Analyst Steven Prentice at the firm Gartner is being reported by the BBC as predicting that the humble mouse will see its demise within the next five years. Prentice cites the development of new peripherals and input methods, which are replacing traditional methods of interacting with computer devices.
Explaining these assertions Prentice cited such devices such as OCZ's Neural Impulse Actuator (NIA), and cameras with built-in face recognition.
"You've got Panasonic showing forward facing video in the home entertainment environment. Instead of using a conventional remote control you hold up your hand and it recognises you have done that. It also recognises your face and that you are you and it will display on your TV screen your menu. You can move your hand to move around and select what you want.
Sony and Canon and other video and photographic manufacturers are using face recognition that recognises your face in real time. And it recognises even when you smile.
You even have emotive systems where you can wear a headset and control a computer by simply thinking and that's a device set to hit the market in September. This is all about using computer power to do things smarter."
The latter reference is to OCZ's (NIA), which monitors brain waves and uses actions such as blinking to substitute for mouse clicks and keyboard presses. However, the NIA still requires the use of a keyboard and mouse, not to mention a considerable amount of practice and a fairly large financial outlay for an arguably small benefit. In my opinion, at least, it's going to be a lot more than five years before the technology is ready for mainstream adoption, although I can't deny the massive potential.
Peripheral manufacturers don't see the mouse losing its value in the near future either. Logitech's Senior Vice President, Rory Dooley, commented that "the death of the mouse is greatly exaggerated. The devices we use have been modified for our changing lifestyles but it doesn't negate the value of the mouse."
Frankly, I have to agree. Whatever Gartner wants to assert, I can't see the mouse going anywhere anytime soon.