For a change today I decided that I would showcase an interface that I am actually really excited about. There is a good chance that you have already heard of this new device, but just in case you haven't, meet the new 'Magic Mouse' from Apple.
The ‘Magic Mouse’ is a seamless multi-touch surface mouse that allows the user to customize the mouse to better suite their needs. So you can right and left click anywhere you want on the mouse (you set the parameters). It also affords users the new possibility of 360 scrolling, screen zooming and two finger swiping, all done from your mouse!
Normally I try to find interfaces that are somewhat more obscure to keep things interesting, but when reading the 'Crafting' section of Malcolm McCullough's book Digital Ground, I was immediately reminded of the Magic Mouse.
"Physical computing increases the potential of digital craft. Haptic interaction devices promise to restore touch to work in ways that the crude mouse only begins to hint at.” – Digital Ground
A friend of mine who does a lot of 3D modeling and photo retouching on his computer recently bought this mouse because he was excited about potentially making the act of digitally crafting something easier. He has since reported to me that this new mouse is much like using the iPhone, which is cool, but doesn’t necessarily make 3D model generating any easier.
I think that when people talk about haptic interaction devices they are referring to making digital devices that allow your hands to function as they normally would therefore making the act of digital manipulation seem more realistic. That being said, it is clear that Apple hasn’t quite gotten to the point of fully restoring touch to digital crafting. However, this is the first reiteration of the mouse that I have seen in a long time that seems to actually be trying to bridge the gap between the experience of touching something in the analogue world, and touching something in the digital world.