This video is from last week's Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in San Francisco. The person talking is Eric Horvitz from Microsoft Research, and the demo is pretty impressive, especially since it is conducted on average desk surfaces and the data is manipulated very quickly and fluidly. Horvitz said that this technology could be available in the average office within 5-8 years.
Will this eventually make the mouse obsolete? If it were combined with voice-recognition, could we potentially see a full system without a mouse and keyboard within a decade? I can't see a standard office going without keyboards anytime soon. Can you imagine the noise level if you had a whole floor of people in cubicles talking out loud to their computers? Everyone would need to have a private office in order to make that work.
However, in terms of replacing the mouse, this touch UI could be a big step forward, especially if the touch technology was combined with the forthcoming low-cost, ultra-thin OLED monitors to provide wide-view displays that can be easily manipulated with intuitive touch commands. What do you think? Is this the future? Join the discussion.
Jason Hiner is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He writes about the people, products, and ideas changing how we live and work in the 21st century. He's co-author of the book, Follow the Geeks.