The Making of the Microsoft Touch Mouse [Video]

During the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show, Microsoft unveiled Touch Mouse, a new multi-touch device designed exclusively for Windows 7 that enables users to click, flick, scroll, and swipe, making it easier and more fun to interact with a PC. Touch Mouse combines the virtues of a traditional mouse with the rich natural language of […]

During the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show, Microsoft unveiled Touch Mouse, a new multi-touch device designed exclusively for Windows 7 that enables users to click, flick, scroll, and swipe, making it easier and more fun to interact with a PC. Touch Mouse combines the virtues of a traditional mouse with the rich natural language of gesture.

Touch Mouse began in 2009 as part of a research project called "Mouse 2.0," conducted by Microsoft Research and Microsoft's Applied Sciences Group. The results of that research were presented in 2009 during the Association for Computing Machinery's Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology, garnering a best-paper award.

Features:

  • One Finger: Scroll, flick, or pan any direction for quick navigation. Sweep your thumb to go forward or back.
  • Two Fingers: Snap to see your windows side by side, or maximize and minimize.
  • Three Fingers: Show all open windows or reveal your desktop.
  • Contoured shape: Superior comfort that's designed to fit your hand.
  • Plug-And-Go Nano Transceiver: Leave the Nano Transceiver plugged in when you're on the go, or stow it in the mouse.

Other features of note include BlueTrack technology (which means the mouse tracks on almost any surface and the nano transceiver which hides in a recess on the underside of the mouse when not in use. One thing to note is that this mouse only works with Windows 7.

The Touch mouse is the product of significant research - in fact it's a collaboration between Microsoft Research (MSR) and our Applied Sciences Group and based on an award winning research paper.

Hrvoje Benko (better known simply as Benko) is a researcher in MSR and in an post on their site he details why the capacitive touch sensing approach was selected for this mouse over a number of other options. From chatting with the folks in our model shop, that presented interesting challenges as to how you "curved" the capacitive touch surface correctly. In addition to Benko, a team from our Cambridge lab in England worked on the gesture technology in the mouse. The MSR post explains the challenges here - trying to build a mouse that can detect when my hand is resting on it versus trying to gesture.

Here're some picutures of the Microsoft Touch Mouse:

The Making of Microsoft Touch Mouse: