The best mouse ever

Kushan Mitra        Print Edition: December 16, 2007

The history of the computer mouse, and the Graphical User-Interface (GUI) is surprisingly short. The very first mouse was invented as late as 1970 and the mechanical track-ball mouse was developed by Xerox in 1972. Optical mice came in the early 1980s and by 1998, the first laser mouse had hit the market.

Incidentally, the first commercial laser mouse, the MX1000, was developed by Swiss peripherals company Logitech, and it is this company’s latest twist on the mouse—the MX Air—that has us stunned. At the outset, this looks like a very fancy wireless mouse, which it is, and, therefore, suffers from the biggest downside of wireless mice—the need to have a USB dongle.

Just a click
But that is a different debate altogether. What makes the MX Air special is the fact that it is a magic wand you can wave around in the air and control a mouse on your screen, which technically could be as much as 30-feet away. Of course, to see a computer monitor at 30-feet—even a 20-inch widescreen one—is a bit far fetched, but you get the point.

Just point the mouse in any direction you want the pointer to go, and it goes just there thanks to Logitech’s Freespace technology. It is like controlling your mouse while performing a rather poor form of Tai Chi. The learning curve is fairly slight and you get an idea of what is going on within a few minutes, though the touch-sensitive scroll controls are a wee bit too sensitive, particularly if you are the sort who tends to treat his peripherals abusively.

The MX Air also comes with builtin media controls, which is great, because this effectively doubles up as a remote control for your media player. On the aesthetic side of it, the MX Air looks like no mouse you’ve ever seen earlier. The sleek lines on the device remind one of the fuselage of a next-eneration fighter jet rather than a pointing device. The MX Air comes with an equally sleek charging stand, and with regular use of around six-to-eight hours a day, the MX Air will last between three-to-four days between charges.

The mouse has been one of the centrepieces of Human Computer Interaction (HCI) over the last 25 years, but the Logitech MX Air does give some sort of indication about the direction that the graphical input device will take in the future. The Logitech MX Air costs Rs 8,995—double that of a standard cordless laser mouse—and almost 10 times that of a standard optical mouse. But, think about it: this is the coolest mouse ever, and that is a good enough reason to buy it.

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