not to touchscreens, for the same reason joysticks are still around: games. Try playing a game with a touchscreen and not a mouse, not as much fun. There are some things touchscreens can replace, but FPS games are not one of them, and that is a BIG game segment.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 20, 2008 @08:27PM (#24267397)
          If I had mod points, they'd be yours. As an avid gamer, I'm certainly not going to use a touchscreen only interface. Such things are great for limited applications (multimedia PCs, phones, etc.), but they'll never work for gaming (except maybe RTS).
          • by snl2587 ( 1177409 ) on Sunday July 20, 2008 @08:38PM (#24267529)

            I wouldn't use a touchscreen for an FPS either...and I don't think that's what the article was getting at. I'd imagine the Wii-style "gun" movement is what would replace mice for those kinds of games, and as good as I have become at "shooting" with a mouse I still look forward to having the motion interface become the standard.

            • by raehl ( 609729 ) <raehl311@yahoo. c o m> on Sunday July 20, 2008 @08:58PM (#24267683) Homepage

              The problem is, none of those technologies are superior to mice.

              Look at your desktop. Look at where your monitor is. Look at where your mouse is.

              Now, what is easier - reaching up to your monitor every time you want to move the cursor, or reaching over to the mouse?

              Mice are more precise than fingers. Mice are less strain than pointing devices.

              These analysts are idiots. Technology doesn't get replaced with new technology that doesn't work as well as the existing technology. And mice are better at what mice are used for than any other input device available in the desktop/laptop environment.

              • by Clay Pigeon -TPF-VS- ( 624050 ) on Sunday July 20, 2008 @09:06PM (#24267743) Journal

                I haven't had mod points since... ...2003, but if I had some now they would be yours.

              • by jesterzog ( 189797 ) on Sunday July 20, 2008 @09:55PM (#24268249) Homepage Journal

                The problem is, none of those technologies are superior to mice. [--snip--] Mice are more precise than fingers.

                That's true, but on the more-precise-than-fingers point, I think it's only correct when you're very strict about your definition of "precise". Keep in mind that you're taking a very flexible arm and hand with 4 fingers and an opposable thumb, and using it to control a device that's about as complex as a baseball bat. (Move it thump move it thump.)

                Mice are specifically more accurate than fingers when it comes to accurately indicating tiny screen points in a way that strictly logical software can unambiguously interpret, but you're still losing a lot of flexibility of your hand and fingers as an input device just to remove this ambiguity.

                Personally I'm skeptical if touch screens (as they are today) will replace mice, and generally I think Gartner's full of crap when it comes to this and just about everything else they claim to predict, but a mouse isn't exactly a perfect device. It just happens to balance accuracy and utility between humans and the current day's computers better than anything else we have at the moment.

                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  It just happens to balance accuracy and utility between humans and the current day's computers better than anything else we have at the moment.

                  Isn't that what he just said?

              • by Jesus_666 ( 702802 ) on Sunday July 20, 2008 @10:12PM (#24268399)
                The mouse will take the back seat - as soon as we have 99% reliable 99.9% accurate eye/thought tracking. Probably the latter; eye tracking requires you to look all over the place instead of straight into the monitor and punishes you for looking somewhere without wanting to point there.

                So all we need is reliable, cheap, unobstrusive brainwave detection within the next few years to make that prediction come true. Oh, and I'd like a pony while we're at it.
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by ikkonoishi ( 674762 )

                Yeah if anything they will be replaced by these new BCI [] technologies that are being developed. I could easilly see computer users in the future putting on a wrist strap that detects and intercepts the movement signals being sent to the fingers to run a virtual control scheme of some kind. Heck we could do that now for the most part with kind of a reverse carpel tunnel surgery. You would lose the use of your hand though.

              • by clarkkent09 ( 1104833 ) on Sunday July 20, 2008 @10:48PM (#24268661)
                These analysts are idiots.

                That's only true if their goal is to accurately predict the future. If their goal is to write a controversial article that will show up on front page of slashdot and drive gazillion of clicks to their site then they are very very smart
                • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

                  If their goal is to write a controversial article that will show up on front page of slashdot and drive gazillion of clicks to their site then they are very very smart

                  If that's their goal, then they don't know Slashdot very well. No-one is going to click the link!

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by joocemann ( 1273720 )

                The problem is, none of those technologies are superior to mice.

                Look at your desktop. Look at where your monitor is. Look at where your mouse is.

                Now, what is easier - reaching up to your monitor every time you want to move the cursor, or reaching over to the mouse?

                Mice are more precise than fingers. Mice are less strain than pointing devices.

                These analysts are idiots. Technology doesn't get replaced with new technology that doesn't work as well as the existing technology. And mice are better at what mice are used for than any other input device available in the desktop/laptop environment.

                I completely agree. Who the hell wants greasy smidges all over their screen too? I never touch my LCD unless i'm moving it. Who the hell would want a touch screen all day? Thats awkward and messy.

                These 'analysts' should be fired and told to go get a job that involves less of their 'analysis' and more standard work, like making burgers. I don't know about you guys, but I'm on a pentium 3 laptop right now. I love it. About 1/3 of the people I know are using computer systems from about 6-8 years ago. Y

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by Asic Eng ( 193332 )
                These analysts are idiots.

                Maybe. Or maybe they know who their customers are: people who are not very computer-literate, and who don't care much about computers. With this article they get in the news - it's just the sort of nonsense journalists fall for, and which attracts people to read their inane articles. For these analysts the benefit will be that lots of potential customers will form an association with "Gartner", "analysts" and "technology trends".

                The strategy used is quite similar to the one TV

      • by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Sunday July 20, 2008 @09:55PM (#24268255)

        I know what a PS/2 port is, and my father-in-law showed up with one of these so-called "floppy" disks once so I know what that is...

        But just what the heck is a parallel port? :)

    • by Enry ( 630 ) <> on Sunday July 20, 2008 @08:00PM (#24267129) Journal

      This. I've been using mice since 1986(ish). It's not going away anytime soon as touchscreens aren't standard on desktops. and I rarely use my touchscreen on my laptop - I'll use the mouse instead. There will have to be a big UI shift before mice become obsolete and disappear. The speed that Linux and Windows move at means this will take a long long time to do.

    • by Z00L00K ( 682162 ) on Sunday July 20, 2008 @08:04PM (#24267175) Homepage
      And don't forget the hell all those fingerprints will create on your screen. No way I'm going to finger my screen.

      So the mouse will probably remain for the foreseeable future.

    • by EmbeddedJanitor ( 597831 ) on Sunday July 20, 2008 @08:44PM (#24267567)
      Twenty years ago I saw exactly the same predictions about keyboards and some people laughed them off. Look how fast keyboards disappeared, replaced by the mouce and voice recognition. Within a couple of years they were completely gone.

      If the keyboard could get killed of then why can't the mouse?

      People bitch about RSI etc when using a keyboard/mouse. VR or reaching across your desk to operate a touch screen will be far more strain over a day of desk work or a few hours of gaming/emailing whatever.

      About the only area where touch screen is practical is in walk-up kiosks and handheld devices.

  • 5 years? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by arse maker ( 1058608 ) on Sunday July 20, 2008 @07:58PM (#24267105)

    hahahhahahahaha I call bullshit on that. Taking all bets.

    Because the mouse is old will never replace the fact it is an incredibly intuitive and powerful HID. You can use it all day without getting sore (mostly) and best of all, it wont accidentally trash half your files if you sneeze and move your hand at the same time.

    • by khasim ( 1285 ) <> on Sunday July 20, 2008 @08:04PM (#24267179)

      Don't forget that every so often some "analyst" will predict that "voice recognition" will replace whatever input method you currently use.

      Still hasn't happened.

      • by arse maker ( 1058608 ) on Sunday July 20, 2008 @08:10PM (#24267235)

        Never will, who wants to talk all day? Though I personally feel like voice recognition will become a supplement. I can imagine saying "close window" etc as being useful. Though, if you aren't alone, you are going to look like you have lost your mind. I also don't want someone walking past being able to tell my computer to trash half my files :)

      • by Kohath ( 38547 ) on Sunday July 20, 2008 @09:53PM (#24268221)

        The profession of "analyst" is set to die out in the next 5 years. The use of analysts to predict the future based on unsupportable extrapolation of early technology trends will start to decline in 2008 and the profession will be totally gone by 2014. These analyst predictions will be replaced with predictions from other sources such as Ouija boards, re-purposed water witches, and randomly clicking on a document with a computer mouse and forming a sentence with the words.

        Of course, the best way to tell the future is to wait until it becomes the present and then watch what happens. News sources once used that method to report news, but it fell out of favor due to narcissism and delusions of grandeur among journalists. Journalists found that the couldn't always control events that happened or the facts reported. Predictions don't have this limitation because the predicted events are fictional at the time the story is written.

    • Re:5 years? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by D'Sphitz ( 699604 ) on Sunday July 20, 2008 @08:18PM (#24267309) Journal
      Yep I agree. I can't imagine sitting here all day with my arms extended pushing on the screen. It may work for ATM's but I can't see anyone who works on a computer all day accepting a touch screen any time soon, or ever.
      • Re:5 years? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Jeff DeMaagd ( 2015 ) on Sunday July 20, 2008 @09:38PM (#24268073) Homepage Journal

        I think the problem is that you're not imagining or remembering much.

        I agree that the mouse isn't going anywhere very quickly, but this sort of example doesn't fly as a reason. I think the main reason that monitors are vertical surfaces is because of the history, CRTs couldn't be put on much of a profile other than vertical just because of their bulk. Flat panel displays are free from this limitation. So really, the input could be on an adjustable slant like an old drafting table. I think 30 degrees from horizontal might be pretty comfortable and ergonomic. I used that kind of drafting table in school, this was just before CAD came in. I recall it being quite comfortable, offering a good arm rest and an expansive working area. I worked on drawings that were about as big as the current 30" monitor. It might even have room for a real keyboard below for heavier typing needs.

        I'm saying that my proposed solution will be accepted beyond a niche use, but I think it is a valid solution to your objection.

  • meh, that just stupid. So I can hold my hand up in the air to get 3-d motion on a 2-d interface? Or rest my hand on the desktop and get 2-d motion in a 2-d interface... hmm, tough choice.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ucblockhead ( 63650 )

      I have a couple games for the Playstation Eye. They show really well why gesture recognition won't replace mice any time soon. Ignoring the fact that gesture recognition has no where near the accuracy, it's just plain tiring to be holding your hands up for more than twenty minutes.

      • by Original Replica ( 908688 ) on Sunday July 20, 2008 @08:46PM (#24267599) Journal
        I agree, gaming is a major driving force in the advancement of PCs from a consumer point of view. It's why graphics cards exist. It's why 30' monitors are cool. It's why CPUs and Ram get upgraded. Touch screen for games would be a disaster for two major reasons: The fact that you have to block your vision to the part of the screen you are interacting with and the way touch screens pull you out of the world of the game. When I play City of Heroes, I pretty quickly stop thinking about my interactions with the computer itself, and just enjoy the game. Watching myself put my hands on the screen would only serve destroy the illusion. That illusion is what makes the games fun. Guitar Hero is fun because the game's input device adds to the illusion.
        Why is a mouse more immersive than a touchscreen? Because once I put my hand on the mouse, my brain mostly overlooks the idea that my hand and the mouse pointer at seperate. The pointer exists there in cyberspace, and my brains uses it to influence the world in cyberspace. I am mostly unaware of my hand physically holding the mouse. With a touchscreen, my meatspace hand is only interacting when I hold it up to the screen, where it blocks my view and reminds my brain of the separation between meatspace and cyberspace.
    • by afidel ( 530433 ) on Sunday July 20, 2008 @08:16PM (#24267293)
      Actually it's Gartner so your best bet is to buy stock in Logitech as it's more likely that there will be a great surge in demand for mice in the next 5 years =)
  • Not by a long shot (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Sunday July 20, 2008 @07:59PM (#24267119) Homepage Journal

    Sure, touch screens have advantages in some areas, but overall they are not a replacement for a mouse.

    Not only that, but 5 years? Thats silly.

  • by phantomlord ( 38815 ) <slashdot@krwt e c h . c om> on Sunday July 20, 2008 @07:59PM (#24267123) Journal
    The last thing I'd want is fingerprints smudged all over my monitor. I'll still with my mouse, thanks.
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Sunday July 20, 2008 @08:01PM (#24267137)

    The advent of the mouse killed the keyboard, too, after all. And the internet made TV obsolete, which killed newspapers a few decades ago.

    Slowly I get really fed up with such predictors. I have a touchscreen. Actually, I'm using it right now as a display for writing this. Do I use it? Usually, no. I use it at certain special occasions, but it certainly does not replace my mouse. Why? Because it's inconvenient! I have to lift my arm, lean to my screen, aim with my finger and ... miss usually my mark.

    And now, try to right-click. Or do a sensible click-drag operation.

    Seriously, does anyone still listen to those modern soothsayers?

  • It won't happen (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ucblockhead ( 63650 ) on Sunday July 20, 2008 @08:02PM (#24267143) Homepage Journal

    Touchcreens just aren't accurate enough for real computers. They are used for things like phones because there's no convenient way to put a mouse on a phone.

  • by Carcass666 ( 539381 ) on Sunday July 20, 2008 @08:02PM (#24267145)

    So, to increase accuracy, I'm supposed to slap at the screen with my pizza-slopped fingers? Facial recognition? Maybe banging my head on my desk will act as a signal to restart Windows yet again.

    Somebody who has some obscure input device, which will "kill the mouse", probably paid Gartner to conduct yet another bogus study that seeks to convince people what technology to use as opposed to demonstrate what they are actually using.

    • by jesterzog ( 189797 ) on Sunday July 20, 2008 @09:41PM (#24268113) Homepage Journal

      So, to increase accuracy, I'm supposed to slap at the screen with my pizza-slopped fingers? Facial recognition? Maybe banging my head on my desk will act as a signal to restart Windows yet again.

      I don't have much respect for Gartner and the technology would have to improve a lot for me to believe this, but I wouldn't rule it out in the long term. Maybe 20-30 years at a guess and even then, I'm not sure if a mouse would go away entirely or if it'll be a touch screen that replaces it. If fingerprints are a problem, you'd expect manufacturers to redesign touch-screens so they're less of a problem, or more durable and easily cleaned. If resolution and accuracy is an issue now (which I think it is), it'll probably improve over the next few years. Just because today's monitors are a bit sensitive to cleaning products doesn't mean tomorrow's have to be.

      But realistically, the concept of actually having an explicit device (a "computer", PC, laptop, tablet, whatever) which you use to do a million things, or carry around with you everywhere, could easily become quite dated. The concept of "logging in" (as we know it) might also become dated for most things.

      What's to say that the concept of a single device won't be replaced by a concept of lots of much more flexible devices which are more ubiquitous, and why should I need to go out of my way to tell each of these devices who I am? Why shouldn't people just be walking up to a wall or a desk or a refrigerator or scribbling on paper or whatever and interacting with it ubiquitously, without having to think deeply about the digital side of what they're doing? Why would I need to sit down at my PC and add up my finances every few days if my wallet automatically and accurately kept track of it for me?

      If you have enough of this kind of environment, the need for dedicated consoles and the bits that go with them evaporates. In these cases, a mouse is a bit redundant because by assuming the use of a mouse you're trying to force the ideal method of interaction for one device onto a whole lot of other devices, each of which is different. That's when I personally think the mouse will disappear.

  • Sure it will (Score:4, Interesting)

    by brunes69 ( 86786 ) <slashdot&keirstead,org> on Sunday July 20, 2008 @08:03PM (#24267163) Homepage

    I wonder if the author has ever tried to stand upright and move a Wiimote around for 8 hours a day 5 days a week.

    No? Can't handle it? Didn't think so.

    Motion input is cool for things like games but it will never replace the mouse because humans simply are not designed to hold their arms out in front of their bodies for long periods of time.

  • by tftp ( 111690 ) on Sunday July 20, 2008 @08:09PM (#24267227) Homepage

    will be usurped by touch screens and facial recognition

    I guess the guy never used touch screens, that's why he is so sure. And nobody "used" facial recognition so far, that makes it even a better idea...

    The most basic issue here is the interface. People don't write with facial contortions. We write with our hands. Why? Because our hands are the most precise tools that we have, and they are well built for the task.

    However our hands (and arms) are not good for holding them, for hours, in front of a vertical surface of a screen. Many screens are positioned so that the "touch" interface is therefore impossible. Besides, there isn't enough precision in our fingers even if we wear claw-like stylus. Mouse can be, and often is configured to translate larger movement of the sensor into a very precise, sub-millimeter movement of the cursor. This is necessary in most applications, selecting from a menu being an example. Touch screens do not allow this "magnification" of the movement, as well as any non-linear response (that is also common.)

    The input devices will likely change over time, but unless our bodies change also the mouse or a touchpad interface will remain useful for a long time, just like a keyboard. I personally believe that we will have direct brain control over the mouse and keyboard functions earlier than we will be able to replace the mouse with a better mouse - it's a simpler task. It's also probably possible to design a crude AI that is just enough to decode speech; but the speech interface is not very efficient either - try to talk for an hour and see what happens to your throat.

    All these predictions are just noise made by people who want to attract undeserved attention. There is nothing wrong with a mouse as it is now, and there should be no rush to replace it with something that is not tested and by all reasoning can't even work. The mouse works, we test it for decades by now.

  • Touch is not a good choice for a desktop device because you must take your hands away from the keyboard, wave them in front of a monitor, get fingerprints all over it, and make your arms tired. It's poor ergonomically for this sort of device. Do you want to hunch over a display and stare down at it so that you can use your desktop or laptop? Touch screens are also costly.

    Mice are not a good choice for a handheld like the iPhone because of size and the need for a hard surface. Touch is a good choice for

  • Wrong wrong wrong. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MBCook ( 132727 ) <> on Sunday July 20, 2008 @08:11PM (#24267247) Homepage

    This is, as always, wrong. Analysts never get this stuff right. The iPhone has shown the ability of a touchscreen with multi-touch to have a great interface. Notice that the iPhone was never a device with a mouse. Phone don't have mice (except for trackballs on some blackberries).

    I'd love some of that multi-touch goodness in OS X. Let my trackpad start doing it. But let's get real here. We need mice.

    All our interfaces are designed around them and keyboards. They are cheap (under $5 for a simple optical). They are precise. They are familiar. They need very little physical movement (just tiny wrist movements). A tablet gives you the precision a mouse does. I'd say they are far more likely to take over than generic touchscreen. Perhaps combos like Wacom Centiqs.

    I'm w aiting for the FPS that figures out a way to use touchscreens for precision aiming.

    The Wii has shown us some great things, but that's for games. How many people do you think want to waggle their way through creating powerpoint presentations?

    I've got a Wii. What do some the best control schemes often use it for? That's right... a mouse! LostWinds (just finished, great game) uses it as a pointing device. Metroid Prime 3 uses it for aiming much like a mouse. Zack & Wiki (when not performing motions) uses it like a mouse. Every menu in every game uses it like a mouse. The console's own menu uses it like a mouse. And when Pikmin 3 comes out I'm willing to bet a fair bit of money that it will use the control mostly as... a mouse.

    The mouse is just about the perfect 2D interface. There is probably a reason we've been using them for over 25 years (it's been about that long since the Macintosh came out, and I'm well aware they were available before that). When we get a real 3D interface (like some kind of hologram projecting surface/table) then we may need a new input device some of the time, but for now, the mouse will be around for a very long while.

  • A touchscreen requires greater arm movements than a mouse, and there's no place to rest your hand while interacting with the screen. A facial interface requires either the use of a button (like a mouse that doesn't move), or the use of awkward facial expressions to indicate actions.

    Thank you all the same, but I'd rather use a mouse.

  • So you are going to control your mouse pointer all day by keeping your arm in the air with your finger touching your screen? I think not.
  • by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Sunday July 20, 2008 @08:18PM (#24267315) Homepage Journal

    Facial recognition doesn't even work at all, even on specialized HW, SW, and selected test subjects. In 5 years, maybe it might work occasionally. Not replace the mouse. Nor will any of those other brand new special skills input devices. Hell, the majority of PCs even now are probably about 5 years old, and we're about to plunge into a "recession" that won't even have the vast debt to prop it up that the past decade had.

    Gartner has always been nothing but a PR mill to market "mindshare" of directions in computer industry trends. I've never read a Gartner report or employee (or "Fellow", which must really take bribing) that was anything other than "Big Computer Corp X wishes this report would come true".

    Think about the gaming magazine "reporting" you read, and how it's all PR. Big computer corps, like Apple, Microsoft, Dell - and probably Sony, Nintendo etc, all trying to become "computer" corps or their synthesis - have even more money to buy reporting. And Gartner isn't even saying it's "journalism". It's like those 1990s Internet Bubble stockbrokers' in-house "analysts", whose reports always said that whatever stocks the brokerage was vested in would go nowhere but up. In fact, those fake analysts are still doing the same thing, and the market is still a wasteland because of it. Gartner has even less accountability, and even less of a track record of guessing right, rather than wishing hard.

    I bet Gartner predicted in 1999 that by 2008 we'd all have Aeron chairs and foosball tables.

  • by ivan_w ( 1115485 ) on Sunday July 20, 2008 @08:24PM (#24267367) Homepage

    Must be the same guy that predicted that keyboards would go away, replaced by voice interface.. (although he seems to have finally parted out with this one !)

    So the guy is basically envisioning that people are going to go for something like what you can see in the 'Minority Report' flick right ?

    Try holding you hands high in the air for 8 hours in a row while not eating or drinking, not speaking to anybody on the phone or in the office or your dear kin.

    The guy is basically forgetting one of the main reason the mouse is here (and here to stay too) : it allows multitasking, with your hand comfortably resting on the table (ok.. leading to CTS, but that's another story).. You can work, or have fun while you also interact with the world..

    The scroll button on the mouse is also here to stay !

    Wii type motion sensor controllers are too tiring and too demanding, touchscreen requires to have you hands up in the air and to be within a few inches of the screen, and facial recognition requires you to focus entirely on the task at hand..

    Tss tss.. I wish I was paid to be an 'analyst' to make phony predictions like this guy..


  • by holophrastic ( 221104 ) on Sunday July 20, 2008 @08:29PM (#24267427)

    how many people click the "bold" toolbar button when typing something? Keyboard shortcuts beat the mouse in speed, efficiency, and accuracy. They simply require experts (as in an expert system) to use. You've got to know that they exist. BUt could you imagine typing 60 words per minute, and then taking ten seconds to make a few words bold?

    Touch screen accuracy is terrible. And it's got nothing to do with the technology. My finger is larger than one pixel. Oh, and my arm blocks my view of the rest of the screen.

    You know, this is the same garbage that minority report showcased. Of course it's really cool to do video editting with your arms. Ever gone to the gym and taken boxing as a fitness effort? The most difficult part of boxing is not getting punched in the face -- that's pretty easy. The most difficult part about boxing is holding your hands up for an hour.

    I manufacture kiosks and develope kiosk solutions. The only reason that kiosks are touch-screen is because 90% of the public using them don't know how to use a mouse with any sort of speed -- and we're selling tickets on these kiosks to thousands of people each day. Speed matters. And when it comes to accuracy, each on-screen button is is a minimum of one two inches wide by a minimum of one inch tall, with a minimum of one centimetre of space around the button.

    All of these great input interface devices are incredibly snazzy, and excellent for particular things. But they are never better than the simpler interfaces for simpler things. A button is a perfect input device -- it's discrete. You know what to do with it, it doesn't require you to look at it, you know when you've pushed it. That's why keyboards benefit from feedback, travel, and texture. That's why there's a little bump on the "5" keypad key, the "5" on my mobile phone pad too, and the "2" and "4" on my car stereo -- I don't have to look at any of them. I can drive, and dial the phone without taking my eyes off of the road.

    You can't do any of that with a mouse. It's completely useless without looking at the screen. Could you imagine typing on a touch-screen-type keyboard? No travel, no feedback, no texture, no way to know if you've hit the key at all, let alone the correct one.

    In our kiosk manufacturing, touch-screens have another benefit. You can say things like "press here" or "touch here" and people do. It's amazing how many directions are required to teach the public to use something that you think is easily used -- like swiping a credit card. Photographs, animations, the works, and still people swipe their card into the seam of the lcd bezel -- or try to cram it into the animation on the screen. And now some people expect us to use multi-touch screens -- good luck teaching the general public to perform gestures to buy their show tickets.

    Oh, by the way, finger prints -- I hope you aren't using your screen for anything important.

    Telepathy is the same game. Neural interfaces sound like they're so easy to use. Think about clicking the button, and you'll click the button. "hey, I think all the time, thinking is easy". Sure, you think all the time. But how many times do you think about only one thing? That takes incredibly focus. I don't want to have to meditate for every click, thanks.

    Currently, my body has a huge filter. No matter how much I think, my finger only moves when I move my finger. So I can think about pressing button, I can remember pressing it last time, I can think about not pressing the button, and can think that the button is an ugly colour, and stil I haven't pressed it.

    The trouble with a bad neural interface is that you need to meditate for every action. The problem with a good neural interface is that it has no idea as to the degree of your intention -- positive nor negative.

    So, much like the mouse, a neural interface is great as an analogue input device, and horrible as a discrete one. Think about a simple 2D graphics app -- photo shop, for example. "draw a line" is easy wi

  • by LM741N ( 258038 ) on Sunday July 20, 2008 @08:31PM (#24267447)

    knob many years ago- recently listed as one of the top ten inventions of the 20th century I would think the mouse ranks up pretty high on the list as well. I don't think its going away very soon. In the case of the knob, modern equipment that uses computer menus and such for the same function has been judged by many people to be unwieldy and doesn't easily provide feedback to the user in real time.

  • by transiit ( 33489 ) on Sunday July 20, 2008 @09:07PM (#24267763) Homepage Journal
    Ok, maybe it's just me, but when I see accomplishments such as "Gartner Fellow" bandied about, I tend to think "Mindless Drivel"

    I skimmed the article. I may have missed a clause where the entire interview was taken downwind of a chemical plant. However...

    Citing the announced Wii Motionplus dongle? Really? We were all ignoring things like the gyromouse and other presentation devices/gimmicks for years because all us desk slaves just didn't have the accuracy we would need that a couple extra accelerometers would afford us?

    Facial recognition? That deserves a big "whiskey tango foxtrot", as the only thing I've heard of that is for authentication (granted, it tends to get foiled by showing the camera a picture, but that's a different argument) This is a replacement for the mouse, how?

    Touchscreens..because pen computing begat tablet computing begat whatever this new thing is. Did someone fix the problem of gorilla arm [] and forget to inform the rest of the world?
  • Fucking Gartner (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SatanicPuppy ( 611928 ) * <.Satanicpuppy. .at.> on Sunday July 20, 2008 @09:29PM (#24267995) Journal

    Gartner...Is there anything they can't get wrong?

    The mouse very well may die as an input device, but it won't be to a touch screen...Imagine websurfing where you have to use both hands. Imagine the likelihood of everyone in the world moving to something that is basically a niche interface that will require either a tablet-style pc or a wireless flatscreen or something...

    Now imagine a bunch of people sitting around with bigger better monitors and more reliable cordless mice. That is a 5 year prediction.

  • by Aqua OS X ( 458522 ) on Sunday July 20, 2008 @09:30PM (#24268007)

    As an interaction designer who has designed interfaces for touchscreens, multipoint touchscreens, mice, props and various other peripherals, I simply don't see how this is going to happen in 5 years. Hell, I doubt it will happen at all.

    First and foremost, it's not like a touchscreen is inherently better then a mouse. Each input devise has it's own strengths.

    Moreover, abandoning the mouse is not going to be an easy thing to do. Aside from the fact that we really need completely retooled OS interfaces, we would need to invest in need completely retooled third party software. Then we would run into ergonomic issues surrounding the neck and or touch screen "gorilla arm."

    IMHO, the mouse is a brilliant little input devise. It's no longer the new kid on the block,but that doesn't mean it is a solution that has been surpassed.

  • Obviously... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Samah ( 729132 ) on Sunday July 20, 2008 @09:59PM (#24268281)
    ...these analysts don't play First-Person Shooters. Excuse me while I spin 180 degrees with my finger on a touch screen and say "fire" only to have my computer automatically dial emergency services.

    Touch screens are for portable devices and environments where the use of a mouse is not practicable.
    Motion sensing is for gimmicky toys (see: Wii) and high tech applications where a human touch is appropriate.
    Voice recognition is for dictation.

    The mouse will never truly die, get over it.

    Disclaimer: I'm sure there are other uses than what I've outlined, but it's unlikely they'll be widespread consumer products.
  • by LynnwoodRooster ( 966895 ) on Sunday July 20, 2008 @10:06PM (#24268341) Journal
    Quite obvious the author has zero CAD experience. Try doing a 2D or 3D drawing without a mouse (where you use the wheel to zoom in and out) and you'll find the definition of aggravation.
  • by lolwhat ( 1282234 ) on Sunday July 20, 2008 @10:07PM (#24268351)
    I have seen the ad for that one touchscreen computer recently released and if I had to reach my arm out for an hour... Even if you use it like a tablet it still can't beat a trackball for minimal amount of movement. And you still have to have a keyboard anyway. At least if you want to type FAST.
  • Never... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mario_grgic ( 515333 ) on Sunday July 20, 2008 @10:12PM (#24268397)

    I don't want my screen to look like oil slick. Also, it's much easier to click on a very small area (think small icons in an IDE on high res screen) with a mouse than it is to touch it on screen (finger surface area is much larger than tip of mouse pointer).

    Did you ever notice how enormous the letters and icons are on touch screens in grocery stores? I prefer to use my screen real estate better.

    Facial recognition won't work either. When I program I don't want to have to make expressions and grimaces to make an UI gesture.

    I think the keyboard works the best and will always work the best.

  • by greetings programs ( 964239 ) on Sunday July 20, 2008 @10:42PM (#24268621)
    Optical mouse = 10 bucks. Facial recognition + touchscreens = many thousand dollars. So it's one of two options 1)These guys are on crack or 2) it's a buzz campaign for some upcoming gizmo that will be purported as a better input device. Nothing to see here, move on.
  • by east coast ( 590680 ) on Monday July 21, 2008 @12:56AM (#24269661)
    Why is it that every fourth article around here has to proclaim the death of some technology in the next few years? When are we going to get over this stage of thinking? I have been hearing about the demise of Windows, floppies, ICEs, broadcast radio, light bulbs and just about every other technology that has been in the mainstream for more than 6 months for years around here. It never seems to happen.

    Infact, I know of more working dot matrix printers at my place of employment than articles that have correctly predicted the death of technology!
  • by Anita Coney ( 648748 ) on Monday July 21, 2008 @09:07AM (#24272533) Homepage

    Idiot: "The computer mouse will be extinct with a few years."

    Computer user: "But the mouse is ubiquitous, it very easy to use, is cheap, and it simply works.

    Idiot: "You'll use touch screens."

    Computer user: "My new monitor does not act as a touch screen."

    Idiot: "Well, the monitor as you know it will also become extinct."

    Computer user: "Fine, let's say I choose to replace my 20 dollar mouse with a 300 dollar touch screen monitor, but why would I want to constantly reach up and touch the screen when I can simply use my mouse to control the cursor while comfortably resting my hand on the desk?"

    Idiot: "You don't understand, there will be a whole new paradigm for monitors. They'll be built into surfaces like the top of desks."

    Computer user: "So what you're saying is that the computer desk, as we know it, will also become extinct?"

    Idiot: "Oh certainly, you're catching on."

    Computer User: "Let me get this straight, you want me to replace my current monitor and my computer desk, for a desk with a built-in monitor, probably costing about one grand, which will need to be replaced about every four years, the average life span for a monitor, because for some bizarre reason you think my 20 dollar mouse is too hard to use?"

    Idiot: "Yeah, isn't this exciting?!"

    Computer user: Sound of gun being loaded, sound of gun fire, sound of idiot dropping dead. End scene.

The wages of sin are high but you get your money's worth.