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Input Device

QWERTY keyboards deserve to die

August 4, 2006 We are fully in agreement with Triggerfinger’s company motto of “QWERTY keyboards deserve to die” so please do your bit to let people know that there’s an alternative to the old dinosaur that was invented 150 years ago. Triggerfinger has developed software that turns any game controller into a replacement for a keyboard/mouse for a media PC, laptop/mobile and Game Console. The software was developed to provide freedom from the onscreen or QWERTY keyboard found on most computers and the use of a hand held input device eliminates these problems by putting the keyboard/mouse in the palm of your hand. Experts in Human Factors think the acceptable threshold for text input is 15 wpm. Triggerfinger research shows an inexperienced user with an hour of instruction on a Triggerfinger-enabled device exceeds this established base line. This compares very favorably to an onscreen keyboard or stylus text input. Demos and video of the software are available here.  Read More

Microsoft's backlit, rechargeable, wireless keyboard

June 30, 2006 Now let’s get one thing straight – we hate the QWERTY keyboard. It is 150 year old technology masquerading as high-tech and strangling the productivity of the world’s computer users. But until a viable alternative to the predominant computer input device comes along that has enough momentum to survive, we’re prepared to acknowledge the ongoing incremental improvement of this ghastly device. Microsoft is the world’s largest producer of keyboards and has offered some significant enhancements along the way, most notably the tilt wheel and the Magnifier and is set to release a wireless keyboard that is both rechargeable and backlit. It's even pretty smart for a keyboard as the ambient backlighting turns on when a room is dimly lit, and proximity sensing turns it on when the user's hand approaches.  Read More

Belkin FLIP shares one monitor, keyboard and mouse (and two speakers) between two computer...

March 29, 2006 We often look at Belkin’s product offerings with respect – their product development team often comes up with clever solutions for providing seamless electronics integration between home, car and mobile and the execution has always been sound. Now here’s another ripsnorter! The new Belkin Flip lets you share one monitor, keyboard, and mouse between two computers, allowing business professionals to take home their work laptop and easily plug it into their home setup or a dozen other scenarios.  Read More

The first left-handed mouse - shaped, cordless, laser, US$60

March 9, 2006 Roughly 13% of the population is left-handed, meaning there are around 850 million people on planet earth with a preference for using their left hand for a variety of tasks, including throwing, pointing, catching and presumably, using a computer. Astonishingly, there has never been a mouse designed just for left handed computer users until Logitech announced its MX610 left-hand Laser Cordless Mouse at CeBIT today. Until now, most left-handed computer users have only had the choice of navigating with an ambidextrous-shaped mouse or unnaturally using their right hand to scroll, point and click.  Read More

The IP-Talky multimedia keyboard with built-in VOIP handset

February 7, 2006 When Nicholas Negroponte drew his famous convergence Venn diagram more than three decades ago, he forecast the convergence of broadcast, telecommunications, computing, and publishing. Since then, the acceleration of this trend has been increasing and there’s no doubt the computer and telephone are in the process of morphing right now. In recent times we’ve seen many different form factors for this, with several VOIP telephone/mouse combinations and multitudinous USB and wireless VOIP handsets and now computer peripherals specialist A4 Tech has announced it will debut a new Talky multimedia keyboard with built-in VOIP handset at CEBIT in Hannover, Germany on March 9.  Read More

The three-key mini-keyboard with OLED screen on each key

February 5, 2006 Last July we wrote about the Optimus keyboard from Russian design studio Art.Lebedev – the keyboard uses OLED technology so that every key is a stand-alone display showing exactly what it is controlling at that moment. Accordingly, you can switch from language to language, or program to program and the functionality of the key will be reflected in the image it shows. The Optimus won’t be available until December 2006, but the company will have a three key Optimus mini auxiliary keyboard available by May, 2006, with each of the keys having an OLED screen displaying the current function. If you don’t quite understand what this makes possible, check out this page which explains the concept visually (click around all the text links).  Read More

ElekTex Smart Fabric keyboard goes wireless

January 16, 2006 Let’s get one thing straight before we start – we hate the QWERTY keyboard. It was invented some time in the 1860s yet still exists today as the principal Computer Human Interface (CHI) and the main limitation we face every day in getting information into computers, as it was designed a century before humanity knew diddly about CHI design. It makes computers bigger than they need to be, is responsible for more lower back, shoulder and RSI pain than seems right, and … well, because we’re old dogs, and have trouble learning new tricks, we appear stuck with this technological curse. Thanks – we feel much better having shared that. Now, there’s a new keyboard for tiny devices that makes lots of sense - the ElekTex Smart Fabric keyboard is designed for Smart phones, PDAs and handheld devices, is lightweight, portable, full laptop-sized and now … wireless.  Read More

Skype mouse telephone by Sony

January 13, 2006 Now here’s a good idea from Sony that doesn’t quite fit with the company’s normal fare. Sony will release a VOIP telephone crossed with a mouse onto the Japanese market next month. Dubbed MouseTalk, it looks and acts like a normal scroll wheel mouse, but when a call comes in on Skype, the mouse flashes its LED lights and emits a customisable sound. The mouse opens like a clamshell phone, becoming a Skype handset and it can also be used in hands-free mode. When used as a telephone, the mouse scroll-wheel adjusts the volume and clicking the wheel can mute the microphone.  Read More

Field Tested: Logitech and Microsoft Media Centric Keyboards

September 13, 2005 As society enters the next phase of embracing the computer - welcoming it into our loungerooms - every computer manufacturer and peripheral maker is dreaming up new ways of how they're going to break into the entertainment and consumer electronics business. Logitech and Microsoft are no exception, they have just released media center devices to help you transform your PC into the media hub of the future. Interestingly, though Microsoft is far better known for its Windows operating system, it has more than 200 people working in hardware development at redmond - which makes it the world's most focussed developer of keyboards and mice. Last year it conducted research across the world looking at how the world is using computers and the media centric keyboard is the result of that research. Dave Weinstein looked at both keyboards and concludes that Microsoft's research is beginning to show ...  Read More

The keyboard with two rear vision mirrors!

August 16, 2005 Sometimes when we cover a story, we suddenly find out how much we don’t know (lots). Three days ago we wrote about all the (clever but) weird keyboards we’d written about recently when we covered Logitech’s G15 Keyboard, listing no less than nine different, interesting keyboards that help solve some of the many problems associated with a device that was designed 137 years ago. Yes folks, the keyboard you’re slaving over is a dinosaur masquerading as high tech and it’s no wonder that everyone thinks they can build a better one, because they probably can. Indeed, in the short space of three days, we’ve had half a dozen readers write to us saying, “hey, you should write about this cool keyboard.” Well, we’ve fudged it slightly by bundling the new lot all together, but if you follow this link you’ll see a new keyboard replacement for controlling model trains, a vertical ergonomic keyboard with rear vision mirrors (so you can see the keys) and a bunch of different programmable key pads that can be used for almost any set of tasks you can think of.  Read More

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