Microsoft Demos Multi-touch Mice


Microsoft Research has taken the time to demonstrate some of its experimental multi-touch capable new mouse designs and some of them are very interesting indeed.

Multitouch Mice Microsoft Research

Naturally, they don’t yet look the business, but that’s to be expected from a range of devices that most of which likely won’t ever make it out of the prototype stage. For now, each mouse operates on an entirely different model for taking multi-touch input, which means that each of the experimental mice shown is pretty different from the last, but it all amounts to roughly the same level of control… with a few important differences.

Because each of these mice goes about multi-touch from a different direction (be it infrared imaging, frustrated total internal reflection, a network of capacitance sensors or just tracking the digits near the mouse, rather than on it) they could each have wildly different applications and potentially effect whatever software it is that Microsoft intends multi-touch mice to interact with.

It’s strange that it’s taken so long for the idea of multi-touch mice to work, multi-touch trackpads have basically changed the way we consider that form of input. It’ll be interesting to see now just how easy it is for the two-button mouse-bound among us to learn to use a device actively taking input from both being rolled around the desk and the positioning of all five clumsy fingers on it, but hopefully that won’t be too taxing.

One thing is certain, I won’t look at my Razer the same way after seeing some of these in action.

Engadget has an excellent demo video up that stresses the unique factors of each of the prototypes, complete with some really trashy synthesiser music that’s just excellent. You should definitely check it out if you’re at all interested.


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