London, November 24 : The computer technology shown in science fictions like Minority Report and James Bond flicks are drawing closer to reality, with a Los Angeles-based company designing a system that can consign the mouse to history.
John Underkoffler, chief scientist at Oblong Industries that has created the technology, says that the new technology called G-Speak may fundamentally change the way we interact with computers.
He says that rather than having to use one hand to control a mouse, a user can communicate with a PC intuitively by "slipping on special gloves" and "using both hands".
"Human hands are the most sophisticated manipulating tools in the world," Times Online quoted him as saying.
"The idea is to drop the mouse and let hands do what they're fully capable of. That is to describe and push, poke and pull and manipulate the world," he added.
G-Speak allows selection of objects on screen through pointing. When the user brings his hands closer to his body, the object seems to have come closer and appears larger. Pushing the hands to one side moves the object to a different screen.
Underkoffler reveals that things on screen are interacted with as if they were real.
Though some companies and universities are already using the technology, Oblong plans to develop it to be suitable for an elite police force
"It's exactly like the interface from Minority Report, except that it's better, because its in the real world and it works," said Underkoffler.
The technology involves multiple screens allowing several people to control what they see at once, and can take up entire rooms. However, Oblong is working on smaller versions so that they can be used in the home and at work-stations.
G-Speak would run on the existing personal computers, and the company has plans to sell the technology for not much more than the cost of a high-quality mouse, that is 20-40 pounds.
Oblong believes that the technology will be available in the market in about two years.
Given that the system is very intuitive, UnderKoffler believes that it will replace the mouse.
"If you've had the experience of trying to teach your great uncle how to use a mouse, it's frustrating. Most people who put on the gloves are up and running within 30 seconds, because everyone knows how to point," he said.
The technology is being experimented with for uses such as air-traffic control or medical imaging, which could help surgeons.
"The idea is to invert the usual way of working. The ordinary way of working that we are still tethered to is that the human must go into the machine's world. You have to imagine yourself in the cartoon world of the desktop, and put yourself down there. We want to break open the monitor, and let the pixels go everywhere in the room - to put the interaction with the computer in the real world," Underkoffler said.