My husband sent me video of the “10/Gui” multi-touch mouse replacement.
Yay — put the touch interface physically on the user’s desk instead of in the screen. The first thing that came to mind watching the video is “nice”, but show me how you type accurately at keyboard speed. And with that I’m at “meh.” Also introduced in the video is the idea of a linear windows management system. I immediately blanched on this idea. I’ve never encountered the problem this guy described. My windows always pop up where they were last opened or closed and I like having layers of different windows from which little pieces peek out so I can see what I’ve got open. I also like arranging my PC desktop how I like — but then again I’m sitting in front of two very large flat panels, multi-tasking away as I translate and monitor my e-mail/RSS Feeds …
This is not to say the concept is bad. It’s just that having a huge touchpad below a traditional keyboard causes ergonomic issues of it’s own. Basically, a keyboard and mouse are placed at the same distance in front of the user so the user is in a neutral position regardless of which device he or she is using. Along this line I see a five-fingered multi-touch mouse or an integrated keyboard/touch interface device instead. I’ve seen the a keyboard/touch device on a PS3 where the keys on the keyboard can be used as the touch interface. As for a flat touch keyboard, that allows for all kinds of modifications and customization based on application by pairing it with a screen underneath the surface. People could create their own interfaces with a few “primitives,” which could have great possibilities for gaming, image editing, music making, and things like Bloomberg. Manufacturers could make one keyboard for all languages. In combination with haptics (or the likes), keyboard-like feedback could be provided, thereby creating a very familiar experience.
Personally, though, I’m very happy with the mouse. A lot can be done with very little movement, plus mice are quite inexpensive and space friendly.