More than two years of hard work, countless prototypes, and intense collaboration with team members around the globe are just a few of the things that went into the creation of the Microsoft Touch Mouse, a new device created exclusively for Windows 7 that was announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Im Hrvoje Benko, one of the researchers behind the new Touch Mouse and I actually work for Microsoft Research. This mouse started as a research project back in 2008, mostly as a brainchild of my colleagues Dan Rosenfeld, Shahram Izadi, Nicolas Villar, John Helmes and me. Back at the start, we were all interested in the idea of merging the precision and pointing benefits of standard mice with the rich interactions that we had with multitouch devices, such as Microsoft Surface, and wanted to see if we could bring multitouch interactions to the desktop without losing the benefits of interacting with the keyboard or the mouse.
So over the next year we worked on several hardware prototypes and many application scenarios in what became known as the Mouse 2.0 project. You may have heard about it before we showed five prototypes publicly in October 2009, and ultimately settled on the Cap Mouse (image at left) to develop into a consumer product. We chose the Cap Mouse for many technical and design reasons, but mostly because it allowed for flexibility in the design of a wireless device, with rich multitouch gestures, while still having a familiar form factor for people to grip their mouse and easily point and click. We worked in close collaboration with the Hardware team and the Cambridge Innovation Development team to develop a new multitouch mouse for Windows 7.
The mouse you see today is the best input device for Windows 7. It does everything youre used to doing with a mouse, but also adds gestures with one, two or three fingers. The gestures work like this:
One Finger lets you manage the content of a document or webpage moving one finger lets you precisely scroll in any direction and hyperscroll through long documents with a quick flick of your finger, while using your thumb lets you move back/forward easily through your internet browser.
Two Fingers lets you manage multiple windows by maximizing, minimizing, restoring, and snapping them side-by-side.
Three Fingers lets you navigate the whole desktop three fingers up to display all of your open windows for easy task switching or three fingers down for clearing the desktop entirely.
Here is a video to demonstrate just how this works take a look:
Explore further: Will our smart gadgets become trusted or oppressive companions?
More information: research.microsoft.com/~benko