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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

October 5, 2009 at 8:00 AM

Wild mice of the future in Microsoft labs

Microsoft’s hardware labs are showing off all sorts of prototype devices at the User Interface Software and Technology conference this week in Victoria.

The conference’s student innovation contest centers on a new pressure-sensitive keyboard the company has been demonstrating recently. Dozens of prototypes were provided to student teams, who are competing to see who can develop the most innovative interactions with the keyboard.

But Microsoft’s also likely to get attention for a family of touch-sensitive computer mice exploring different ways its multitouch technologies could be incorporated into the lowly peripheral. They’re making their public debut today at UIST, where Microsoft is a primary sponsor.

The mice show several ways of adding multitouch capabilities to a PC so you can flick to move cursors, pinch to resize windows and control screen actions with gestures rather than clicks and scrolls. Best of all, they suggest you’ll soon be able to add these capabilities by plugging in a relatively inexpensive accessory, instead of having to upgrade your PC to a touchscreen system (or drop $6,000 on one of Microsoft’s tabletop Surface computers ….).

Here researchers from the hardware unit’s Applied Sciences Group and Microsoft Research show their wild mice of the future, in the new hardware labs alongside the company’s Commons complex in Redmond. This (long …) video include Dan Rosenfeld of the Applied Sciences Group and Microsoft Research’s Nicolas Villar, Shahram Izadi and Hrvoje Benko.

Comments | Topics: Gadgets & products, keyboards, mice

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