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Keyboards And Mice: Will Your Children And Grand Children Know What They Are?

779 words - 4 pages

Ever since the first personal computer the keyboard has been the main method of entering data into a computer, however the idea had existed long before then with the typewriter. The basic idea is having a series of buttons representing all the characters in our written alphabet as a method of transferring our ideas to paper or electronic documents. This has remained the main method of transferring data for at least a century, from the stock ticker machines[1] and telegraphs of the late 19th century to current laptops, it has been the most reliable and efficient method we've had. The mouse, on the other hand, has only been around since around 1963[2], making it the newer of the two. Both, however, have become synonymous with entering things on a computer, allowing the average user to have easy access.

I believe that this input method is here to stay, as it is intuitive, easy to learn and allows for a lot of control over the system. There are, however, challengers. For example, touch screen is now preferred as an input method and is expected to take over the standard inputs by youth of ages 18 - 34[3]. Touch screen is profusely popular in devices such as mobile phones, this is probably due to the size of the device and the need for portability. This makes touchscreen ideal for such devices, allowing for easy use of menu based interfaces. It is this use of menu based interface which, I believe, would prevent touch screen input being successful on desktop PCs. The menu driven interface takes a degree of control and configurability away from the user, guiding them through a limited amount of options. A keyboard and mouse allows for WIMP(Windows, Icons, Menus and Pointers) to be used, giving the user and almost limitless amount of choice on what to do.

Another method of control could be gestures, as seen with the Xbox’s Kinect already being used to play games and control robots. This, however, could in future make further developments, making full 3d environments which the user can naturally interact with. This idea is discussed in Rober J. K. Jacob’s paper, “The Future of Input Devices”, saying “users interact with a virtual reality in more natural and expressive ways--moving their heads, hands, or feet. Future input mechanisms may continue this trend toward naturalness...

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