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Microsoft Reveals ''Mouse 2.0'' Prototypes

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 35 comments

Microsoft is taking the desktop mouse to another level.

Isn't it about time our trusty mouse gets a facelift? Microsoft Research seems to think so, and has developed five peculiar prototypes deemed as "Mouse 2.0." Of course, the prototype designs aren't final, and they rather look like dirty old droids pulled out of the Sandcrawler trunk by local Jawas (that's a Star Wars: ANH reference). But the company's intentions are clear: it's moving into multi-touch computing land using various touch sensing techniques, form factors, and "interactive affordances."

The first mouse, dubbed as Frustrated Total Internal Reflection (FTIR), uses a curved sheet of acrylic "edge-lit" with infrared light. The light scatters at the touch of a finger, and is recorded by an IR camera. The Orb Mouse, on the other hand, looks a bit more "mousy," facilitating multi-touch sensing on its hemispherical surface. This mouse uses an IR-sensitive camera and an internal source of IR illumination. Rather than sensing movement via scattered light, the camera picks up on light reflected back from finger tips.

The third prototype, the Capacitive Mouse, takes a different route and incorporates capacitive-sensing electrodes that track the location of the user's touch. This device looks even more "mousy" than the Orb version, providing the typical sleek design currently used with many popular mice. The Side Mouse, protocol #4, virtually takes the hand off the device instead and senses the user's fingers as they touch the table surface. "The key interaction possibility that we explore with Side Mouse is the ability to create a multi-touch area that is not restricted to the physical surface of the device," Microsoft said.

The fifth and final mouse is probably the oddest of the bunch, the Arty Mouse, appearing as a crab and providing mouse buttons on each "claw" or "extension." With the palm resting on the main body, each extension resides under the index finer and thumb, and tracks their movement. Microsoft said that it plans to refine the Arty Mouse--in addition to the other four prototypes-- to "deeper explore the interaction techniques that are specific to these new class of input devices." In the meantime, to get more details on each prototype, read the official study and take a peek at the demonstration video here.

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  • 26 Hide
    acecombat , October 5, 2009 11:53 PM
    etichilooks like microsoft gets points for bringing this out first. Apple is due to revamp there mighty mouse very soon.

    I hear by 2010 it's going to have...TWO BUTTONS :o 
  • 12 Hide
    XD_dued , October 5, 2009 11:06 PM
    Interesting, but likely expensive. If that's the case I'm fine with my lazer mouse :) 
  • 10 Hide
    kingnoobe , October 6, 2009 12:09 AM
    Sorry... I think their all gimicks. Maybe useful for a couple things here and there, but unlikely what the general mass would use/want to use for that matter.

    The mouse is simply one of those things... They got right the first time around and has only need tweaking here and there.
Other Comments
  • 0 Hide
    nun , October 5, 2009 11:02 PM
    sound interesting
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , October 5, 2009 11:06 PM
    Hey look at what the Trashman dragged in! :D 
  • 12 Hide
    XD_dued , October 5, 2009 11:06 PM
    Interesting, but likely expensive. If that's the case I'm fine with my lazer mouse :) 
  • 3 Hide
    socalboomer , October 5, 2009 11:10 PM
    Sweet - break the mold, experiment with things that go beyond mice or even touchpads! Gotta admit, even though they look like things Jawas would mess with, the ideas are interesting!
  • 0 Hide
    njkid3 , October 5, 2009 11:24 PM
    i am really looking forward to see these being further developed. they are really innovating here.
  • 26 Hide
    acecombat , October 5, 2009 11:53 PM
    etichilooks like microsoft gets points for bringing this out first. Apple is due to revamp there mighty mouse very soon.

    I hear by 2010 it's going to have...TWO BUTTONS :o 
  • 2 Hide
    Shadow703793 , October 6, 2009 12:00 AM
    lol. I'd still stick to my G5, while those that have G9,etc stick to those. :lol: 
  • 1 Hide
    IzzyCraft , October 6, 2009 12:07 AM
    etichilooks like microsoft gets points for bringing this out first. Apple is due to revamp there mighty mouse very soon.

    You mean the shitty mouse i dislike, i like the onmi direction ball but i like my two buttons clear cut buttons and side buttons. still better then the power puck design
  • 10 Hide
    kingnoobe , October 6, 2009 12:09 AM
    Sorry... I think their all gimicks. Maybe useful for a couple things here and there, but unlikely what the general mass would use/want to use for that matter.

    The mouse is simply one of those things... They got right the first time around and has only need tweaking here and there.
  • 0 Hide
    buwish , October 6, 2009 12:29 AM
    The clear looking one looks rather interesting...
  • -4 Hide
    Envinyanta , October 6, 2009 12:32 AM
    Funny coincidence. Documents are released showing Apple's pushing the mold on their concept of what a mouse is and surprise surprise, Microsoft releases "prototypes" of their next mouse soon afterward. Honestly as a PC user, the Microsoft "prototypes" look like design lab rejects. It's almost as if someone at Microsoft wanted to steal Apple's thunder (and attention) about their new mouse by digging out some half-baked and rejected concepts they had sitting in a box somewhere. I'm not saying Microsoft isn't testing new concepts with mice--of course they are, just like any company does with their products. What I'm saying is bringing out poor and/or failed examples of that innovation on the heels of a competitors 'information leak' reeks of schoolyard "me too" oneupmanship.
  • 0 Hide
    maigo , October 6, 2009 1:10 AM
    they still do the same thing as any other mouse, so whats it matter?
  • 1 Hide
    Khimera2000 , October 6, 2009 1:55 AM
    the one that turns your desk into a mouse surface might be intreasting if they can combine it with the ability to recognize other objects and make some kind of interactive space.
  • 0 Hide
    ViPr , October 6, 2009 2:55 AM
    i thought this was going to be talking about 6 degrees of freedom mice. i've been bloody waiting ages for devices like that to become mainstream.
  • 0 Hide
    nbelote , October 6, 2009 3:22 AM
    "the one that turns your desk into a mouse surface might be intreasting if they can combine it with the ability to recognize other objects and make some kind of interactive space"

    Multitouch trackpad in the shape of a mouse pad for your desk perhaps? Give it Bluetooth capabilities like MS Surface. Sure it'll be pricey but how cool would that be? The age of handheld controllers will be over soon... Hell, incorporate Project Natal into the PC and allow users to use hand gestures and the like to control desktop objects. Think "Minority Report."
  • 1 Hide
    goodgirls , October 6, 2009 4:11 AM
    As a gamer, I would like to have a mouse with force feedback.
  • 0 Hide
    Gin Fushicho , October 6, 2009 5:41 AM
    And this is why they are prototypes. how do I pay games with these things?
  • 2 Hide
    lifelesspoet , October 6, 2009 5:50 AM
    I like the mac mouse, but terrible non mac drivers and a 50 dollar price tag(70 for wireless) Just makes it unrealistic for normal use. No matter how many great things a mac product can do, it always has a few issues that piss everyone off.
  • 0 Hide
    wira020 , October 6, 2009 6:45 AM
    i wish they could just focus on producing cheaper touch screen and making it more reliable.. dont anyone else feel like touchscreen is the way to the future?... i was kinda thinking that with all those smart phones now utilizing touchscreen input, that mouse would soon come to extinction...but i guess this article kinda proves otherwise...
  • 1 Hide
    barturtle , October 6, 2009 7:08 AM
    Could they just re-release the Trackball Explorer? Pretty Please?
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