Futurists, computer scientists, and trendsetting analysts all agree – the personal computer, particularly in its current configuration, probably won’t be with us too much longer. And we understand the reasoning. The PC is a space hog in a world where space is increasingly at a premium, it's an energy hog at a time when energy is both costly and precious, and it's no longer the driver of the technology industry it once was. That honor now goes to all those nifty little pads and pods and tabs we suddenly can't seem to live without. The long-in-the-tooth desktop, meanwhile, has already been relegated by some to dinosaur status.
Yet as much as it's been beaten down, as much as its fate seems sealed by a world that now craves mobility and a technological revolution that's now revolving in other directions, the PC isn't going anywhere anytime soon. It remains the workhorse of the workforce, the finest tool in the arsenal for visual arts, and the panacea for non-console gamers everywhere.
Having said that, the PC is clearly entering a state of flux. And as it does, we thought we'd take a look at what might (and in some cases, will) happen to those devices that surround the granddaddy of high tech. For as much as the familiar PC "box" will shape-shift over the coming years and decades, so too will the peripherals that allow us to interact with it.
Here then is a rundown of fifteen peripheral devices and concepts we feel are notable for their evolutionary stance, even if they may be flawed in current form. We've loosely arranged them in order of when they have – or when they might – be available in the consumer marketplace.
Neural Impulse Actuator - OCZ
The venerable keyboard will one day die – likely at the murderous hands of voice recognition. But what if we could eliminate physical control altogether, and simply think our intentions? Computer memory giant OCZ started down this road in 2008 with its deceptively-named Neural Impulse Actuator. Rather than reading your mind, the NIA merely measured surface nerve activity. Though discontinued, the NIA is notable for raising awareness of thought-based control.