So folks seemed to enjoy last week's crowdfunding picks post, and the Saturday morning time slot seemed to work, so we'll stick with it. Still not sure on a name, but someone suggested "awesome stuff," and it's hard to argue with that. I reserve the right to change it at some point, but at least this week, we're going with Awesome Stuff. And, this week we're also going to test out a "theme." These are three crowdfunding projects that all revolve around reinventing the mouse. It's been almost 45 years since the humble computer mouse was first demonstrated by Doug Engelbart, in a presentation that I rewatch every so often. It's quite incredible when you realize just how much of the future he's showing off. The clip below should start right at the point where he discusses the mouse (if not, it's right around 30 minutes, 45 seconds):
The humble mouse really hasn't changed that much in all those years, though we're starting to see the rise of so-called "smart mouses" (sometimes they don't seem so smart). Here are three crowdfunding projects that struck me as interesting, in that they really attempt to update the mouse in unique ways.
First up, we have the EGO! smartmouse, which does a whole variety of things to try to take the concept of a computer mouse further. Beyond regular mousing, and being able to work in 3 dimensions, rather than just 2 (yes, you can lift it up and gesture with it in the air), it also can easily authenticate and switch to different computers on the fly, even bringing files along with it. On top of that it can act as a remote control or a gaming controller. Some of these features we've seen elsewhere, but pulling them all together in one device seems pretty impressive.
Why does a mouse need to always sit next to your keyboard? What if it was wrapped around your finger? That's the premise behind the Mycestro. As someone who spends a lot of time moving my right hand between the keyboard and the mouse, there's something quite appealing about being able to keep my hands in one position and still be able to use the mouse. You can see the details in the video below. Like the EGO! mouse above, this is also a 3D mouse, recognizing gestures to move the mouse, but it also lets you click and scroll with your thumb. It's difficult to describe without seeing it in action, so check it out.
Finally, we have another Kickstarter project that ended yesterday without hitting its goal. I debated if we should still include it, but it definitely seems to fit with the theme. It's the Mauz device that clips onto an iPhone to turn the iPhone itself into a mouse. Like both of the above examples, it enables 3D gestures, but also has a lot of flexibility in terms of features that can be used on the screen. I'm somewhat surprised that it failed to reach its goal. This seems like the kind of Kickstarter project that would take off.
And there you go. It appears that the mouse is finally the center of some significant innovation. Of course, that might be happening just as all of our screens are becoming touchscreens, and the entire concept of the mouse becomes less relevant.