A student at the Institute of Information Technology in Ottawa, Canada, has invented the nouse, a piece of image-processing software that watches your face in order to 1) translate nose movements into mouse movements and 2) translate winks (left and right) into clicks (left and right).
Anything that increases the communication bandwidth between humans and machines is a potential winner in my book, even if it does make you look like a bunny with contact lens problems. And the nouse could certainly help people with certain kinds of motor control deficits. The real opportunity may be in exploiting the tremendous (though admittedly rather subtle) range of expression of which the human face is capable. Imagine this for controlling Windows: a smile to accept an IntelliSense word suggestion; an extended tongue to dismiss a dialog box; and a furrowed brow (last resort) to summon the infamous paper clip. I like the image of a room full of programmers, faces twitching violently, even as their miniature wireless headsets make them look as if they're conversing with invisible beings from another dimension. And geeks think they have trouble getting dates today. --Ed Gottsman