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A Keyboardless Future

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Rix, Dec 19, 2009.

  1. Rix

    Thread Starter

    Over the past decade there has been almost no innovation in the way we interact with our computers. We're still stuck using keyboards and mice. No one seems to have questioned this approach. Well, let me be the first!

    Keyboards and mice are a barrier that stop us experiencing the full joys of a computer. They're very awkward ways to give the computer information. It also takes time to learn to use a keyboard effectively. Using keyboards are often slow. Mice are not terrible but there exists a solution much better than them. Keyboards can be eradicated too. How? Let me share a vision wish you.

    The year is 2020 and the desktop computer has almost gone extinct due to the success of the laptop. These laptops have no keyboard. Instead, they have a screen where the keyboard is - yes that's right, two screens and they're both touchscreen. There are tiny ultra high definition and high frame rate webcams built into all these laptops. Windows has integrated speech recognition technology which not only listens to your voice, but watches your face and lips. This allows not only a higher accuracy, but also it will now know when you are talking to the computer or something else (if you are facing a friend and talking it will ignore you). The speech recognition technology is far more accurate than any human, it virtually never makes errors. Nobody is missing the touchpad/mouse either, because there exists a much superior technology. The webcam allows windows to watch the position of your eyes. From this, it calculates the exact point on the screen you're looking at and places the cursor there. The cursor instantly goes to wherever you look. Also, there's no mouse cursor drawn on the screen, there's no need. To click you can do one of three things: say a voice command, touch the lower touchscreen in a certain location, or make a gesture with your hands (such as pinching your index and thumb together). If you never need a keyboard you can summon it with ease (by saying "KEYBOARD NOW!!") and you can touch the screen to pinch zoom and whatnot.

    What do you think of this future? Would you embrace it or hate it?

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  2. ari-free

    ari-free Android Expert

    real keyboards will always be faster. You can't out-tech your way around ergonomics.
  3. Rix

    Thread Starter

    That's not true. Even for the most prolific typist, speaking is much faster (and much easier) than typing. The only problem is the accuracy of computers. But it is inevitable that one day computers will be more accurate at converting sounds to words than humans.
  4. Jim W

    Jim W Well-Known Member

    Saying keyboards and mice are stopping us from enjoying the full experience of a computer is a bit over the top, but maybe you are saying that for effect and to get this topic off and rolling.

    Replacing a key board with a touch screen keyboard, is still a keyboard, just different technology.

    As for voice input, my wife will be thrilled when I am on the computer at 2am and I need to speak to it. :p

    While I am sure there will be and is currently a place for most of what you said, I can not see the ole keyboard/mouse going away completely.

    Your post reminds of the old car books I used to read from the 60's and they had pics of cars from the future and they all flew. :p
  5. Rix

    Thread Starter

    In 2020 you will laugh when you see images of laptops and desktops with keyboards. They will look like antiques to you, and you won't believe that you put up with using them.

    The keyboard will only appear when you want it to be there. If you need to use the laptop in silence then yes, it would be a wise decision to use the virtual keyboard. Keep in mind that keyboards today are definitely not silent - your wife wouldn't be impressed by you tapping away at 2am. Virtual keyboards are much quieter.

    They will disappear eventually. I would be sad if I was unable to imagine a world not plagued by keyboards and mice.

    Computer technology is advancing at an incredibly fast rate. Car technology, at a comparison, doesn't look like its progressing at all. Transistor density alone is doubling every 2 years. That means in 10 years, density will be approximately 32 times as high.
  6. MisterB

    MisterB Well-Known Member

    I can see something like this working great for someone who is disabled, but I'll be damned if I'm going to let everybody within hearing distance know what I'm dictating to someone in an email, etc. Just look at how texting has caught on. This is a much less efficient way of communication in many ways to the old fashioned way of picking up the phone and calling someone. One reason it has caught on, is that people can say something to someone without being heard. There are many instances where this is ideal.

    This reminds me of the movies in the 80's that depicted everyone in the future calling each other over video conferencing every time they placed a call. We definitely have the technology, and it is used quite a bit, but it still has not become the main way of communicating via phone. Who the hell wants to worry about combing their hair and throwing on something presentable every time the phone rings?
  7. vonfeldt7

    vonfeldt7 Well-Known Member

    I think that you have a few valid points, but at the same time there are several flaws. Things will definitely be different in 2020, though at this point I'm not exactly sure in what way(s).

    What happens to the eye tracking if someone has glasses? What if the room is dark? What happens to the voice recognition with people who can't speak and/or have raspy voices? Those are just a few examples... not to say that current tech. doesn't have it's problems either.

    I think the thing you're missing is HOW we will get there. It's easy to say "Voice recognition will be far more accurate" but much harder to actually make it happen. You could say the same about cars - "In the future, cars will get 234323 X 10^3 miles per gallon!" But have no idea how it will happen.

    Just a few thoughts, not necessarily saying that you're wrong.
  8. misterSelf

    misterSelf Lurker

    Minority Report gives us a good glimpse at what the future of keyboards and/or computers might look like. If you haven't seen the film, watch it and you'll know what I'm talking about.
  9. IOWA

    IOWA Mr. Logic Pants

    Until computers become thought controlled, keyboards aren't going away. It's the same reason we like qwertys on our phones vs digiboards. Real buttons are just easier to use.
  10. AndroidSPCS

    AndroidSPCS Android Expert

    Ridiculous to pronounce keyboards / mice extinct. No way that'll happen in the next 10-20 years.
  11. miamicanes

    miamicanes Newbie

    They'll get my buckling-spring keyboard when they pry it away from my cold, dead hands.


    Ever notice the only people who seem to always predict the death of keyboards are people who can't type 110+wpm on a good keyboard? Or at least, people who've never known the joy of typing on a real buckling-spring keyboard, and have never known anything besides the misery of a mushy abomination from Dell, HP, or (worst, and most inexcusably of all considering their prices) Apple?

    Seriously. If you've never used one, and don't want to spend $100 for a brand new one with Trackpoint and USB from Unicomp(*), spend $5 on a 25 year old PS/2 keyboard at a flea market, clean it up, and connect it through a ps/2 to usb adapter. Your fingers will thank you, and your typing speed will probably double within a month.

    IBM's classic keyboards didn't go away because newer keyboards are better... they went away because manufacturers couldn't justify shipping $100 keyboards with $299 computers. They literally represent the high point of keyboard design, before value-engineering became the dominant motive. They have just enough resistance to rest your hands on the keys, but not so much that they're hard to press. The little snap they give lets you confidently type at full speed, without having to watch the screen to make sure the letter you meant to type actually got typed once, instead of twice or not at all.

    (*)For anyone who's wondering, Unicomp (pckeyboard.com) was started by former Lexmark employees who bought the rights, inventory, and equipment from Lexmark after IBM decided to use cheaper keyboards going forward. They've tweaked the design over the years, adding Windows-keys & USB, but the keys themselves are pretty much straight from the original design. Oh, and for $10, Mac owners can get replacement keycaps with "Command" and "Options" to use instead of the Windows keys. I believe they also sell "Tux" keycaps. ;-)
  12. trekgraham

    trekgraham Member

    Softkeyboards have a long way to go, they have gotten a lot better but not ready to completely eliminate a regular keyboard. Now I think, something more like a tablet pc then laptops being the standard. There's my $0.02
  13. sensesfail99

    sensesfail99 Android Enthusiast

    isnt 2010 the future? arent we suppose to have flying cars now? and hovering skateboards?
  14. pyehac

    pyehac Newbie

    I rather type with my entire hand (even on my small netbook) than my thumbs (mytouch, ipod touch).

    Now, if they combine a touchscreen on a netbook with no trackpad, now that'll be a change. I can imagine just touching what I want on my screen, then use the keyboard to type.

    I need my screen to be infront of me, and the keyboard perpendicular to it.
  15. IOWA

    IOWA Mr. Logic Pants

    Yeah but mice are just easier to use, I have myself, and two of my freinds have a touchscreen monitor, and the mouse is just way easier to use. Especially for quick reactions, like in gaming, or on photoshop where precision is needed. Touch screens are nice, but not ergonomic in many cases. also you constantly need to clean the screen
  16. Solitary

    Solitary Android Enthusiast

    why argue? remember, 2012 is the end of the world! wooohoo we are all going to die.

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