Microsoft Research Shares Weird Mouse Concepts

Source: Arstechnica
Source: Arstechnica

Microsoft Research has been spewing out high profile prototypes — either in leaks or via official releases – in what’s likely in part an effort to grow the already substantial excitement surrounding Microsoft’s energized fall lineup which includes Windows 7. Last week details of a potential dual-screen tablet mini-PC emerged.

Now Microsoft has given the public a peak at its visions of the future of the computer mouse. Microsoft, as one of the leading makers of computer mice, both in optical and corded flavors, is one of the most influential players in the industry. Its rolled out some relatively exotic designs over the years, but those fall short of the new ones its cooking up.

One mouse of the five featured prototypes does have anything for your hand to hold onto at all. Dubbed the “Side Mouse”, the mouse consists of an arm rest which detects you moving your hand or tapping on the table. Another intriguing design is “Arty”, which has thumb and index finger button articulated arms. These arms serve both as buttons and as means of doing gesture-driven commands, such as pinching.

The other three mice — the FTIR, Orb, and CAP — each demonstrate different multitouch buttonless click-detection schemes. The FTIR uses frustrated total internal reflection and a camera to spot a user’s presses on a piece of acrylic. The approach features high accuracy of click events. The Orb mouse provides a design friendly to all fingers and employs an infrared multitouch detection scheme. Finally, the CAP mouse uses capacitance to detect click events, saving power and eliminating ambient light errors.

Each of the mice shows off some interesting technology, which could hold promise under certain scenarios. While Microsoft has made no claims to be trying to commercialize any of these designs, some of this technology could eventually see its way into commercial products.

The Microsoft engineers contributing to the project were Nicolas Villar, Shahram Izadi, John Helmes, Steve Hodges, Alex Butler, and Xiang Cao of Microsoft Research; Hrvoje Benko of Microsoft Research; Dan Rosenfeld, Jonathan Westhues, Eyal Ofek, and Billy Chen of Microsoft. They presented a video of their research at the User Interface Software and Technology conference in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada this week.

Product Review

Google Pixelbook review

Do you want the best Chromebook money can buy? Our Google Pixelbook review examines the operating system’s new flagship, which includes 2-in-1 versatility, an active stylus, and Google Assistant.
Movies & TV

Stay inside this summer with the best shows on Hulu, including 'Castle Rock'

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we've put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.
Emerging Tech

With VR dinosaurs and ‘Minecraft,’ one hospital is making medicine less scary

From augmented reality rabbits on the wards to a Minecraft recreation of the hospital for kids to explore, one of the world's most renowned children's hospitals just got a major tech overhaul.

Samsung CEO says its foldable phone will double as a tablet

Samsung has been showcasing bendable display tech for a few years now and a folding smartphone might finally arrive. The Galaxy X, or perhaps the Galaxy F, may be the company's first example. Here's everything we know about it.

Here's how to download a YouTube video to watch offline later

Learning how to download YouTube videos is easier than you might think. There are plenty of great tools you can use, both online and offline. These are our favorites and a step by step guide on how to use them.

How to recover Google contacts

If you accidentally deleted an important person from your Google Contacts, they might not be lost forever. Recovering them is a fairly easy process -- as long as you do it quickly. Here's how.
Product Review

The ThinkPad X1 Extreme is a love letter to PC geeks

Lenovo’s ThinkPad line-up is targeted at business use, but it’s long appealed to hardcore PC geeks as well. The new X1 Extreme, which combines a powerful processor and high-resolution screen with Nvidia graphics, seems built for them…

Afraid that Bitcoin could be a bubble? Here's how to sell what you've got

If you're investing in cryptocurrencies, it's important to have your exit strategy in place if prices start to crash. If you've decided it's time to get out or just want to learn how to sell Bitcoins, here's how to get started.

Got gadgets galore? Keep them charged up with the 10 best USB-C cables

If you weren't already aware, USB-C is quickly becoming mainstream. That's why we've rounded up some of the better USB-C cables on the market, whether you're looking to charge or sync your smartphone.

How to protect your iCloud account

From Chinese hacking to identity theft, it's not surprising if you're a little worried about your iCloud data. Here's how to protect your iCloud account with a few simple security steps. It will only take a few minutes, and we'll walk you…

Tired of choosing between Windows and Mac? Check out these Chromebooks instead

We've compiled a list of the best Chromebooks -- laptops that combine great battery life, comfortable keyboards, and the performance it takes to run Google's lightweight Chrome OS. From Samsung to Acer, these are the Chromebooks that really…

Adobe's "creativity conference" begins October 15. Here's what we hope to see

Each year, Adobe uses its Adobe MAX conference to show off its latest apps, technologies, and tools to help simplify and improve the workflow of creatives the world over. Here's what you should expect from this year's conference.
Product Review

The Oculus Rift is cheaper, the Vive Pro is better. Is the original Vive still worth it?

The Oculus Rift may have brought virtual reality into the public eye, but HTC’s Vive, built in partnership with Valve, does it better. Does the Vive still represent the true future of virtual reality, or are there better competitors on…

Don't take your ISP's word for it: Here's how to test your internet speed

If you're worried that you aren't getting the most from your internet package, speed tests are a great way to find out what your real connection is capable of. Here are the best internet speed tests available today.