Microsoft Touch Mouse

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This year at CES we announced a new multitouch mouse called the Microsoft Touch Mouse. This is a full multitouch device made to work exclusively with Windows 7 (it will work as a normal wireless mouse on other systems, but no touch.)  The mouse includes a number of gestures that help you perform common tasks like minimizing, paging and panning functions with just swipes of your fingers without your hand having to leave the mouse for your keyboard. The mouse has a micro-dongle and our BlueTrack technology for use on normally challenging surfaces like glass or marble.

Debbie Uttecht from the hardware team invited me to take a first look at this hardware, after going through the proper pre-CES security measures, of course. Smiley  The new mouse will be available later this year from retailers, with pre-order at the Microsoft Store.




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    The Discussion

    • Hallmanac

      Man, that looks cool.  Especially the window switcher.  I would use that a lot.  I work dailiy in 3D CAD environments where I am constantly panning around by pressing and holding the center mouse wheel (a.k.a. "Center Click"); how does this mouse do something similar?

    • Jazmac

      Very nice.  This I could own.  Thanks Channel9.

    • wooncherk

      wahaha... i want this!!! hehe... Tongue Out

    • liux0229

      This is so cool! Cannot wait to buy one...

    • USArcher

      Thanks for the video.  Device looks great but I wonder why no zoom or rotate gestures?  These seem fairly easy to implement.

    • LarryLarsen

      @USArcher: I asked about that before the video but forgot to ask on camera. Debbie said they found that zoom and rotate are things that people really don't do that often, you can just as easily reach for the control key to zoom, and that to do the zoom and rotate you have to change the position of your hand on the mouse. Also, and this is my opinion, I suspect those gestures would "step on" some of the other gestures and make an experience that isn't as solid. One of the things she stressed is they wanted this mouse to have a great experience, it should always do what you expect it to so it becomes easy and intuitive.

    • magicalclick

      Can we program the command ourselves? I see a lot of potentials from it. But, we need more devs experiement on it.

    • xyztwentyth​ree

      Is there a way I can do a middle click? I tend to use these very often to open links in new tabs. Otherwise, I really like this mouse, especially the thumb gesture

    • wisnia

      Looks very iteresting Smiley I just got my Arc Touch but this also looks very tempting.

    • kettch

      @xyztwentythree:Middle click ++

    • Bas

      I'm actually dissapointed that it won't be out for another six months. It looks ideal, especially the snapping and thumb history thing. I'm wondering though: what about batteries? Having to switch penlights and keep them in a separate charger is cumbersome, I'd rather just stick the mouse itself in a dock when I'm done. Is there such a thing for this mouse?

      Also, I'm wondering how the one-finger scrolling works. This is hard to explain, so bare with me. Scrolling up and down, I assume, is a top to bottom swipe to scroll down and bottom to top to scroll up (like a mouse scroll wheel). But then I saw Debbie scroll the page around, and it looked like she was dragging the page around (like you would when using a touchscreen), and that looked intuitive too. However, the directions are reversed: if you push the page up (which would essentially scroll the page down) you'd push from bottom to top, and vice versa. So either you need to switch between simulating a scroll wheel and simulating a touch screen, or it's one of the other. How does it work?

    • USArcher

      @Larry, thanks for the explanation.  Its just that I recall zoom/rotate being demonstrated in the older research videos.  I was sort of looking forward to using these gestures with Bing Maps.

      @bas, I was wonder this too. Just guessing, but it might be translating gestures to scrollbar actions or keyboard shortcuts.  I don't think you can use the mouse surface to draw in MS Paint for example.

    • Kode

      This is brilliant! But Windows 7 only? Seriously... does this really mean no Vista?
      I have a laptop with 7, but my desktop is what I want to use it on, and that has Vista 64 installed (and I have no complains and not the budget to upgrade so soon). It is not cool if in need to upgrade the entire OS just for a mouse.  It is also not very kind to loyal customers.
      It's not like XP to Vista where the entire makeup of the system was changed.  The leap (at least on the surface) seems a lot smaller... and if the development time was any indication...

    • LarryLarsen

      @Kode: The mouse will work on Vista as a mouse. Vista didn't have multitouch though.

    • LarryLarsen

      @Bas:Flicks up and down scroll up and down like a mouse wheel. If the gesture didn't match what was going on the screen in the video it's probably because I was editing this at 3AM and brain wasn't functioning to that level of detail. Smiley

    • LarryLarsen

      @USArcher: Yes, I seem to remember Benko showing a pinch zoom feature on the prototype, I'm posting an interview with him right now where he talks about pinch and zoom in the prototype, BTW. He mentions how they targeted Windows desktop users.

    • N2Cheval

      How easy to customise? Also couldn't make it even a little squishy to minimise RSI? How about vibrate on custom alerts like when a specially marked email comes in? Can it detect a palm press to start and stop media player? Does it have .Net API's to hook into? I noticed it appears to use BluTrak, can it handle vertical and pillow surfaces? How many fingers can it detect, say two hands playing it like a keyboard?

    • LarryLarsen

      @N2Cheval: You have lots of questions I don't have answers to, but I'll try to ask next time I talk to the team. I know it doesn't have API's. I'm not sure how many fingers it can detect, but it can "see" whatever is touching it so I suspect with the size of the mouse 5 fingers would be a logical top number.

      I really like the idea of vibrating the mouse a little on incoming email. Great suggestion.

    • Raiven

      @LarryLarsen: From what I've see and read it doesn't really have an upper limit of what it can see (aside from space limitations) but the gesture controls are programmed with a maximum of three fingers.  So while the device itself can sense more, at the moment more than three contacts will not register a gesture.

      In addition to that, the sensor grid is only on the front of the mouse where normal mouse buttons are (everywhere the grid pattern is on the mouse) and so it will not do a palm detection as there are no sensors there to do so.  It is also a BlueTrack sensor so it will work on all the usual BlueTrack surfaces.

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