When a few months ago I raised the idea of using eyes instead of fingers for controlling touch screens, I did not think that it will be implemented soon. But Thierry Derick of Airbus pointed out that all components for its implementation are already in place. He outlined how the existing functionality of cameras can be configured to control screens by eyes. After that it became apparent that the idea of controlling touch screens by eyes can be implemented in no time. And indeed this month Samsung unveiled Galaxy S IV smartphone featuring "Eye scroll" functionality.
This is a good reason to start thinking again about what is next for touch screens. TRIZ is of no guidance here as its ultimate goal of replacing mechanical schemes by optical ones is achieved. So I resorted to Sherlock Holmes' deduction method.
What human organ is preferable to eyes for controlling touch screens ? - I questioned myself. The answer immediately popped up in my head. Brains are preferable to eyes. Controlling screens (or anything else) by thoughts is definitely preferable to controling them by optical means. Perhaps TRIZ pattern "from mechanical fields to electrical fields to optical fields" should be expanded as follows:
from mechanical actions to electrical ones, to optical ones, to mental ones !
Since lie detectors exist it should not be very difficult to create detectors of simple wishes: scroll up, scroll down, zoom in, zoom out, etc. I am pretty sure that a technology similar to technology of detecting false thoughts can be employed to detect other simple thoughts as well.
While universal thoughts readers are definitely far away their scaled down versions are definitely attainable with the current state of the art. Such primitive mental commands detectors/readers could be made part of a variety of devices, not screens of smartphones only. And this could be a next step for them too.
I think that this time the next step will not be made as fast as the previous one that I envisioned.