We have a tough time envisioning Mad Max wearing Nintendo's original Power Glove (even if it is "so bad"), but we could totally see Mel Gibson darting around the desert armed with SpecOps's new "wearable computer technology to provide enhanced situational awareness of the battle space for military soldiers to use in the field." Sounds as wicked as it looks, doesn't it?
"We saw that iKey had experience with the military and they had a unit similar to what we wanted," said Caroline Tucker, Executive Vice President of Sales and Business Development for SpecOps Systems. "The thing that impressed us the most about iKey was that we told them what we needed, and quickly had a conference call to discuss the details. Literally, within 24 hours, we had a prototype drawing. It was this focus on the customer that led us to go with iKey rather than any other vendor - we knew we had found a vendor who embraced our requirements."
That discussion led to the KYB-170-OEM, an ultra-compact plank measuring just 2.55 x 2.75 x 0.22 inches. There's a 17-key keypad crammed onto the sleeve that SpecOps says functions just like a cellphone does when texting. It also comes with an integrated micro Force Sensing Resistor (FSR) pointing device, which can be made with any color LED for use in the dark, a pretty important trait in a post-apocalyptic world.
No word yet on when this one will move out of the working prototype stage, but SpecOps did say it's currently testing the unit both in theater and stateside.
Straight out of Redmond's Hardware division this morning is the announcement of a new gaming keyboard, the SideWinder X4 Keyboard with "advanced anti-ghosting technology."
"We're always looking for new and novel ways to enhance people's interactions with their PCs," said Steven Bathiche, research manager of the Applied Sciences Group at Microsoft. "We know that ghosting can be a problem for gamers, so we wanted to develop a way to eliminate this issue and improve the overall gaming experience, and we've succeeded with the new anti-ghosting technology in the SideWinder X4 Keyboard."
More specifically, the new SideWinder's anti-ghosting tech allows gamers hopped up on Red Bull to furiously mash up to 26 keys simultaneously without the PC ever skipping a beat.
In addition to anti-ghosting, Microsoft's latest plank also boasts mode switching (standard mode and two gaming modes), automatic profile switching, programmable macro keys (three banks of six keys to assign up to 18 macros per profile), in-game macro recording, automatic macro repetition, backlit keys with three illumination levels, and media keys.
Nintendo's Wii was fun, for about a week. And while we admit there are still some Wii remote controlled games that still capture our attention, Nintendo hasn't delivered that knockout punch in motion control. Can there even be such a thing?
Razer and Sixense think so, and two have collaborated to bring motion sensing controls to the PC platform.
"Razer is extending its vision for PC gaming by partnering with Sixense on this exciting new endeavor," said Robert Krakoff, president, Razer USA. "The magnetic motion sensor technology combines precision and speed with the freedom of other motion sensing technologies to fill the gap between consoles and PC in terms of human interface devices."
The controllers use electromagnetic fields to track movement along all six axes and, according to Razer, the absolute controller position is tracked within a millimeter for positioning and to a degree for orientation.
Razer and Sixense have also been working with Valve, who has signed on to support the technology and was showing off a special version of Left 4 Dead 2 programmed specifically with the motion controller in mind.
We don't know when it's going to happen or who's going to do it, but someone's going to kill the Kindle. Or at the very least, many will try. That includes Samsung, who at CES announced two new e-book readers, the 6-inch E6 and 10-inch E10.
"We've used our expertise to create a high-quality e-book with today's on-the-go consumer in mind," said Young Bae, director of display marketing, Samsung Information Technology Division. "Samsung is addressing a common frustration that users experience with many of today's digital readers with a stylus that allows them to annotate their favorite works or take notes. Coupled with wireless functionality that enables sharing of content, this is a truly multi-faceted device."
The challenge for Samsung (and everyone else) is that just about everywhere you turn, someone is releasing an e-book reader. To stand out from the crowd, both of Samsung's upcoming units will come with handwriting capabilities, allowing users to write directly on the display with the built-in electromagnetic resonance (EMR) stylus pen.
Other features include low power consumption (Samsung claims just four hours of charge time is enough to last up to two weeks of use), Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi.
The E6 and E10 will be available in "early 2010" for $400 and $700 (yikes!), respectively.
We don't have a DoDoNA S-100 MP3 player in front of us to evaluate, so for all we know, it could be the greatest sounding media device on the planet. And if all the attention was put into how it sounds, that would certainly explain why the aesthetics received so little attention.
While the cube design won't win any ergonomic awards, more befitting an MP3 player is the OLED display, albeit measuring just 1.1 inches. The DoDoNA also boasts an FM radio, built-in speaker, voice recording, and support for MP3, WMA, OGG, and FLAC. On the memory front, the S-100 comes equipped with just 4GB of internal Flash.
Probably most egregious, however, is the price tag - the thing runs $170.
Ambidextrous and left-handed mouse users can stop reading now. That's because Razer's newest gaming rodent -- the Imperator -- was designed exclusively with righties in mind.
"Ergonomics and control were the key objectives with this mouse," said Robert "Razerguy" Krakoff, president, Razer. "Your grip stays locked and planted no matter how often you lift and swipe your mouse while playing. One of the typical complaints of gamers is the difficulty in reaching the side or thumb buttons on a mouse. We have pioneered adjustable side buttons that slide and lock into your ideal thumb position. You just can't get a more custom tailored fit than the Razer Imperator."
In addition to its right-handed ergonomics and adjustable side buttons, the new Imperator boasts a 5600dpi 3.5G laser sensor, 50g acceleration (up to 200 inches per second), 1000Hz ultrapolling with a 1ms response rate, on the fly sensitivity adjustment, and Teflon feet.
The Imperator is available now direct from Razer for $80.
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.
It looks like we'll have to wait a little bit longer for Asus' Eee Keyboard, which was was supposed to launch in October. That didn't happen, nor does it look like we'll see the keyboard this month because it hasn't yet passed wireless regulation testing in te U.S. and Europe. How long that will take is anyone's guess, and it's up in the air whether Asus will manage to ship the Eee Keyboard in time for the holidays.
Perhaps turning lemons into lemonade, Asus said it will use the delay to its advantage by beefing up the hardware specs. The company plans to swap the CPU for one that is faster, and it will get a new OS too. On top of it all, the Eee Keyboard will add capacitive touchscreen capabilities. All this while still checking in around the $500 mark.
We'll update you with more info as soon as we have it.
Aside from adding more buttons and tweaking the ergonomics, there hasn't been a ton of innovation when it comes to the actual design of the computer mouse. That's part of what made Apple's announcement of its multitouch Magic Mouse so interesting, even if you couldn't see yourself using one. And judging by Microsoft's recent prototypes, multitouch rodents could become the next fad in PC peripherals.
"If the [traditional] mouse pointer is your virtual fingertip, we're giving you a virtual hand," says Dan Rosenfeld, a researcher with Microsoft's Applied Sciences Group in Redmond, WA.
Rosenfeld points out that multitouch surfaces exist for tabletops, computer monitors, and smartphones, but "there's really nothing addressing the kind of tasks that lots of people do all day long, sitting in front of a desk at a computer."
This is where Microsoft's prototypes come in. The funky designs look different than any computer mouse you've seen before, and that's the whole point - they are different. Microsoft's Articulated Mouse, for example, comes with finger rests for your thumb and index finger. Three optical sensors then track your movement in each of the two arms of the mouse and the main base.
But the question remains: Is there even a market for multitouch mice? Apple and Microsoft seem hellbent on finding out.
We're not sure how we would envision a $1,200 mouse, but we're pretty sure it wouldn't resemble the Titanium Mouse by Intelligent Design. Yet that's how much the Dutch outfit says their rodent is worth. So what do you get in exchange for all those ducats?
A handcrafted Bluetooth laser mouse, for starters. Intelligent Design says the body is finished in hand-formed grade 1 titanium and high-quality plastic (resin). The $1,200 rodent also integrates a 3-button neodymium scroll wheel, and how can you put a price on neodymium?
It's wireless and runs on two AAA batteries, and it boasts support for Windows XP, Vista, 7, and Mac OS X. But then again, if you have $1,200 to spare on an mouse, you could probably just hire someone to move your existing rodent for you, and fetch your lunch while you're at it.
This did, however, get us thinking. What's the most you would ever consider paying for a mouse? Hit the jump and sound off!