The humble computer mouse has been with us now for at least three decades, but the time of the mouse is coming to an end. A large number of technologies are emerging which have led to the mouse being less and less necessary for people to interact with computers. These include common functions like touch controls, to more high tech solutions such as in-air gesturing. Now one device could combine these new approaches to control into a single product, which may once and for all kill the mouse.
Unveiled today on crowdfunding site IndieGoGo, the Flow is the possibly the most advanced computer control peripheral ever seen. Build by Berlin-based startup Senic, the device resembles a small, white hockey puck. However, while it is small, the Flow allows a user at least 3 separate and integrated ways of interacting with their computer: physical interaction, touch controls, and hand gestures.
The most familiar of these methods, physical control, works much like a standard mouse, however rather than scrolling a wheel to interact, a user rotates the entire device. The touch pad can be used in a similar way to that already present on my smartphones and laptops, allowing easy control gestures and data interaction. However, the final iteration possibility, in-air gestures is by far the most revolutionary feature of the Flow. A user can easy swipe through documents with a single sideways hand motion, or accurately adjust slider levels by raising and lowering their hand.
How these different functions will be implemented within software is yet to be decided, and indeed Senic believes the best people to make these decisions are outside developers. For this reason they have made their device open source, so the developer community can decide how best to use these new controls in their own software. This means that a user will be able to have a device which is highly optimised for each specific task, negating the need for additional peripherals.
The Flow is making headlines, and has seen significant support on IndieGoGo. It has already reached a quarter of its funding target, despite being online for little more than a day. In terms of a availablity, Senic says it will have the final version of the device (which is on sale for $100) read by mid next year.
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