Let's face it, the mouse is dead

So you thought that touch-based input was at the cutting edge of Human-Computer Interface (HCI) technology?

Face recognition and hand gestures go deeper into this still-nascent sphere of HCI and software application development says Intel, as the firm now develops its so-called ‘perceptual computing’ concept to encapsulate this space.

Intel is now refining the SDKs intended for software application developers to be able to bring these technologies into being.

The company says that it believes ‘perceptual computing’ will now play a huge role in the future of human-to-computer interaction — and isn’t just a gimmick shown in movies like Minority Report.

According to the Intel developer blog, most of the examples being shown with its perceptual computing SDK focus on hand gestures, but there is already work to push this technology out into different areas.

“After much deliberation we arrived at the idea of using the phone as a tilt-based game controller input — and using head and eye tracking to create a truly immersive experience. We strongly believe that this combination will make for some very fun game play,” blogs Intel’s Steff K.

For Intel, perceptual computing includes close-range hand and finger tracking, speech recognition, face analysis and 2D/3D object tracking.

Add the above to accelerometers, gyroscopes and touch screens on contemporary devices as other forms of input — and you can see that we’ve come along way from the mouse.

Of course Intel is not alone in this field of research and Microsoft Kinect and Leap Motion have also been pushing forward the use of Human Computer Interaction based computing.

But Intel says that it envisions a wider platform of usage here (i.e. as broad and open as cloud computing as an example) where device interfaces become fluently connected and interchangeable as we move between keyboards, gesture recognition, touch, trackpads, voice commands or a combination of all of the above.

OK so the mouse isn’t dead after all, but there are several other animals now scurrying about in the cage.

Intel appears to be developing these technologies with considerable momentum judging by the work going on inside its developer community — the Computer Weekly Developer Network will dig deeper shortly.