If you’re like me, you might have a bit of computer-related carpal tunnel. Mine is in my right index finger, brought on by overuse of my mouse’s scroll wheel. I have a bad habit of using it while reading through text, which I do quite a bit as a writer. Yet after reading a recent report on how the Kinect game controller can be adapted for the PC, I’m wondering if other computer-related aches and pains are in my future.
Just a few years ago, the world was wowed by the idea of a hands-free computer interface, as seen in the 2002 movie Minority Report. With holographic projections hovering in the air around him, Tom Cruise’s character would poke, flick, and swipe at different bits of information while at the same time vocalizing commands with error-free ease.
We still have a way to go to that level of interface, but it’s easy to see just over the horizon. I’m an occasional user of Nuance’ Dragon Naturally Speaking dictation software, and though it does take some time to get it configured, it works pretty good. On the motion side, Kinect is the first mass-released motion sensor, where the device translates your physical movements to the screen. Microsoft designed it for its Xbox 360 game system, and it has set sales records as the fastest selling hardware in a 60-day period.
As ReadWriteWeb reports, Microsoft is now exploring the use of the Kinect for the PC. On a video at the site, they demonstrate how a Kinect-controlled chair could revolutionize how we interact with technology. It’s kind of funny – a guy controlling a rolling lounge chair with his hands – but it shows that the sky is the limit for motion controlled devices. A Minority Report-style interface may truly be just around the corner. But I have to wonder… with such an interface, will I be trading my carpal tunnel for computer elbow?
How do you think motion controllers will change today’s technology?