Engadget has snagged some of the details behind a bunch of multi-touch mouse prototypes
from Microsoft Research. The prototypes range from the wacky to the extreme, but at least they are thinking outside the mouse trap. "Each one uses a different touch detection method, and at first glance all five seem to fly in the face of regular ergonomics. The craziest two are probably "Arty," which has two articulated arms to cradle your thumb and index finger, with each pad housing its own optical sensor for mission-critical pinching gestures, and "Side Mouse" which is button free and actually detects finger touches in the table immediately in front of the palm rest. Of course, there's plenty of crazy in the FTIR, Orb Mouse and Cap Mouse (pictured), which rely on an internal camera, orb-housed IR camera and capacitive detection, respectively. Of course, there's no word on when these might actually see the light of day"