Microsoft has expanded the NUI input model supported by default in Windows 7 to an upcoming peripheral scheduled for market availability in June 2011.
And in fact it makes perfect sense that natural user interfaces be leveraged in order to catalyze the evolution of already established human computer interaction models as the mouse and the keyboard.
At the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Microsoft Hardware introduced the Touch Mouse, blurring the line between old and next generation input models by blending the best of the two worlds together into a single device.
The Touch Mouse is a product of the Mouse 2.0 project from Microsoft Research, designed to offer a new multitouch device tailored specifically for Windows 7.
“The new Touch Mouse is a great way for customers to interact naturally with their Windows 7-based PC,” said Mark Relph, senior director of the Windows Developer and Ecosystem Team at Microsoft.
“We worked closely with the Microsoft Hardware team to help develop the multitouch gestures that make Windows 7 easier, simpler and more fun to use. After just a few minutes with this mouse you’ll see why.”
The Windows 7 Touch Mouse still allows users to click, but also enables them to flick, scroll and even swipe.
Make sure to watch the video embedded at the bottom of this article in order to get an idea of just what the Touch Mouse is capable of.
Hrvoje Benko, one of the researchers behind the new Touch Mouse noted that “the mouse you see today is the best input device for Windows 7. It does everything you’re used to doing with a mouse, but also adds gestures with one, two or three fingers. The gestures work like this:
- One Finger lets you manage the content of a document or webpage – moving one finger lets you precisely scroll in any direction and hyperscroll through long documents with a quick flick of your finger, while using your thumb lets you move back/forward easily through your internet browser.
- Two Fingers lets you manage multiple windows by maximizing, minimizing, restoring, and snapping them side-by-side.
- Three Fingers lets you navigate the whole desktop – three fingers up to display all of your open windows for easy task switching or three fingers down for clearing the desktop entirely.”
As far as I’m concerned, the Touch Mouse is the must have peripheral for Windows 7.
The device will hit store shelves in June 2011. According to Microsoft, the Touch Mouse will retail for $79.95. Customers will already be able to pre-order it via the online Microsoft Store, Amazon.com and BestBuy.com by the end of this week.