The miniaturization of electronics has meant that the inner workings of a mouse can be crammed inside a package that is much smaller than is ergonomically recommended for such a device. This has freed up mouse manufacturers to put some of that wasted space to good use by extending the capabilities of the ubiquitous pointing peripheral. We recently looked at the Canon Mark I
that combines a mouse, keyboard and calculator and now LG is getting in on the multi-capable mouse action with what strikes us as a very good idea - a mouse that doubles as a handheld scanner.
Tablet users who want to utilize their tablet PCs as desktop workstations would no doubt appreciate an Android
-tailored wireless mouse. Announced this May, the Logitech mouse for Android 3.1+ is now available for purchase online, and joins the previously-launched tablet-oriented physical keyboard.
Mobile number crunchers whose laptop keyboard is lacking in a useful separate keypad will no doubt be interested to discover that Canon is about to release a new slim laser mouse which includes its own keypad. The new X Mark I Mouse could also please trackpad haters looking to reduce the number of peripherals housed within the laptop bag, as it also operates as a 10-digit calculator complete with LCD screen.
Many of us breathed a sigh of relief when the uncomfortable lesson in bland that was the digital age of beige came to an end, but even some of the latest styling can be somewhat disappointing. The growing popularity of Steampunk design
is evidence that many crave a return to the classic looks of yesteryear but enthusiasts wanting their technology to take on a vintage look are, for the most part, left with little option but to modify the kit themselves. Those with no time to spare or no skills to speak of, though, are left to look on with envious admiration. Kirk DuQuette has not only created a whole bunch of stunning computer peripherals and mobile device docks that hark back to the Victorian age of steam but, without much of the valve, cog and gauge overkill, he has also made some of them available for purchase.
Genius has announced the release of its Wireless Thumb Cursor Controller, or ring mouse for short. The clicking and scrolling action of the lightweight mouse replacement is thumb-controlled, its proprietary optical touch technology offers users 1000 dpi sensitivity and it's said to last a month between charges.
For many people with motor disabilities, the task of precisely moving a mouse cursor around a screen can be incredibly frustrating. While controlling a mouse cursor with the power of thought
looks likely to be possible in the not too distant future, researchers at the University of Washington
's (UW) AIM Research Group have created two mouse cursors designed to make homing in on onscreen targets much easier. Neither requires additional computer hardware and all the researchers are hoping for in return for the freely downloadable software is some user feedback.
The clicking sound we hear when we press a mouse button is part of the device's switching mechanism, that has also become a kind of audible comfort cushion for computer users. However, Dutch component manufacturer Nexus believes that in these days of notebook trackpads and tablet touchscreens, we no longer need the audible confirmation that a requested action has been performed – we can see it onscreen. The company has now discovered some silent switching technology and installed into a couple of its input peripherals, so that they operate without so much as a squeak.
With the plethora of mouse alternatives available or in development you'd be forgiven for thinking the humble computer mouse was some kind of torturous device inflicted upon computer users. But despite challengers such as the trackball
, the WOW-PEN Joy
, the ErgoSlider Plus
, the Orbita Mouse
and the AirMouse
– just to name a few – the mouse has maintained its dominance while remaining largely unchanged since its unveiling in 1968
. Now there's another alternative cursor relocation device set to hit the market called the evoMouse that turns just about any flat surface into a virtual trackpad with your finger as the pointer.
Last year, Fujitsu introduced a keyboard where nearly half of the plastic normally used was replaced with biodegradable bio- or wood-based substitutes. The company continues its green crusade this year with the introduction of what's claimed to be the world's first biodegradable computer mouse. The M440 ECO optical mouse sports a PVC-free USB cable and is made from a combination of the same Arboform and Biograde materials used in the keyboard – reducing our dependence on oil-based resources one click at a time..
First achieving widespread use with the release of the Apple Macintosh in 1984, the humble computer mouse
has reigned supreme as the digital pointing device of choice for more than 20 years. During this time it has seen off countless pretenders to the throne, as well as undergoing some useful (and otherwise) redesigns such as Apple's Magic Mouse
, Microsoft's Arc
, the 3D-Spheric-Mouse
, the AirMouse
and the Orbita
. The latest product to take a shot at the title is the ErgoSlider Plus+, a device that looks like a padded wrist rest, but with a cylinder at the front that rolls and slides in a special groove to move the onscreen cursor.