Microsoft has shown off its concepts for Mouse 2.0 – and how it could bring the humble pointing device up to date with multi-touch technology.
A paper written by Microsoft's research department presents "novel input devices that combine the standard capabilities of a computer mouse with multi-touch sensing".
"The traditional computer mouse design, however, makes little use of [the hand's] dexterity, reducing our hands to a single cursor on the screen," explains the report.
"Our fingers are often relegated to performing relatively simple actions such as clicking the mouse buttons or rolling the mouse wheels," it adds
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"With the emergence of multi-touch, we now have the opportunity to manipulate digital content with increased dexterity.
"But whilst multi-touch has been incorporated into many different form-factors – from tabletop to mobile phone – it has yet to find a place on our desktops. This may seem surprising, particularly given that for many computing tasks the desktop setting still dominates."
The designs are a mixture of left-field and fairly recognisable – but the prospect of multi-touch is a good one.
When will we see one of these mice? Well, there's a fair amount of work to be done first, with the report concluding: "In future work, we plan to refine our prototypes – both ergonomically, and in terms of their sensing capabilities – to deeper explore the interaction techniques that are specific to this new class of input devices."