Tonight at CES 2011 we announced the new Touch Mouse from Microsoft Hardware. This new mouse adds multitouch gestures to Windows 7 on top of the normal “point and click” experience.
I’ve had the pleasure of using a pre-production version of the new Touch Mouse over the last few days and it really does make interacting with Windows 7 much more intuitive. I’m actually enjoying this mouse so much I bring it home each night from work to use at home and then back to work the next day.
The new Touch Mouse adds multitouch gestures for 1, 2, or 3 fingers.
It also allows you to use gestures for “shorter” shortcuts – tasks you normally do with a keyboard.
For me, the most common gestures I use with the Touch Mouse are scrolling with 1 finger or minimizing or maximizing application windows with 2 fingers. But during writing this blog post, I also discovered how easy it was to use 2 fingers to slide left, then slide right on any open window to take advantage of Aero Snap. I am also enjoying moving my thumb horizontal to the left to go back in IE9 or to the right to go forward.
When sliding your fingers over the mouse, you get animated “touch trails” to see what is happening as you interact with Windows 7. The touch trails look like this:
The new Touch Mouse also provides an improved task switching experience in Windows 7. When you use 3 fingers and swipe up on the mouse, it brings a grid view of all your open application windows.
You can then choose which application you want to switch to. Now, here at work I have 3 monitors connected to my work desktop PC. Depending on which monitor the mouse cursor is on, that’s where the grid view of opened application windows will appear. I thought this was really neat.
The Touch Mouse also utilizes BlueTrack Technology making it usable without a mouse pad on almost any surface. And the small nano transceiver (2.4GHz wireless) snaps into the bottom of the mouse for easy storage. When it’s released, the Touch Mouse will utilize an updated version of the Microsoft IntelliPoint software for the enhancements in Windows 7 to support the mouse.
Here are a few pictures I took of the unit:
You can read more about the Touch Mouse from one of the researchers behind it’s design from the Microsoft Hardware Blog. And check out the video below of a demo: