Bruce “Tog” Tognazzini predicts the death of the mouse in a recent Financial Times article. The replacement? Why our fingers of course.
“In many ways, our continued reliance on the computer mouse reduces us to little more than cavemen, running around pointing at symbols and ‘grunting’ with each click,” he says. “A revolution is long overdue, because we need more sophisticated tools that will allow us to increase our vocabulary way beyond that caveman grunt.” Plus, the link between the computer mouse and cases of repetitive strain injury (RSI) are hardly an argument in its favour, he adds.
Luckily, he says, those “more sophisticated” tools are right in front of our faces and we already know how to use them. They are, in fact, our fingers.
“Look at the facts: we’ve typically got 10 of these ‘tools’; they move in a multitude of different ways; and gestural language, which came long before verbal language, is an established and intuitive form of self-expression. Even primates can be trained to express needs and intentions using their fingers,” he points out.
I make a similar claim in the last chapter of the book in the section “Supplanting the Desktop Metaphor?”:
The most vulnerable part of our existing PC setup is the mouse: the mouse could be replaced (and on many laptops has already been replaced) by touchpads or gestural means of controlling the cursor and other onscreen objects.
Only time will tell, of course.