10 PC Peripherals That Push the Limits of Science and Tech
For all the high-tech razzle-dazzle they bring to the table, your keyboard and mouse might as well be relics from the days of UNIVAC punch cards and adding machines. Sure, the hardware on your desk may get the job done, but almost all of the PC peripherals we use today are mere iterations of familiar forms.
Wed, January 30, 2013
PC World — The future is (almost) now
For all the high-tech razzle-dazzle they bring to the table, your keyboard and mouse might as well be relics from the days of UNIVAC punch cards and adding machines. Sure, the hardware on your desk may get the job done, but almost all of the PC peripherals we use today are mere iterations of familiar forms. They don't throw convention out the window and rewrite the rules of interface design entirely.
All that is about to change. In fact, mind-reeling reinterpretations of peripherals design are already afoot. Some of the examples in the following slides make sense as evolutionary steps forward. Others should surprise even the most active imaginations.
Slideshow: 10 Technologies Shaping the Future of IT
Shogun Bros. Chameleon X-1
It may not be a robot in disguise, but it sure does transform like one. With a quick flip of your wrist, the Chameleon X-1 mouse becomes a gaming controller.
The X-1 comes at a good time, as more and more PC gamers are looking to use console-style controllers. Some people, in fact, will buy Xbox 360 controllers without even owning the system. The Chameleon X-1 lets you do double-duty with a single hunk of hardware. The X-1 is currently shipping, and has been generally well-received, if the numerous customer reviews on Amazon are to be believed. We're looking forward to reviewing its next iteration.
Suma mouse prototype
Still using a mouse with two fingers? How quaint. This touch-sensitive mouse responds to every finger and hand gesture, allowing you to swipe, squeeze, and stroke your way to a wide variety of actions.
Why will you need it? Because the future will be full of 3D programs and games that are hindered by standard two-click, 2D mice. Cambridge Consultants' Suma mouse, meanwhile, zooms out on Google Maps with a squeeze of your hand, and turns 360 degrees with a simple spin gesture. Click and drag no more! The Suma is not quite ready for prime time, but the technology is getting there.
The Peregrine Glove
OK, now things are just getting out of hand. If a transformable and touch-sensitive mouse doesn't cut it for you, how about no mouse at all? The Peregrine Glove prototype removes mice from the equation entirely and instead uses 18 Touch Points and three Activator Pads to execute more than 30 user-programmable actions. It's being pitched as a gaming controller for now, but we can see it becoming a stepping stone to future interface controls. Just imagine: You snap your fingers, and an application launches. Or you clap two times, and your system shuts down. Hey, we're just riffing here.