Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Input Devices

EvoMouse Turns Your Digits Digital 110

Posted by timothy
from the would-you-say-there-is-a-plethora? dept.
cylonlover writes "With the plethora of mouse alternatives available or in development you'd be forgiven for thinking the humble computer mouse was some kind of torturous device inflicted upon computer users. But despite a multitude of challengers, the mouse has maintained its dominance while remaining largely unchanged since its unveiling in 1968. Now there's another alternative cursor relocation device set to hit the market called the evoMouse that turns just about any flat surface into a virtual trackpad with your finger as the pointer."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

EvoMouse Turns Your Digits Digital

Comments Filter:
  • by fortunato (106228) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @03:21AM (#35500974)

    I'd be happy if Microsoft re-released the Trackball Explorer. It's never been bested as far as trackballs go.

    • I've got one of those and it still works great, even though I have to occasionally (like every day or so) pop the ball out to wipe the gunk off the bearings or blow dust out of the sensor.

    • by YoshiDan (1834392)

      I think this was the best trackball ever made by MS. http://www.bltt.org/hardware/easyball.htm [bltt.org]

      Look, 1 button. Just like Apple!

  • by sammyF70 (1154563) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @03:23AM (#35500984) Homepage Journal
    using a logitech trackball right now, works on every surface, needs extremely little space, I don't need to push a mouse, and it looks nice and not like something out of a japanese manga for pre-schooler ... so ... what's the point of the evomouse again?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Yes this works for you. For me I would rather stab myself in the eyes than use a trackball. That means that the demand for this product will be non-zero and thus it can potentially be sold for profit. So that is the point of the evomouse to be sold for profit to people who are not you.

      • by tehcyder (746570)

        Yes this works for you. For me I would rather stab myself in the eyes than use a trackball. That means that the demand for this product will be non-zero and thus it can potentially be sold for profit. So that is the point of the evomouse to be sold for profit to people who are not you.

        You don't understand, on slashdot if it's not what I want, it's worthless. And probably only used by elderly homosexuals, or communists, or someting.

        • by nagnamer (1046654)

          You don't understand, on slashdot if it's not what I want, it's worthless. And probably only used by elderly homosexuals, or communists, or someting.

          On slashdot, everyone's a gay communist gramp.

    • by hitmark (640295)

      no moving parts?

    • A touchpad can beat both any day of the week.
  • by martin-boundary (547041) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @03:28AM (#35501008)
    Reminds me of the virtual laser keyboard [thinkgeek.com] that came out a few years back. Is there anyone out there who actually bought one and used it regularly (or, like, more than 5 minutes)?
    • by VortexCortex (1117377) <VortexCortex AT ... trograde DOT com> on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @07:55AM (#35502044)

      Reminds me of the virtual laser keyboard [thinkgeek.com] that came out a few years back. Is there anyone out there who actually bought one and used it regularly (or, like, more than 5 minutes)?

      Yeah, I have one. Funny thing about typing is that fingers need a resistance buffer (ala buckling springs [daskeyboard.com]) so that you can rest your fingers without triggering a key-press, and get feedback (even, mmm audible clacks) to notify you to stop pressing.

      I have tried using the laser keyboard, and it fails in the same way that all touch-pads & touch-screens do.

      • No resting position
      • No physical response to keypress
      • No pressure buffer

      By "pressure buffer" I mean that pressure goes from none to 100% ALL STOP on each press using any touch surface. This is retarded behavior (seriously, retards my typing speed considerably), and causes more repetitive stress due to the equal/opposite forces slamming into the end of your fingers each time you press.

      Set your keyboard aside, and pretend to type on the desk -- It HURTS after an hour or so. The mechanical keyboards & mice are truly far superior. My normal speed of 80wpm drops to 50wpm with the laser keyboard. Hint: I can touch type, but the laser can't notify me by touch where the damn keys are at...constant readjustments are required.

      On the topic of pointer input...

      Hello touch interface users: Welcome to the next round of: Rub your fingertips off (or alternatively: Really Expensive Writers Cramp).

      Even if you put down a flexible mat in front of the EvoMouse to reduce finger impact strain, and grease it up to reduce the finger friction burns, you still have to deal with either "flying fingers" or "repetitive keyboard to pointer reach" -- No restful position.

      Look where your pointer hand is even when you're reading: Resting on the mouse / trackball / keyboard, ready to scroll past this nonsense at the press of a button or roll of a wheel (Hint: remap Capslock to Ctrl and use ctrl + IJKL (CHTN on Dvorak) as arrow keys... no more arrow key reach stress). Touch users will be hovering their finger above the scroll region, or else will have to reach to scroll.

      I prefer pen-tablets, mice, trackballs, keyboards... Why anyone thinks that an "insubstantial" interface is intuitive is beyond me -- we have nerves tuned for mechanical manipulation and touch feedback. Here's a brilliant Idea: Let's utilize our senses / nerves, not make them less important; Let's also stop labeling input methods that require even more motor skills than finger twitch, wrist move as "innovative".

      The Wacom Intuos4 pen-tablet [wacom.com] comes with a "wireless" mouse that doesn't take batteries -- NO, I said NO batteries, not "it's a rechargeable bullshit battery that you have to charge" -- I mean, It works just like the damn pen does, the tablet senses the mouse.

      I just move the mouse aside and begin drawing with the pen to switch back and forth. No wires (except on the pad itself), and Bonus: Gimp recognizes the pen-tip, pen-eraser, and mouse all as separate pointers with their own tool selection auto activated when they are above the pad. Draw, flip pen to erase, grab mouse to arrange & composite.

      I get both: The precision & natural feel of a pressure sensitive "touch" pen-tablet, and the restful comfort & familiarity of a mouse for every day point / click / scrollwheel.

      Touch / Laser input be damned. You're right, it's neat for 5min -- Keep the box & re-gift them; These touch input devices are a toys, not real "work" devices (by this I mean that if you do most of your work by key/pointer input touch devices are horribly inefficient & inaccurate at best -- The touch devices would probably be fine for a manager or C*O who doesn't require comfortable

      • by wagnerrp (1305589)
        The only place I could see something like a virtual keyboard or mouse being of use would be a kitchen, or other similar location where your hands are likely to get messy. At home, you could use it for pulling up recipes and such. In a business, it could be an interface for tracking orders, cook timers, or inventory management. Have an all-in-one unit mounted underneath a cabinet, and the keyboard/mouse projecting down on the counter top below it. A counter is a lot easier to clean off than computer equipmen
        • by YoshiDan (1834392)
          I've seen those floppy cheap rubber keyboards used in a few places like that. I always thought they were just a stupid novelty thing but it does seem they are actually useful for something.
      • by YoshiDan (1834392)
        I have a Das Keyboard, and it is really nice (for 200 bucks it would want to be!) They don't use buckling spring switches though; IBM has a patent on that. They use Cherry MX switches.
        • I have a Das Keyboard, and it is really nice (for 200 bucks it would want to be!) They don't use buckling spring switches though; IBM has a patent on that. They use Cherry MX switches.

          You're correct, however:
          1. All keys are "springy" (you don't have to pull the key back up before you press it down again).
          2. The finger motion/pressure curves are damn near identical to IBM's "buckling springs".

          So here we have a Cherry MX switch: Its resistance buckles (drops off) after a pressure threshold has been reached, and springs back into position when pressure is removed... Call me crazy, but that's a buckling spring action, even if it's not using a coil of metal as it's spring/buckle mechan

      • by nagnamer (1046654)

        I've used touchpads on many laptops, and I've figured out most of what you say is true if you mostly work with a mouse. But then, you really want a mouse or a pen tablet in those cases. However, for light mouse usage (for example, when I'm writing something or programming), touch pads just get the job done, and they're not causing too much strain. On Acer laptop, I had a very slick surface on the touch pad, and I never had any problem with it, provided I didn't do anything mouse-heavy.

  • No thanks! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Retron (577778) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @03:29AM (#35501012)
    I can't stand trackpads (of any nature), they feel unnatural and clunky to me. Things such as a precision drag and drop across the desktop seem almost impossible for me and no, I don't have massive chunky fingers! It's a pity that the other two methods of control on a laptop (Trackpoint and trackball) seem to have fallen out of favour, with the notable exception of Lenovo (which owes that to its IBM heritage of course). I did once see a review of a laptop which had a mini-mouse pop out on a stalk, but that wouldn't have been very comfortable to use.

    The thought of using a trackpad out of choice on a desktop (even if it's a fancy virtual trackpad) is a turn-off to me. I'll be keeping my Microsoft mouse, thank you! (I just wish you could still buy the original Intellimouse Explorer, that was the most comfortable mouse I've ever used....)
    • by sammyF70 (1154563)
      I agree. Different tools for different jobs. Mices, trackballs and drawing pads all have their advantages with different tasks, but somehow I'm still searching for an area in which trackpads (and trackpads-like devices like the evomouse) have re better than (or are even as good as) more traditional devices.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        The only two I can think of are laptops, and rackmount keyboard/mouse trays

        • Why oh WHY would you need a mouse on a rack-mount server?!? I can see a keyboard for the installation phase or debugging (loss of network), but a MOUSE?
          • Why oh WHY would you need a mouse on a rack-mount server?!? I can see a keyboard for the installation phase or debugging (loss of network), but a MOUSE?

            You've never had to administer a Windows rack-mount server, I see.

        • ...I'm still searching for an area in which trackpads (and trackpads-like devices like the evomouse) have re better than (or are even as good as) more traditional devices.

          The only two I can think of are laptops, and rackmount keyboard/mouse trays

          But the keyboard clit (curiously called a TrackPoint by IBM/Lenovo) is better than trackpads in every way.

          The trackpad is one of the first items I disable on a laptop. Luckily with Dell laptops the "pointing stick" (yet another curious name for the keyboard clit) and trackpad can be independently disabled.

          • by sjames (1099)

            I find the eraser entirely useless personally, the cursor ends up being tristate, hard left, hard right, and anywhere but where I want it. The trackpad actually works. The trackball is sorta OK except it has moving parts and no tap to click.

      • by Darinbob (1142669)

        The advantage of trackpads is when you don't actually have a mouse, or don't have room for a mouse. Thus they're useful for hand held devices.

    • Re:No thanks! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by opinionbot (1940160) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @03:52AM (#35501074)
      Agreed. Especially for small laptops / netbooks, I find trackpads extremely annoying to use and far prefer to use Trackpoints. As your hands are already resting on the keyboard, it's a tiny movement to get to the mouse, and it doesn't feel so cramped. The main annoyance of trackpads though is that when typing it's extremely easy to accidentally hit the trackpad, shifting the cursor or focus (yes on some laptops you can disable the mouse when typing, but I don't find it a very good solution). I can see that trackpoints are no use at all for games, but neither are netbooks and generally when I'm at a computer I'm typing.

      Unfortunately we seem to be in a minority, and finding laptops with trackpoints is really hard. Impressed with the sturdiness of Lenovo laptops (still using an IBM-branded X41 from 2006), but you do pay through the nose for them...

      In summary: Bring back Trackpoint (and get off my lawn)!

      • I agree with the typing thing, and was thus very pleased when I acquired my most recent laptop; it has a button placed just above the trackpad that toggles it on and off, just below the spacebar. This is disproportionately useful.
      • Apparently all of you guys are either constantly typing drunk, or are using off center, shallow, coarse, and placed way too close to the keyboard touchpads. They are probably insensitive as a middle-aged Japanese woman on meth. Get yourself a decent laptop (though I always considered Lenovo to be grade A quality), and learn to rest your hands appropriately. Hell, I have issues with tying my shoelaces, yet keep a steady 80 wpm on this old but nice FSC AMILO.
    • Things such as a precision drag and drop across the desktop seem almost impossible for me

      To me, I find I can do that just as well with a trackpad as with a mouse, as long as I can use the trackpad surface as a button (so you can use your thumb to click and another finger to drag).

      I also prefer trackpads for gestures, two finger scrolling is way better than any scroll wheel or nub or whatever, that I have ever used.

    • by AK Marc (707885)

      I did once see a review of a laptop which had a mini-mouse pop out on a stalk, but that wouldn't have been very comfortable to use.

      How long ago? The only one I can think of is the HP Omnibook 800, and that's been out of production for over 10 years. And it wasn't as bad as you'd think, other than the mouse itself was too small (and lefties were screwed). Here's a review I found that's still up and has a picture of it, though not a good one...

      http://www.pcpro.co.uk/reviews/laptops/1185/hp-omnibook-800ct [pcpro.co.uk]

      • by Retron (577778)
        That's scary, as that's exactly the machine I was thinking of, even the same magazine article too! I hadn't realised it was that long ago though, how time flies...
        • by AK Marc (707885)
          Come on, this is slashdot. If some anonymous geek doesn't read your mind 10 times a day, you should turn in your geek card. It didn't hurt that I happened to be phone support for that machine back then either.
    • by beelsebob (529313)

      It very much depends on the trackpad. Those put on toshiba laptops for example have regularly caused me to nearly throw the thing out the window. On the other hand, the rather lovely ones on Macs are so good that I now use one of apple's "Magic" trackpads as my desktop pointing device – I actually prefer it to a mouse.

  • So the summary is usually just copied verbatim from the article, right?
  • ... that turns just about any flat surface into a virtual trackpad ...
    Great, I don't need my trackball anymore. Oh wait...

    Described by its creators Celluon as the next evolution of the mouse, the evoMouse works in a similar way to the Invisible Computer Mouse we looked at last year – but is infinitely cuter.
    Awww...cute. I am glad you did not mean a mouse on streoids, like those rats in Fallout 3.

    Two infrared sensors that form the eyes of the small animal-shaped device track the user's finger
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Yes, in its natural position I always point my finger forward and down.

      This is slashdot, so we know that in the natural position the finger is pointed upward.

  • Sandpaper! (Score:5, Funny)

    by macraig (621737) <(mark.a.craig) (at) (gmail.com)> on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @03:59AM (#35501088)

    I choose sandpaper as my evoMouse work surface. The added bonus is that when my wife is murdered and they suspect me as the culprit there won't be any fingerprints for them to lift off the hammer.

  • Ergonomics (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Feinu (1956378) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @03:59AM (#35501090)
    Accuracy aside, the ergonomics for touch based devices are terrible. Repetitive large movements in the wrists and fingers are bad whether you're moving a mouse around or dragging your finger on a surface. High resolution mice which only require an inch of movement to cross an entire screen provide good accuracy while minimising wrist and finger movement.
    • I have a Microsoft Comfort Optical Mouse 3000 (Great name, yeah?) with the red side button mapped to reduce the DPI 80%. I hold that button and I get 5x the accuracy, be it for gaming or image manipulation. I've not found a better solution so far.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Higher end gaming mice like the G9x or G700 have remappable default buttons which adjust DPI by up to ~5 preconfigured settings.

        • Yes, but I don't need 5 pre-configured DPI settings. I'd need to re-adjust my movements for every change, or the change isn't worth it. With just two settings ("High speed" and "High precision") I can manage every possible movement I could possible require. "Kind of fast but slower than almost as fast as the fastest setting" is a little overkill, IMHO.

          Plus, you can get the Comfort Optical 3000 for £11. Either of those you suggested come out at at least 4x that.
    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      Best input device so far is the keyboard. Most fingers in use (sometimes all ten) leading it to be very efficient, plus the fingers do not move very far at all (except for those not trained in touch typing). Next up is the modern mouse I think. Compare to the bricks used in the early 80s and these are very efficient and ergonomic, involving very little hand movement or pressure. The places where the mouse is not very good are also places where a trackpad is not very good either.

    • How is this better than a touchpad?
  • Latency (Score:4, Interesting)

    by fleeped (1945926) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @04:08AM (#35501102)
    If you notice the video, there's quite a bit of latency between the physical action and the response on the screen. Which is kinda normal as this thing needs to do quite a bit of processing. From my experience with another mouse that for some reason had latency, slow response is *very, very* frustrating. So, no matter how cute it is, I can't see it succeeding in the market, not even as a device for a niche market.
    I can't see it being very good for the fingers as well. Ok we use smartphones using fingers on touchscreens quite a bit, but for a device that boasts that it's the evolution of mouse they should have thought that 2-3 minutes (smartphone quick use, on the road, whatever) is very different from desktop/laptop use (could be hours).
    Get this mouse == Welcome to my-fingers-hurt-and-input-is-now-freakin-slow world.
    • by wagnerrp (1305589)

      Ok we use smartphones using fingers on touchscreens quite a bit, but for a device that boasts that it's the evolution of mouse they should have thought that 2-3 minutes (smartphone quick use, on the road, whatever) is very different from desktop/laptop use (could be hours).

      This most certainly is an evolution of the mouse. It's every bit as much as the addition of extra buttons, or a scroll wheel, or an optical pickup. You have to remember that evolution is unguided, and completely random. Fortunately, in our current computing environment, it will be heavily selected against, and die off quickly.

  • Let's see: (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @04:16AM (#35501122)

    New device for sale soon? Check
    Summary direct copypasta? Check
    No testing or analysis performed? Check
    Posted by Timothy? Check

    Classic Slashvertisement. Come on editors, you're supposed to be better than this (I know, I must be new here, but I did say 'supposed').

  • It irks me to have to lift my hands from the keyboard to mouse around. I was thinking about a new design - how about a new combined mouse/keyboard system?

    I'm imagining two chording modules; one for each hand. But each module is meant to be placed on the desk, with an optical sensor on the bottom. Not only do you get to mouse without lifting your hands off the 'keyboard', but you could open up a whole new library of gesture-based commands.

    • You cannot move half of the keyboard from your normal typing position.
      Trackpoints work very well and without the need to put your hand off the keyboard. Some are hard to aim with but the trackpoints from Lenovo are awesome.
    • I'm waiting for someone to combine the evoMouse with the laserKeyboard from thinkgeek. Just add a dynamic texture mat (for textile feedback) and I'd be happy!
      • Their video shows that the evoMouse works as a keyboard with an 'optional mat' that takes the place of the laser projection.
        • Yes, but moving the mat in/out of your work area is even worse than moving 1 hand over to the mouse. I'm talking about a texture mat that goes completely smooth in "mouse mode" then has raised areas when in keyboard mode.
          • by monkyyy (1901940)

            that wouldnt happen easily
            maybe tiny bumps could work instead, ones not to big to get in the way but still noticeable

    • by pinkushun (1467193) * on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @09:14AM (#35502830) Journal

      New Paradigm: Vi key bindings for all navigation. Really, its great! Try some web browser addons for this, you'll see what I mean.

  • by FatLittleMonkey (1341387) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @04:50AM (#35501220)

    I'm puzzled why this doesn't have a pico-projector. With no physical feedback, seeing what you're touching would make it a much more useful device. Especially after the hardware-hacker community got stuck into it.

    For example, even if it isn't accurate/fast enough to replace the mouse, it can add another layer of input that might still result in sales from the first gen device. (Especially if it didn't steal focus from the main screen.)

  • So it must be time for another "Mouse Killer" story...
  • Reminds me of my fingerworks plate - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FingerWorks [wikipedia.org] - "we have reinvented the mouse". Nice, but the same basic problem.

    No physical buttons! This is important, because it means that button presses must be made by interpreting the users gestures. And with interpretation comes misinterpretation. Software sometimes guesses wrong. And if it does that in an "unpredictable" or "random" way (I know it is an algorithm, but "random" from the user point of view) the user will (consciously or

    • by Chelloveck (14643)

      I've never really liked trackpads. I always thought they were better than the alternatives on a laptop (I really don't like the trackpoint nipple pointers) but they were always severely lacking.

      Then my office bought me a MacBook Pro with the snazzy multitouch trackpad. Wow. This sucker is almost good enough to replace the mouse. Smooth as silk even after a year of heavy use. Two-finger scroll completely makes up for the lack of a scrollwheel. I just wish the thing had multiple, separate buttons instea

  • I like to use my laptop in bed sometimes while my wife is watching some crap on TV. I can just imagine her expression when I rest the EvoMouse between her breasts so that I can use her stomach as the 'Virtual Trackpad'.
    "It's OK Darling, the instruction manual tells me I can use... oh crap - it said 'Any flat surface'.".

  • by Anonymous Coward

    But despite a multitude of challengers, the mouse has maintained its dominance while remaining largely unchanged since its unveiling in 1968

    Umm, NO. The mouse of today is nothing at all like the mouse of 1968. Well, other than the fact you hold something in your palm, face-down, and move it around a flat surface. I haven't seen a mouse that used a trackball in years. The ones I have are all cordless. They weight almost nothing, are VERY precise, and are available in a wide range of sizes and shapes so anybody can find one that feel comfortable. They pretty much all have a minimum of three buttons plus a scrollwheel, and most of them these days

    • by Dunbal (464142) *
      I agree that saying the mouse is "unchanged" is like comparing a modern day car to a Model T. While cars today still have 4 wheels and are used for transport, that is where the comparison ends.

      Today's mice work in fundamentally different way, using laser diodes to detect astoundingly small movements compared to the mechanical mice of antiquity that used other, less accurate means - from variable resistance to spinning disks with photo-optics.

  • I would like a cursor relocation device that turns my left nipple into a trackpoint interface.
  • ...is better than moving the hand freely.

    Personally, I want immediate cursor response. If it takes 50 ms to track my finger I'm out.

  • Now I can finally use my dick for something useful!

  • The primary immediate issues, that make it unuseable for myself.

    - I don't lift my fingers to click. I gently press. I don't want to have to start lifting.
    - Latency.
    - Awkward scrolling.
    - Muscle tension from having to hold any part of my hand off the surface at any time.
    - Lacks the other 5 buttons I use on my mouse.

    The reason the mouse hasn't "changed" much in the last 20 years is because it works great.

  • couldn't the kinect do this?

    I couldn't see a price, but this looks like it would fall under the "expensive gimmicky gadget" price range. At least with a kinect when you get bored of using it with a mouse, you can do something cool with it. I'm sure this would be either close to, or even more expensive than, the kinect.
  • Just reading this article is making the tips of my fingers feel funny. What a horribly painful notion... rubbing my finger tips on a surface for 4-6 hours a day.
  • Thanks for the fantastic Three Amigos reference.

  • Sprained my right wrist and mouse use over the course of the day causes pretty bad pain, even with a stiff brace. I'd kill for that eyeball tracking "mouse" right now.
  • it was from Iomega I think. It was a pen you could write with and it appeared on the screen. Cool idea, but the tracking was always skewed a bit so it was useless for drawing. If you drew a square it looked like a trapazoid. It'd be neat if they fixed this.

    Now, what I'd kill for is a 'mouse' that kept me from having to leave home row :D.
  • Great article, and great product ;) For the Dutch people who are reading this post, you can subscribe at the Dutch evoMouse [evomouse.nl] website to stay updated. Thanks
  • There's a comment I don't understand. From one button to two button to three button + scroll wheel. From ball on the bottom to 2 separate rollers to ball on top (trackball). From optical trackball back to optical mouse (that was the order for optics). And now Magic Trackpad, which is IMHO better than any of those others.

    Still changing? Sure. But unchanged? Hardly.

One small step for man, one giant stumble for mankind.

Working...