The Ideal Mouse WishList


If you want it to be small and portable, and still have a lot of functionality, another blade - a mouse blade - could be the way to go. I have no idea if it would be possible to fit the laser/optical technology in that small space, or if it would be comfortable to use.

But it looks clean and would fit in a slightly modified Textblade case. If it is too wide for a mouse you could cut it in half, it would still fit the case.

An even more clean solution would to let the Textblade be the mouse, or an extention that you can stick to the Textblade with magnets. I don’t think you move the mouse that large distances anyway - I only have to move my mouse five centimetres to get from the left to the right side of the screen. What you do move larger distances is your hand - my mouse is 30 centimetres away from where my right hand rests at the keyboard. If the Textblade is light and easy to move around on the table that solution would be preferable for the user.

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How about a mouse that has a form factor of a pen?

It looks like a pen, and you hold it like a pen, but it has a infrared sensor on the tip like a mouse. You drag the tip across any flat surface to move the cursor.

The primary button can be built into the tip — hold it down with a little more force to activate it. Drag and drop can work this way too.

Heh, I guess they already have those. :slight_smile:

Here’s another idea:

You fit a device on the tip of a finger – kind of like a thimble. The sensing element is at the tip of the thimble. You drag the tip across a flat surface to move the on-screen pointer. Again, the primary mouse button can be incorporated into the tip.

Yes, this! This was my first thought when I saw the post over the weekend, and here’s why: from what I can tell, the majority of TREG users are getting the maximum efficiency by not removing their fingers from the keyboard. Several have expressed a preference for using arrow keys to navigate within and between text blocks. This has always seemed surprising to me, but if the keyboard is really that sticky it will be hard to compete with any method that requires a reset of the hands.

So without leaping immediately to a design solution, I’d propose looking at ways to meet the requirement that users can mouse without repositioning their hands or removing them (or at least some of their fingers) from the keyboard. I don’t know that this requirement can be resolved with a viable solution, but it’s at least worth considering. Why? Because it leaves intact one of the major advantages (it seems to me) of the TextBlade: minimal hand movement is needed to get the job done.

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Thank you for the insight there, it’s good to know.

I found trackpoints to be very effective, but most share your view. As an example, most modern fighter jets use a similar strain gauge technology to read pilot input, the stick doesn’t actually move much at all, and yet they are able to be very precise. Similarly, I know a heavy equipment operator that can move an excavator bucket with about 1/4 inch accuracy at around 30 feet of reach, it’s all about practice.

I’m not sure where WayTools wants to draw the line at ease of adoption though, but I think it’s probably shy of trackpoints.

who - an astute observation.

Jesse_S - quite right that designed well, small actions can command big machines precisely.

An F-16’s stick feels broken until you have the feedback of the aircraft actually responding FWIW.

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So far my two favorites pointing devices are Microsoft Trackball Explorer and Logitech MX Master. My ideal mouse would a combination of both: Wireless trackball with dynamic vertical scroll, horizontal scroll, and few programmable buttons. It would be anything but small.

Now… How a mouse made by Waytools would look like? I only can think in a single big TextBlade key with 6 customizable areas that works a trackpad. I’m no big fan of the idea of enabling the Textblade as trackpad, I think it’s too small and I would probably rise my finger frequently in order to get “more space” as I do in a regular trackpad. What I definitely do is adding a few customizable gestures in the spacebar, for example swipe left/right with one finger to either scrolling or zoom.

I may have missed it, but I haven’t seen a suggestion of a trackpoint (the little, usually, red thing that looks like a pencil eraser surrounded by the G,H,B,N keys found on Lenovo and other computers). I learned to use these years ago when I was with IBM and they give you great mouse control without removing your hands from the keyboard.

I don’t have a textblade yet, and don’t know if one could be engineered into the current configuration but it is a proven and very usable technology (I turn off the touchpad on my computer and use a mouse or the trackpoint - I hate the jump of the mouse pointer when inadvertently hit the trackpad).

Crcowan - false pointer actuation is problematic on touchpads, so preventing that is a must-have requirement.

Thanks for noting.

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For the initial success of the textblade portability and small transport measures are crucial, that’s why I believe the choice for the current 3-part design is excellent. However, in environments requiring more robustness and inert structure stability, this design may quickly come to its limits.

ad 1. That would be a nice extension - planting the UI concept of the textblade into a rigid case for use scenarios where portability and package size is not the highest priority. After all, what users describe throughout the forum (and this thread in particular) is the convenience they experience through not having to move their hands around when typing.

ad 2./3. Not sure I would go for extra mechanical buttons, but rather touch sensitive areas which might serve as the pointing device or configurable active areas for user configurable tasks (like the sound control buttons you mentioned)

ad 4. Big advantage of the concept.

ad 5. As long as the parts are interchangeable - no problem, is it? At least if they keep hold of the base unit containing the bluetooth control. Not sure though if the parts ARE interchangeable just like that.

ad 6. Yes! Welcome back to Nokia Communicator with the ultimate mobile keyboard! :slight_smile:

The area outside the normal area could be for anything. I mentioned extra keys mostly because there will be people who want separate modifier keys. It does take some time to adjust to the present system and sometimes it can get darn complicated. I was thinking in terms of people being willing to transition from a regular keyboard. If we eliminate some of the differences, then more people will be willing to adjust to what is left.

I’m not sure about the interchangeability. Originally I thought they had to all be matched up (this was before treg). I think some treg testers have said they have switched space blades without issue, but I’m just not sure.

Maybe @WayTools can explain this better.

I had forgot one source of inspiration that I’ve been curious about.

I never backed it because it required a dongle. However it seems like they are solving that part now. But they also seem to have shipping issues so people have been waiting.

The form factor is very nice for packing I think.

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Yes, definitely, the track point feels the same way, at least in 2006, the last time I used one. It required the visual feedback on the screen to know it was working, since it didn’t move at all.

Trackpoint used a strain gauge with effectively no travel, just flexing of the nib.

The user’s eyes had to complete the feedback loop. The convenience of its central location was undercut by this cognitive load on the user.

A mouse provides physical motion that relates directly to cursor motion.

The progressive, physical nature of the mouse motion, linked to cursor movement by feel, is superior.

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I’ve been using a SwiftPoint GT as my primary mouse for even longer than I’ve had my hands on a TextBlade. The SwiftPoint is good, but it has some distinct problems.
-Right hand only. I’ve had a lot of problems because my SwiftPoint only works with my right hand, and after a while that can start to mess with my right wrist and hand. So, any TextBlade pointing solution MUST be ambidextrous.
-SwiftPoint needs a flat surface, and more than that, a firm one to activate its gesture features. TextPoint needs to be able to work without a flat surface, including for gestures if it supports them (and they are very handy)
-Middle click is too hard to use on SwiftPoint. A third button would be very handy, especially if it is programmable or key-modifiable.

There are also some good points about SwiftPoint:
+Precise. SwiftPoint has a way to customize its DPI settings, and the default settings are very good. It also changes sensitivity in response to how fast you move it–the pointer moves further if you move the SP half an inch with a fast jerk than if you move it the same half inch at a snail’s pace.
+Portable. Like the TextBlade, the SwiftPoint disappears into just about any bag or pocket, though it’s a little lumpy to be comfortable in pants pockets, so I typically leave it in one of the organizer pockets of my typical laptop bag.
+Durable. I have accidentally dropped my SwiftPoint dozens of times, onto everything from carpet to concrete; it has suffered no apparent damage.
+Long battery life, and easy to recharge. SwiftPoint lasts me a week or more on a charge, and it snaps magnetically to its paired dongle to recharge. It can also hang on that dongle as I carry my computer tucked under one arm, which is very handy. For TextPoint, it would be handy if it charged from the same style of NanoCharger as the TextBlade itself.

So, now for a few ideas about what the TextPoint might be:
1, a support base for the TextBlade that the three main blades snap to at their main junction. So, rather than the blades connecting directly to each other, they would snap onto the upside-down T shape of the TextPoint. That lets TextPoint use the same BT connection as TextBlade, and share battery power as well. From there, have a trackpad either above the keyblades in the V of the TextBlade, or a trackpad below the spaceblade. Possibly have it be reversible, so it can be above or below the TextBlade at user preference.

  • Trackpads aren’t perfectly precise, but they are pretty good, and they are also pretty simple as far as their mechanical components.
  • Physical click buttons are a MUST for a good trackpad–left and right click. I have had trackpads where the only way to click was to tap or two-finger tap. I have tried Mac trackpads which only have a left-click option. Both of these are unacceptable. There MUST be two distinct, physically clicky regions of the trackpad. My current one, you can physically click anywhere but the top third and the dead center of the pad; left half is left click, right half is right click.
  • Gesture support is handy–two finger scroll, zoom, Etc. I also would like a way to regulate those gestures, limiting the scroll to only vertical or horizontal, switching to zoom without having to pinch if I don’t want, Etc.
  • I don’t think that turning the SpaceBlade into a trackpad would be very useful–too hard to distinguish inputs, too easy to frustrate the user. Better to have a separate trackpad, just keep it close to the TextBlade to reduce hand movement.

2, a ring or similar device that can be worn on either hand, and can be used with or without a solid surface. Some physical buttons on there would also be handy. This might be in the form of a small trackpad/thumbstick on the side of the hand/index finger, meant to be worked with the thumb of the corresponding hand. For additional precision, consider gesture controls by moving the ring around, or having it work like an optical mouse if you touch your finger to a surface.

  • One of the key things to consider with anything worn on the hand would be that it can’t get in the way of typing–nothing on the fingertips.

Option 3 for TextPoint would be a head-mounted eye tracker, possibly with an activation button as well as left, right, and “gesture” buttons as an extension to the TextBlade. The eyemouse buttons on the TextBlade could connect at the upside-down T junction of the blades, and give extra buttons in the V above the keyblades. One button to activate the eyemouse and tell it to start paying attention to where you’re looking. This prevents the mouse from constantly flying all over the screen as you glance around. Click once to turn eyemouse on, click again or start typing to turn eyemouse off. Physical left and right click buttons prevent you from having to blink out your clicks or something bizarre and unintuitive like that. The “gesture” button switches eyemouse from moving the mouse around to gesture controls, such as scrolling, switching workspaces/apps/windows, and other functions. The “gesture” modifier(s ) might be a chord on the TextBlade, same as the eyemouse activation.

  • Have to figure out a way for the eye tracker to be compatible with glasses, lazy eyes, and similar.
  • Hard to make a head-mounted system accurately track where your eyes are pointed relative to the screen. Option one: ignore the screen. Eye tracking moves the mouse based on how the individual moves their eyes. (Even if you aren’t looking at your screen, you can move the mouse around by glancing.) This results in the mouse not going where the eyes are looking, just moving right if eyes are looking to the right, up if looking up, Etc. Option two: have a camera on the eye tracker that also looks at the user’s screen, and lines up the user’s gaze based on that. Way too complex to do well. Option three: same as option 2, but have stickers or something that go around the screen for the system to align itself relative to those markers. Means that everyone has to put alignment markers next to every screen they want to use with their eyemouse; ugly, annoying, and it won’t work on smartphones that are following the “minimum bezel” trend. Plus, people need a set of stickers for each device. Option four: a program that runs in the background of a user’s device and generates near-invisible alignment markers on the screen for the headset to track, like arcade light guns track a grid of points marked out on the screen that most humans can’t see. That might take special screens, as well as a different program for every flavor of OS out there. Since standard screens can’t produce trackable infrared dots or whatever, this might result in someone’s 4K monitor being marred with flickering little dots so their eyemouse can line itself up.
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I can agree with your points on the SwiftPoint GT.

I’m still unsure what I want out of a WayTools pointing device yet. The Mac trackpad on my MacBook (late 2013) meets all my needs. I like the smooth feel, easy scrolling and being able to left or right click anywhere on the trackpad. I use gestures extensively and have BetterTouchTool mapped to do things for me. When I’m using the Mac I don’t use the SwiftPoint GT because I prefer the Mac trackpad that much more; much easier on the hands (left or right handed) and I can even share gestures between different fingers if I want to change it up.
My thoughts on the keyboard pre-TextBlade were much the same. I was happy with the Mac keyboard and not much else. I had no idea how big a deal TextBlade would be.

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Excellent observations gmadden and Hermes, thank you.

SwiftPoint experience confers important insights.

Advocacy for ambidextrous operation, and gesture input, is significant and noted.

Pointing is really ripe for a major advance, through a top-down rethink.

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I think getting the final ounce of precision is a niche that is mostly appropriate in a desk setting and in that setting there is probably ample good competition.

But a pointing device is about communication, and in particular it’s precisely the type of communication missing from a Textblade work environment.

The Textblade lovingly encourages and rewards me for good hand placement and touch typing technique, then callously leaves me wanting when I have to reach out to my trackpad or touch screen to scroll, pinch, zoom, pan, select a menu item, trash a file, etc. Superb implementation of the edit layer has teasingly taught us how empowering it can be to not have to leave the keyboard to yield powers that used to reside only in a necessary mouse, and to me the perfect next act for Waytools would be to complete the picture by allowing me to fully commune with my devices from this single elegant device.

So my dreams remain with the trackpad concept, which allows gestures, selection and screen pointing and provides all the missing communication abilities that would make the textblade concept functionally complete. If it could live in the current Spaceblade that would be miraculous but if not others have talked about an attachable pieces below it that wouldn’t too severely cramp the overall elegance.