There’s one thing about the future. It never gets here when we want it to, and it’s always different than we expect it to be. Remember when Apple’s Mac mouse revolutionized the computer world? It took a decade before computer users from the Dark Side adopted the mouse en masse.
See? The future sometimes takes awhile. Today’s modern computing devices are all about touch, personified by the touchscreen on iPhone and iPad, but it’s also made its way to Watch, and the Mac has had a trackpad for many years that required touch to use.
Touch is a thing today but there are limits. Windows tablet users complain about using a notebook with a touchscreen because tendonitis. Touch of the future might not be what we think it will be.
If Minority Report is the future of computer technology and the interface is manipulated by electronic gloves with built-in sensors, then, “I just flew in from Milwaukee, and boy are my arms tired.”
Touching a small screen device held in your hand is one thing, but holding your arms aloft on a huge wall-sized screen is something else.
This week I read about an Apple patent for a wrist-based, Watch-band-based gesture control system. Ostensibly, various sensors would doe what sensors do and notice movements in our wrist bones and tendons and translate those as input commands.
I mentioned this to a neighbor and he said that would add additional realism to a Virtual Reality headset and a new segment of the p-o-r-n industry would be born.
What I don’t expect to see is such a system being used to manipulate a Mac’s screen, or provide the necessary touch– without the touch– to control a future iPhone or iPad. Thankfully, not all of Apple’s patents lead to products or functions, but this one shows promise of a different kind.
We all do it. When we don’t like what someone has done or is doing, we point fingers. That means the wrist and arm move to a specific position, and the sensors could tell what we’re doing and send an electric shock. Shock therapy for the 21st century. Wiggling a finger back and forth, left to right and back again, to show someone our disapproval would be monitored and recorded. A mild shock from an Apple Watch would get us back to normal.
Think of what this kind of device could do for road rage. Obviously, when you’re about to point a finger, usually the upright one, at an offending driver, the sensor in your Watch could tell what was about to happen and initiate an electric current which could– this is the future we’re talking about, right?– manipulate the nerves in your wrist so you wave instead of ratchet up the finger that offends.
It could happen.
Thank you, Apple, for thinking so far ahead.