Bringing multi-touch technology to the desktop mice might seem trivial but Microsoft Research doesn’t just want to stop at a couple gestures. A group of researchers there have been thinking of new ways to redefine the dated but familiar traditional mice interaction model with new multi-touch-enabled ones.
In their report “Design and Evaluation of Interaction Models for Multi-touch Mice“, they acknowledge that a multi-touch mice has the potential to combine the best of surface computing with the ergonomic benefits of a mice, however existing prototypes and products including the Apple Magic Mouse might not be utilizing the technology to their full potential.
Using the prototype hardware they built, they designed four interaction models around an interesting idea that not only would the cursor be displayed on screen but also multi-touch visualizers that showed the fingers activity on the sensor, including if they were “activated” and how they are positioned. This also allowed the “hand” position of the cursor to be separated from the “finger” interaction controls in a graphical user interface.
Unfortunately their experiments with a dozen participants concluded all of their proposed models were slower than using a multi-touch screen or a three-buttoned mouse, but their findings establishes some groundwork for future research and development in the area.
I’m sure Microsoft Hardware is taking notes.