Supercharged Pointing, Clicking, And TappingSupercharged Pointing, Clicking, And Tapping
Still using that old-and-busted keyboard and mouse? Check out the new hotness: a world of innovative input devices.
July 27, 2005
The Weird And The Wonderful
Some input devices aren't easily categorized -- like the touch screen. IBM tried to introduce a touch-screen system about two decades ago. It was a clunky and unreliable. Sometimes you got what you touched, sometimes you didn't, and sometimes you had to reboot the system. Hardly ready for prime time. Today they're much more accurate and much better protected against moisture, dust, and the general grime and oil that collects on our fingertips.
Touch-screens also don't need to be complete monitors. There are touch-screen overlays available for existing displays and notebooks. Of course, you'll still need mouse-driven application software to interpret the screen touching. (In case you hadn't noticed, your PDA uses a touch screen, as do many smart phones.)
EyeTech Digital Systems offers a mouse replacement system called Quick Glance 2 that uses eye motion to position the cursor and either a switch, a wink, or a stare to simulate a mouse-click. Used in conjunction with an application such as Lake Software's Click-N-Type Virtual Keyboard, you can also produce text. Although Quick Glance was designed to help people with disabilities, it can be used in any environment where your hands are tied up but you also need to select or point on-screen. (Think of it as tapping on a PDA, but with a little bit more attention required.)
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