One of the less reported features in Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich is going to be big for a certain subgroup of users. The new OS will support stylus input at the system level with features like pressure sensitivity, hover tracking, and detection of pen versus finger touch events. This should streamline implementation of this feature for OEMs, which seem to be chomping at the bit to roll it out.
Think of the all the things you can accomplish with the basic two-fingered mouse set-up. Using only one left-click and one right-click button, you can transfer money to a prince in Nigeria, pay all of your bills for a month, or save the world from Diablo, the Lord of Terror. Now imagine what you could do with five little touch-sensitive mice, each connected to a separate finger. Sound weird and crazy? It is. But that's not stopping Japan's Double Research & Development Co. from developing the wacky device.
Say what you will about Microsoft, but they’ve always made pretty good mice in our book. The Redmond giant’s new BlueTrack technology has made for some fairly lust-worthy pointing devices. Though, the pricing has been high thus far. Their newest offerings though, are priced at a mere $30 or less.
The Wireless Mouse 3500 is a smaller mouse aimed at notebook users. It has five buttons and the hand-contorting form factor common on notebook mice. The going price is $30. The Wireless Mouse 2000 is a more generously sized standard mouse with five buttons and a tilt wheel. This one also retails for $30. Finally we have the Comfort Mouse 4500. This unit is basically just the 2000 with a wire instead of wireless technology. This model will run only $25.
If you aren’t sold based on the price alone, the new BlueTrack mice are available in an assortment of colors to brighten your work station. Microsoft has gotten some kudos for the BlueTrack technology, and these new mice make the technology more accessible than ever. You might see these inexpensive mice in your office soon.
Saitek and Mad Catz have teamed up to create a next generation flight stick, but with a $400 price tag, and more buttons than a stealth bomber, only the most hardcore flight sim fans need apply. The X65F itself more closely mirrors the controls of a modern military aircraft because it responds to applied pressure, while still remaining fixed to the base.
The boys over at ars technica describe the feel of the X65F as “a heavy piece of metal in your hand- you won’t have to worry about keeping the stick steady or moving it around while you play-and after a while it simply feels as if the controls are reacting to your thoughts”.
This sounds like a great investment for PC flight sim fans, but with the death of the Microsoft Flight Simulator series, one wonders how big the market for this really is. It’s not like most people are going to be using this with Hawx are they?
Ever since Star Trek first introduced the concept of a voice controlled computer, people have been fascinated with the idea of inventing alternate input methods for everyday devices. Some of these involve mapping brain waves, but in a somewhat more down to earth approach, Microsoft is hoping to patent EMG muscle sensors that might finally pave the way for gesture based computing.
Microsoft Research, along with the Universities of Washington and Toronto have come up with a way of mapping muscle movements to simulate user inputs in a variety of different applications and all without the use of a single camera.The video demonstration which you can check out after the jump showcases a jogger using his fingers to switch the tracks on his iPod, and even rocking out with an air Guitar in Guitar hero.
In a lot of PC publications, it’s the CPUs, video cards and other internal hardware that gets all the attention, with input devices relegated to a few pages here or there in the reviews section. But why should that be the case? Input devices are, after all, your point of connection to your machine. As keyboards, mice and game controllers have evolved over the years, so has the way we control and interact with our computers. That’s why we’ve chosen to give them the respect they deserve—by compiling a list of 50 of the most important, memorable, or just downright wacky input devices from the past, present and future of computing.
We’ve arranged our retrospective into logical sections: mice, keyboards, game controllers, and miscellaneous peripherals. Within each section, we’ve arranged the input devices chronologically, so read through from the beginning to get a sense for each devices history, where it’s at today, and where it’s going in the future.