The computer mouse has been with us for decades, helping us point and click our way from the first Apple Macintosh and Windows 1.0 to more complex OSes--some may say overly so--like Windows Vista, Mac OS X, and 'Hardy Heron' (aka Ubuntu 8.04). Despite adding and removing buttons along the way, dropping a cord or two, and becoming available for both left and right-handed users, the mouse really hasn't changed much over these last few decades: you roll it about on a flat surface, use your index finger to click a button or two, and a mouse pointer does your bidding on the display unit of your choice.
Now Simtrix, a New Zealand-based computer peripheral developer, has introduced its Swiftpoint line of pointing devices. Simtrix claims that the design of their new products "represents a radical new mouse technology poised to finally allow consumers to enjoy the full power of a desktop mouse & keyboard within a mobile environment."
It's a bold claim, and one that becomes more intriguing when you actually see what the devices look like. The Swiftpoint TriPed slips over the thumb and is primarily meant to be used with touch tablets, tablet PCs and other devices that generally rely on a pen or stylus for input. When it's not being used and is "at rest" on a desk or table, the gadget resembles a prosthetic device that an injured Pokémon may use to hobble between matches.
The second product in the Swiftpoint product line is the Swiftpoint Slider, which is primarily designed to be used with laptops. This aptly-named device cradles your thumb, and can then be slid over the keys on your laptop keyboard, effectively turning that relatively flat surface into a large mouse pad. It seems like an ingenious solution to business travelers who are often forced to fumble about with mice, trackpoints, and touch pads while trying to work in the cramped veal pens that airlines call "seats" these days.
We'll try to get our hands on both the Slider and the TriPed for a proper product review; after we've managed to get past the "node password" that is preventing us from accessing the media information page on the Simtrix site. In the interim, check out the Simtrix website for more information, or check out a short BBC video clip of the Simtrix Slider in action.