We know the X-Y Position Indicator—often hailed as one of the greatest breakthroughs in computer ergonomics—only by its nickname, the ‘mouse’. Invented in 1967 by Douglas C. Engelbart, it consisted of two wheels encased in a square wooden shell, and was first demoed on a massive 198KB main frame. This contraption was issued a patent on 17 November 1970, and officially christened the ‘X-Y Position Indicator for a Display System’. It completely changed the way mankind interacted with computers. And thereby hangs a tale or, as you can see, several!
Sony Vaio VN-CX1A/B VoIP Phone Mouse
Skype it. Gtalk around. Or Jabber away… on any Internet telephony service. No, not with an obtrusive headset and spindly mike. But on this super-sleek, 67g Sony mouse that doubles up as a VoIP (voice over Internet protocol) phone. You can mouse about as usual with this two-button, 800 dpi, optical, USB-wired device when things are dormant. Incoming calls can be announced as you wish—by blinking mouse LED or ringtone trills. Open the contraption at the touch of a button to convert it into a telephone handset for your Internet calls. Use the built-in speaker for a no-hands chat. During conversations, the scroll wheel can adjust the volume or mute calls.
NaturalPoint smartNAV AT
No hands or feet involvement for cursive coordination here. Just use your head. Literally. Mount the device atop your monitor and watch it cue the mouse pointer with your head movements. X-Y coordinate controls apart, a virtual onscreen keyboard and clicking techniques are also included, as is a feature to snap your cursor to clickable items to speed up navigation. Smoothing controls dampen unwanted head movement. Controls can also be adjusted to accommodate users with a limited range of head movement. This is some head-turner!
Graham Bell’s first clunky telephonic ‘baby’ Bell was fashioned out of a funnel, a wooden stand, some copper wire, and a cup of acid. Wonder what he would say if he saw these quaint, quirky, multitasking tele-gadgets. Yes, the 170g AP-100 phone mouse has married its point-and-click talents to telecommunications to double up as a regular telephone, replete with an embedded dialling pad. Its earphone lends you hands-free capabilities.
For those with acute carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), this one here can prove to be a very handy option. This unique appliance is a foot-operated mouse—while one pedal controls cursor movement, the other is used for clicking. The pedals are made from an injection moulded plastic shell and feature a 360-degree, pressure sensitive mechanism. Apart from eliminating stress on the delicate hand-wrist area, it also reduces repetitive ‘keyboard-to-mouse travel time’ for the hands.
People with special needs can also consider the foot mouse and programmable pedals at:
Appearances can be deceptive, especially as far as the Mus2 goes. This snazzy ‘mouse pointer in an operating system’ look-alike is, in fact, a cordless optical two-button mouse “work-alike”. The uncomfortable vertical alignment of the left and right-click button clearly makes it a form-over-function desktop enhancement. A creation of Art Lebedev’s design studio, it comes with a USB receiver, is available in black or white ‘dull plastic that feels like thick suede to touch’, and is comfortable sniffing around in both Mac OS and Windows environments.
Logisys MS601BK Potical Finger Mouse
A completely revolutionary, even radical, optical mouse. In fact, it is actually an 800 dpi laser that is strapped to your index finger with velcro which you can point to any surface (except reflective glass) for cursor control. A desk, keyboard, wall, or even your own clothes, work fine as a functioning surface. It features a scroll wheel as well as left and right buttons (which you can manipulate with your thumb) to scroll and click through your applications. The mouse is wired to your computer through a 3ft-8-inch USB cloth cord.
CP-1 USB Spy Mouse
This killer roller ball is licensed to rat on you. For, lurking inside its otherwise propah, prissy, plasticky shell, is a condenser microphone capable of listening in on ambient conversations. This CP-1 USB Spy Mouse listener points, clicks and scampers about like any one of its non-furry desktop cousins, but has the sonic ability to eavesdrop on conversations while connected to a PC by transmitting them via a receiver—marked “for your ears only”!
Mario Bros-inspired USB Mouse
Feel like going really retro? This one looks geeky and isn’t exactly ergonomic. You can pick between Mr Mario himself or one of the Mario Brothers associated Gold Stars. It rolls along on the old mechanical ball apparatus. Windows, Mac OS and Linux compatible, 400dpi resolution, two-button, sans scroll wheel. But yes, fortunately it is USB plug-and-play. Maybe ideal for compulsive computer users afflicted with the carpal tunnel syndrome as you can’t stay in paws mode with one for long durations.
Logitech MX Air Mouse
No, it’s not the first recruit in the airborne mouse division. But unarguably among the best. Laser technology guides it cordlessly on your desk. Freespace motion sensing (a blend of micro electro mechanical systems (MEMS) sensors, digital signal processing (DSP), and radio frequency (RF) wireless technology) manoeuvres it in the air—upto 30ft away. The MX is amazingly responsive and accurate on surfaces (including uneven ones) and in the air. In-built algorithms negate involuntary hand-in the-air tremors beautifully. But why would you want to use a mouse in the air? Because a flying mouse is a tool nonpareil for PowerPoint presentation mavens who like to strut and squawk. Then, its backlit media function buttons for Play/Pause, Volume/Mute, Back and Select make it a neat remote device for across-the-room media management and mouse-capers—albeit an expensive one. Surprisingly , this energetic rodent’s rechargeable Li-ion juice pack doesn’t run out of horsepower easily either.
MoGo Mouse X54 Pro
A Bluetooth-enabled, two-button slim Jim that performs your onscreen point-and-click routines and doubles up as a wireless presentation tool at the flick of a switch. Sophisticated laser optics ensure smooth rites of cursor passage and control on most surfaces. In presentation mode, it is endowed with a start/escape button, a forward/backward slide changer as well as a laser pointer to highlight elements of your presentation. Storage and power? Your laptop’s PC card slot. While in residence, the X54 Pro has the aptitude to automatically charge itself within minutes of homing in. Road warriors will find that a neat feat.
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