By Alec Meer on October 7th, 2009 at 12:32 pm.
Idle hardware browing leads me to Techradar’s coverage of Microsoft’s concept mouse project. Usually, attempts to redesign one of the most fundamental features of the PC is something I greet with a sneer – how can you be so stupid as to waste so much money on trying to replace the irreplaceable? When it’s Microsoft, though, for all their flaws it’s worth paying attention to.
Key to their research is multi-touch interfaces – of the sort seen on recent laptop touchpads or the iPhone’s screen. Fingers creating gesture-based combinations on smooth, switch-free surfaces, rather than simply clicking physical buttons. God knows if any of these things will ever come to pass, but at least they’re not trying to throw out the mouse’s essential mousiness.
Can you imagine gaming on one of these, pushing fingers against repogrammable surfaces, or is the absolute precision of a hard-wired button the only accurate way to shoot a dude in the face? Microsoft reckon traditional mice use only a fraction of our hands’ abilities – but is that an accident or a necessity for the amount of our awareness that is spent reacting in other ways to on-screen events?