Wellington, Mar 11 : A new generation of wireless computer mouse has been introduced at the CeBit computer show in Hanover.
The Swiftpoint Slider, designed by Christchurch inventor Grant Odgers, is a wireless magnetic mouse which would work without a battery and is designed to slide over the keypad of a notebook computer.
The mouse will turn the computer itself into a mousepad as it is tracked by electromagnetic sensors fitted under the computer's keyboard.
Along with the mouse, Odgers also unveiled the Swiftpoint Triped, a version of the device that works on the same principle but is designed to substitute the pens used with tablet computers.
It was Canterbury University associate professor Andy Cockburn, who performed trials on a prototype built by Mr Odgers in 2006 and claims that the Slider works better than one might imagine.
"I was a little bit sceptical about it, but when you look at the design of pretty much all laptop keyboards, the keys are flush. You would think it would catch, but it doesn't - these devices do actually glide very smoothly," stuff.co.nz quoted him, as saying.
Cockburn said that tests on one of Odgers' prototype in 2006 showed that his mice were 20 to 30 pct more efficient than the usual notebook touchpad.
"I think there is general agreement touchpads are awful devices, so it is a soft target. If you compare the Swiftpoint to a [conventional] mouse, it is going to lose - the mouse is a fantastic input device - but Grant has done a very good job of identifying a niche where you often don't have the spare physical space for the mouse to reside on. I think it is definitely a device with a marketplace," he said.
Odgers went to the United States for presenting his invention to Microsoft and Logitech in January and he said that both companies are contemplating it. In fat, his company, Simtrix, has already secured venture capital from Wellington investment firm Endeavour Capital.
"The pivotal success factor for a lot of these things doesn't depend on how good the device is, it depends on how good the marketing is. If somebody like Logitech picks it up, it is going to sell millions. If a big vendor doesn't pick it up, it is going to be very hard for him to break into a major market," said Cockburn.