When it comes to mediation between people and computers, keyboards have been gaining the upper hand since medieval programmers competed with punching and paper tapes.
But, as evidenced by your humble mouse, your child's game handle, or scribbled notes on the Palm unit, there are other ways to pass information from the analog world to the digital world.
There's something about the world.
The voice world of "alternative input devices", which creates creativity and cultivates everything the notebook points --
Stick to the steering wheel and stick back.
The latest works include clever changes to traditional themes-
There are a few more tunes you may not have heard.
What kind of equipment might be sold as a "digital conference assistant? A green-and-
SPORTS The lowest two purple folding bars-
Imaginable technology project: suction cup.
Attach them to the left side of the standard whiteboard and you can transfer what you write to a nearby PC-
Or one on the other side of the Earth.
The whiteboard has been around for a while, but Mimio from a startup called virtual ink is the first device to turn any whiteboard into a digital model.
Fold the bar in two and you can either go from room to room or travel.
The $500 device connects the serial port of the computer and removes the power from the keyboard connector.
But right now, things like Palm synchronous crad take up the serial port.
The company said that the Universal Serial Bus version will be launched soon, while USB modification of the current model.
I use standard 2-by-3-
Foot whiteboard, but the company says it will be at 4-by-
8 feet, even the desktop or window.
Mimio is equipped with a set of 4 brackets for standard dry goods
Ink pens of different colors and erasers with narrow and wide cushions.
Each battery uses AAA batteries to transmit infrared and ultrasonic signals.
The sensor on the capture strip uses an ultrasonic triangle to measure the position of the pen or eraser and infrared to determine which pen or eraser is communicating.
The five buttons on the Mimio column allow the presenter to control the software moderately without having to approach the computer;
The software responds with a sexy female voice.
A special program can turn the Pen Bar into a pointer, allowing you to directly manipulate the image projected onto the whiteboard-
For example, drag on-literally-
Screen icon for recycle bin.
But usually the whiteboard software captures some strokes. -
You can play back, fast forward, rewind, or stop the Virtual Demo to check or speed up each line and erase.
You can annotate a session, print a session, or send a session to a website.
If you use Microsoft's NetMeeting and Mimio software to establish an Internet connection between multiple machines, all connected users can contribute to a demo.
But when something appears on a virtual whiteboard
The screen can be edited with software "pen" and "rubber", you can operate with the mouse, they can't put images on the physical whiteboard.
This may cause the real motherboard to be out of sync with the virtual motherboard.
The pen lever uses a pressure switch, so you have to get the hang of pushing each pen hard to trigger it;
The touch is too light and what you draw on the board does not appear on the screen.
Software can make you in-
Screen line thickness, but the hardware is not sensitive enough to simulate the different width of the single line entered with the chiselpoint marker.
The plastic pen holder looks fragile.
A switch is stuck and lines are generated on the screen when it does not appear on the motherboard.
But everything worked out in the end.
Hands of local tyrants-
Even the drawing of human nature for a virtual whiteboard presentation seems to be more sincere than the emptiness of most PowerPoint presentations.
Yes, the PowerPoint presentation can't permanently damage your favorite shirt like a dry pen.
But it can damage your brain.
Hi-tech, no contact.
The touch screen is there forever. -
Think kiosks and ATMs-
But GameCam of Fusion is more suitable for them.
It allows you to interact with the computer through gestures and only touch the air.
According to the current packaging, the $130 system is equipped with Logitech QuickCam cameras connected to USB ports.
The software runs only on Windows 98 and offers several games where your face and body are at the heart of online gamesscreen action.
Using Edge and motion detection, the program calculates which part of your body is trying to interact with the computer
Elements generated on
Corresponding screen and reaction.
This is the first computer game I have ever tried to sweat my sweat back.
When you play basketball-
Whether it's yourself or your opponent-
You watch yourself bounce the ball on the screen with the action of your hand, arm or head.
The same is true of volleyball. you can compete with computers.
An opponent or machine generated can create an opponent from someone's actual action.
There's a karate game that lets you kick a clown or opponent and look like you or someone you know ---
Although it continues to crash on a test machine.
You can easily imagine the possibilities of the future. -
For example, a sports game that forces you to stretch to knock down objects in the corners of the screen.
If you already have the camera, you can try a sample of the old program from the link near the bottom of www. realityfusion. com/homepage. htm.
If you like to see something, consider the upcoming $50 software --
The only version of GameCam should be used with most desktop cameras, many of which (
Just like the Intel and 3Com models I reviewed in October. 18 issue)
Better than the one in the GameCam box.
Unfortunately, the game's motion detection works best in lighting conditions that are rarely found near the fastest machines and computers.
This system requires a wider special camera. angle lens.
In order to play the game most effectively, you must be further away from the screen than the computer settings normally allow.
Make a better mouse?
The mouse is the original "alternating input device ".
"Almost every desktop computer has a cheap one.
Why replace it with something more novel?
Bill Gates has been touting mice since Jobs launched the Macintosh computer.
Microsoft's new smart browser ($75)
Not the first person to use optical technology to sense the position, thus eliminating the ball and several other mechanical components, but this may be the first optical model that does not require a special liner.
Its position sensor is basically a digital camera, and the company says it takes 1,500 desktop photos per second (
Lighting by a built-inin red light)
And track them by comparing the movement of the mouse.
It works most of the time, but Wood-
The texture pattern on the laminated desktop in my office occasionally makes it jump action.
Still, Microsoft's propaganda claims that "you no longer need to use a mouse pad" is ridiculous.
Over the years I 've been using mechanical mice, everything I 've done with mouse pads is donating them to charity.
In addition to its two buttons and rollers/buttons, this mouse also has two additional programmable buttons located on the right
Only the right hand has the thumb.
But the often right-handed mou found the unit awkward.
Not only is it taller and fatter than most other mice, its slide pads look more sticky than they need.
If you hate mouse balls and want simpler optics, Microsoft offers smart houses with smart eyes.
No extra thumb button but it is smaller, lighter and more stylish
Of course, the traditional mice are still cheaper.
Unless you find yourself complaining a lot about your current mouse, there is no reason to go to Microsoft's red-light district.
Have a more interesting idea.
It has been selling graphic tablets for years-
You can connect to your computer and let you use a cordless pen instead of a mouse pad.
Now, it has come up with Graphire--
A graphic tablet that adds a cordless mouse and looks a bit high
The tech desk is equipped with a removable pen holder.
I try a tablet connected to the USB port of a Windows 98 or Macintosh computer;
For older Windows machines, the serial version can be used.
Wacom's technology uses wire grids embedded in tablets to stimulate and read signals from pens and mice.
Because the pen does not need a battery, it feels very light in the hand, and because the tip of the pen is pressure-
Sensitive, software designed for it can react when you press thicker lines with a finer touch.
It is very convenient when dealing with graphic elements like photo retouching;
There is even a virtual eraser on the other end of the pen.
Once you get used to it, the graphic tablet will make you understand the comment that drawing with a mouse is like drawing with soap.
There are two buttons and a clickable roller due to the light, symmetrical and must use the month above-by-5-
The Inch Live area of the tablet, you sometimes run out of space before you finish moving.
Windows users may find the mouse software a bit slow.
A spokesman said the new software drivers should address these issues.
Graphic Arts professionals prefer to gain greater control from larger tablets.
But ordinary users may findand-
A combination of mouse revelation.
Do you have a keyboard in your pocket?
When can the keyboard be used as a "standby input device "?
When it's a complete
Size keyboard for devices without keyboard--
For example, a handheld computer or a Windows CE handheld computer--
It folds in your pocket.
A portable keyboard from a company called "Think out" in San Diego is one of the smartest gadgets I 've seen recently.
Because it weighs less than half a pound, you can do a lot of real work with the palm organizer with you.
So far, the unit only exists in a later prototype that makes a glitch ---
The latch that does not hold the unit off, does not hold the aligned hinge--
But for $100, I might buy the final version if it eliminated the defect as promised.
Since I joined IBM's classic expansion plan
Keyboard "butterfly" laptop, I'm waiting for someone to figure out how to fold a viable keyboard into a small package.
Think about what seems to have been figured out outside.
Turn on the device and slide the two panels in place, and finally you get a keyboard where the letters and numbers keys of the keyboard are mostly fullsize.
The keyboard feels very good, the unit is very thin, and it is a boon for travelers who may use it on a table higher than ideal.
It is not very successful on one's leg, where it tends to fold back in the center and it is difficult to keep the Connected Organizer upright.
The prototype I tried had a connector and folding
Palm III organizers and special keys can complete tasks such as calling a calendar or turning the backlight on and off.
Units will also be provided for the new Palm-Palm V
Clone the hand Board and the Windows CE handheld computer.
Smugglers should make it more likely than ever to leave their laptops at home.
Imagine that one day, you will put a thief in one pocket and a beautiful Internet phone in the other pocket. Stephen Manes (steve@cranky. com)
It is the host of the weekly public TV series Digital Duo.
Visit his forum on our websiteforbes.