Pattaya Daily News

30 July 2008 :: 14:07:43 pm 22282

Move Over Mouse ? Your Time Is Up!

Is the computer mouse dead? That at least is what some hi-tek gurus are predicting. In its place we?ll have touchy-feely devices and gizmos that seem as though they?re something out of futuristic sci-fi movies.
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Instead of the humble, but ageing 40-year-old mouse, we’ll have touch screens and facial recognition devices and even devices which can almost read your mind.

Haptic technology, which exploits the sense of touch, could have a range of applications, researchers say, from tele-surgery and robotic remote control to more immersive computer games. Haptic devices currently range from simple “rumble pack” games controllers to force-feedback devices like the Phantom Desktop ? a graspable pen on the end of a motorised robotic arm.

Gravity Grabber demonstrated at the recent Siggraph expo, offers an easier way to stimulate touch, using a simple set up of motors and belts.

Other researchers are also intent on transmitting touch with electrical stimulation. One such project involves stimulating forearm muscles with electricity to produce the sensation of hitting a tennis ball. There’s even a device which uses feathers! The Fibratus Tactile Sensor, consisting of feathers embedded in a silicone gel mounted over a checkered pattern, with a video camera beneath. Stroking the feathers warps the gel and alters the amount of light that filters through the pattern to be picked up by the camera.

A computer can then calculate the pressure being exerted on the feathers and display it on screen. This could make robots virtually human, in terms of their tactile senses. Then there’s the String Walker, which tracks a user’s walk, permitting them to explore a virtual environment on foot. Wheeled sandals keep the user walking on the same spot, while a network of strings and motors track the motion of their feet with each step. The device is turntable-mounted, allowing the person to swivel on the spot.

These are just a few of the many new innovations due to eclipse the mouse in the next few years. Ah! Brave new world!

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Lifestyle

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