The Next Generation of Personal Computers
There are all sorts of interesting ideas out there about how future computer interfaces will look. The laser presently is used in a wide variety of uses from cutting diamonds to correcting eye vision has been around for many years and is the base for many movies such as Star Wars. I believe for the immediate future, the laser will undoubtedly play a greater and greater role in how we interact with our computers. One trend that is already becoming a reality is the projection of computer light onto or off of a surface allowing the user to manipulate data and send commands essentially by blocking the beams with her hands.
The richest versions of this vision have already been seen in futuristic movies such as the Matrix. These systems give us a vision of a highly abstract and iconographic light interface that require wide sweeping body motions to operate. They seem to be way off in the future, but actually they aren’t.
As I write this there is already a keyboard out there made entirely out of laser light, and it’s operation, while visually intriguing, is actually fairly mundane. By moving one’s fingers over the keyboard (its height is adjustable and determined by the angle of reflection) touched keys light signals are blocked, activating that key. While I’m sure the novelty of the laser light keyboard would wear off and it must surely have somewhat of a learning curve to operate, it does possess qualities that will make laserware ever more popular. It is immune to spills, dropping, and breaking. It will take up zero space and reduce clutter. Finally, it will be a first but important step in familiarity with the way we will be interacting with and manipulating data and information in the future.
I for one cannot wait until some of these technologies are readily usable. They have been tested and it seems all that they are waiting for is a way to incorporate them into the next generation of personal computers. Of course this technology will probably be very costly at first until it is easily mass produced. Hopefully it will be available in the near future.