Microsoft Reveals ''Mouse 2.0'' Prototypes

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.

  • nun
    sound interesting
  • Hey look at what the Trashman dragged in! :D
  • XD_dued
    Interesting, but likely expensive. If that's the case I'm fine with my lazer mouse :)
  • socalboomer
    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!
  • i am really looking forward to see these being further developed. they are really innovating here.
  • acecombat
    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
  • Shadow703793
    lol. I'd still stick to my G5, while those that have G9,etc stick to those. :lol:
  • IzzyCraft
    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
  • kingnoobe
    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.
  • buwish
    The clear looking one looks rather interesting...