There is apparently some good news today for all those readers who enjoy surfing web porn but would prefer to use their right hand for something other than operating a mouse - a Canadian visionary from Ottawa's Institute of Information Technology has developed a nose-operated mouse which looks set to redefine the human-computer interface paradigm.
Dmitry Gorodnichy's "nouse" tracks the tip of the nose to control your cursor and accepts two blinks of the right or left eye in lieu of the standard button click, the New Scientist reports. Gorodnichy hopes that the nouse will make PC use easier for the disabled, and further reckons that it might "also provide more intuitive ways for people to explore computer-generated environments or play three-dimensional video games".
How does it work? Well, it's all about webcams. In 2D mode, the nouse uses a single webcam which initially takes a picture of the user and isolates the 25 pixels which represent the tip of the nose. It then tracks this pattern. Motion detector software checks for blinking, and translates this into clicks.
For 3D orientation, two webcams track the user's snout and cunning software works out the distance from the PC, blah blah blah.
Excuse our sudden loss of interest in the scientific background to this earth-shattering innovation, but it is without a doubt the most singularly pointless waste of technology since someone bolted two wheels to a pogo stick and called it a Segway. While we concede that it may have some future for the disabled computer user - if it actually works, which we sincerely doubt - it will certainly play absolute havoc with hayfever sufferers' Word documents and habitual nose-pickers' email compositions.
We're sure that readers can add a hundred more reasons why the nouse is bound for techno oblivion. Nonetheless, in the interests of balanced journalism we feel obliged to quote Charles Cohen, vice-president of R&D at Cybernet Systems, who asserts: "The 3D nose tracker will definitely have a place in human-computer interaction in future, but most likely in conjunction with the mouse and keyboard rather than as an alternative."
A sound bit of bet-hedging there. As for El Reg, we're more inclined to agree with Joe Laszlo of Jupiter Technology who tells the New Scientist: "I cannot ignore the high silliness factor of nouse. People baulk at doing things that require them to look silly and there is ample room for looking silly here."
The prosecution rests, your honour. ®