Windows

Does Kinect for Windows SDK sound the death knell for the mouse

Microsoft has released the Kinect for Windows SDK opening up the potential for innovation in how we interface with our computers. Is this a good thing?

Something very interesting happened at Microsoft on June 16, 2011 - the company released the Kinect for Windows SDK. Using this software development kit, programmers can create applications and interfaces that take advantage of the Kinect's motion tracking systems.

There seems to be a perfect storm brewing when it comes to innovative ways to interact with our ever-increasing digital world. Whether it is the Microsoft Touch Mouse Greg Shultz blogged about, or the Metro Interface coming with Windows 8, or the already well-established touch and gesture interface of the Apple iPad, there is a definite trend toward interface alternatives other than the traditional keyboard and mouse.

But where are these interface changes leading us? Is this the beginning of the end for the mouse? Is it the end of the keyboard? I remain intrigued but unconvinced that most of these innovations are more than mere fads and passing fancy, but I am willing to bide my time until these concepts are proven one way or another. How about you?

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About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

19 comments
dan man
dan man

why cant they just keep things simple! i bet with all the advances alot of problems are sure to come out of it...

lshanahan
lshanahan

Kinect requires that you stand anywhere from 6- 8 feet away from the unit. Not terribly practical, especially in a workplace environment.

mofo80503
mofo80503

might be fine if it works. I don't know and haven't tried. I can't see it in the workplace no matter how well it works though. The privacy issues alone would stop it. and then, in a meeting, where lots of notes need to be taken, it could be disastrous. I CAN see, some kind of flat device that could substitute for a keyboard and mouse pretty easily. Something thinner than cardboard which can attach to whatever computing device you happen to be using without taking up additional space. It would work similar to a touch screen but lay flat on the desk. I just don't see voice recognition going anywhere but in the house controlling your TV or whatever.

mofo80503
mofo80503

... and then I read the article by Greg Shultz. The Touch Mouse should just lay flat though and it should just fit in a sleeve on the outside of your tablet, laptop or whatever.

rob
rob like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

IMO efficient speech recognition software would be more popular than any other. slow typists like me and stroke victims, like me, and many others would find a good program more useful than almost anything else for most tasks. I use IBM ViaVoice10 [it's ancient and discontinued I believe. Why?] I haven't found anything newer, speaking via a cassette recorder's mic and a laptop and I'm beginning to get quite quick on longer docs... But it's ages old and is limited to text input. Now, if I could control my printer, and browser, and photo programs, and music, and dvd playback by voice instead of mouse and/or keyboard, then i'd have something REALLY useful and a remote control capability thrown in!

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer like.author.displayName 1 Like

You mean, outside of recreation and a couple of very limited workplaces? The heck they didn't. The calculator killed slide rules. The VCR rose and fell in less than two decades.

keh1044
keh1044 like.author.displayName 1 Like

When automobiles were invented, people didn't stop using horses. A forward step in technology doesn't necessarily send the present systems into obsolescence. Some day we will interface with all technology in a way that we can only now imagine, but we aren't quite ready yet. This will be a step along the path. Scary? Yes, but every new step into the future holds a little fright. The future, as the world, is what we make it. Maybe we can make it the stuff of our dreams, and not our nightmares.

dogknees
dogknees

That is exactly what the premise of this article is. Read the title blurb.

dogknees
dogknees like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

It seems that people are incapable of understanding that there could be more than one interface device in our future. Every second article is along the lines of "blahblah is coming, is this the end for blah?". How about the idea that both will continue to be used as the task requires? That neither will replace the other. That one new product doesn't mean the end of others. Come on people!

techrepublic
techrepublic

They didn't when users wanted to keep the function keys on the left side of the keyboard. They didn't when they changed the user interface for Office 2007.

techrepublic
techrepublic

1. In the case of keyboards, I assume it would have to be the keyboard manufacturers. 2. In the case of Office 2007, who else but Microsoft?

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

Keyboards aren't going anywhere anytime soon. They're still the fastest, most accurate way to enter characters. Voice recognition isn't ready to step outside its limited niche yet, and probably won't be this decade. Even if it is, I'm betting most people who enter numeric data can do so faster with a keypad than they can by reading the numbers out loud. One of the advantages of a mouse is it doesn't require extensive physical motion. It only requires three dozen or so square inches, is accurate enough for most daily purposes, is cheap to replace, and doesn't require an unblocked line of sight like a camera does. That said, I can foresee alternative cursor control devices rivaling it before I see the keyboard disappearing.

atimins
atimins

As for voice, think of all the computerized automatons used for phone menus. It takes forever to use them, and half the time you have to repeat info like your phone number. I almost always just end up screaming "CUSTOMER SERVICE" trying to get a real person on the line! Echoing others comments hear, fingerprints all over my screen would drive me crazy. I cant even drive with a dirty windshield they make me soooo nutz. And, if you think about it, you spend far more time looking at PC screens than windshields. Might be a bad analogy...I'm just saying.

Spitfire_Sysop
Spitfire_Sysop like.author.displayName 1 Like

a webcam that automatically pans around the room to follow you and can tell the difference between you and the person sitting next to you is creepy.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Where are these interface changes leading us? Is this the beginning of the end for the mouse? Is it the end of the keyboard?

Realvdude
Realvdude

.. in reference to a a classic scifi movie scene showing interaction with a computer?

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