ConnectEek! A mouse!

ConnectEek! A mouse!
Date:31 December 2009

The multi-button Meta was designed by WarMouse with the goal of being the best and most useful mouse the digital world has ever seen. Did they crack it? Apparently.

Inspired by the keyboards on the Treo smartphones, it was conceived by a game designer who was annoyed with the paltry number of buttons available on high-end gaming mice. Because gaming mice have historically been designed primarily for FPS rather than MMO and RTS games, they do not possess sufficient buttons for the dozens of commands, actions and spells that are required in games that make heavy use of icon bars and pull-down menus.

After discovering that the available mice were nothing more than regular two-button mice decorated with orcs, dwarves and Night elves, the idea of the Meta was born. After much experimentation, it was determined that 16 buttons (divided into two 8-button sections) was the maximum number that could be efficiently used by feel alone. In the process of design and development, it quickly became apparent that many non-gaming applications would also benefit from having dozens of commands accessible directly from the mouse – especially those with nested pull-down menus and hotkey combinations.

OpenOffice.org was selected as the ideal application suite around which to design this application mouse. Why? Because the usage tracking feature of OpenOffice.org 3.1 permitted the assignment of application commands to mouse buttons based on the data gathered from more than 600 million actual mouse and keystroke commands enacted by users.

Software applications include Adobe Photoshop, Autodesk AutoCAD, Microsoft Office and OpenOffice.org 3.1. With a revolutionary design featuring 18 buttons, an analogue joystick, and support for as many as 52 key commands, the mouse is intended to provide a faster and more efficient user interface for most complex software applications than the conventional icons, pull-down menus, and hotkeys presently permit.

What can you do with 18 buttons, 52 commands, and a joystick? The answer is . The ability to assign application functions to both clicks and double-clicks, combined with the ability to use the joystick as an analogue joystick or as the equivalent of 4, 8, or 16 additional mouse buttons, significantly expands your options beyond the mere addition of more buttons.

For example, you can use the joystick as arrow keys to move around the spreadsheet cells in Calc or Excel, then use it as a joystick to rotate 3D objects in 3D Studio Max. In Writer or other word processing programs, you can click a button once to Copy, double-click the same button to Cut, and click another button to Paste. In Adobe Reader, you can turn the page, switch between views and zoom levels, or search for text with single button clicks. In AutoCAD, you can assign a function that is nested four menus deep to a single button click. In Adobe Photoshop, you can rapidly switch between layers without ever taking your hand off the mouse or moving the pointer away from the pixels that you’re painting.

Macros can be recorded and assigned to button clicks, double-clicks, joystick movements or scroll wheel positions. You can even use it as a number pad for fast data entry. The Meta puts 12 times more functionality at your fingertips than the generic two-button office mouse and four times more than the most expensive gaming mouse.