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So What Else Can Your Mouse Do?

Speak slowly into the mouse. By Tiffany LeFarge
Your mouse is primarily a pointing device. But, as people need to shove more items into their laptop computer bags, the familiar, grippable device is being pressed into additional service. In this short article, we give you a tour of a few new roles for the peripheral that is always to hand.
yapper mouse
Among the newest uses for your mouse is to double it up as a microphone or telephone. YapperNut claims that its $25 YapperMouse, designed to work with Skype, is a fully functional phone cleverly disguised as a mouse. When a call comes in, they say, you simply pick up the mouse to talk. The scroll wheel also transforms into the volume control, and the mouse -- uh, phone -- can vibrate rather than ring.

"In this modern age," asks the company, "Why should anyone lug around a separate mouse, headset, and microphone? YapperMouse combines all these common accessories into one elegant package."

sony mouse phone
Do you prefer the flip side -- a phone that can also operate as a mouse? Sony released a Vaio-branded flip-phone mouse for using with Skype or for other VOIP purposes. Folded up, it's a mouse; flipped open, it's a speakerphone. And this one, which costs about $99, is available in several designer colors.
mouse phone
It looks more like a calculator than it does a mouse or telephone, but the FONTUSA Mouse Phone may offer the most functionality. This $15 product includes such niceties as speaker monitoring and volume enhancement, last number redialing, and ringer and In-Use LED indicators. The company says, "With the sophisticated Mouse Phone, you don't just click it as a mouse, you also DIAL it as a phone; and you will even have a private mini telephone!"

sungjin mouseNot all of these devices will win awards for ergonomics, even if they DO help you get more into your suitcase. For example, the Korean Sungjin International Corp.'s mouse-phone -- from the company that also brings you Vacuum Chopsticks, though we aren't sure why -- has a user interface that makes it impossible to figure out how to hold it in your hand. If we rest our hand thoughtfully on the mouse, who might we call by mistake? The entry from the Weterm International Co. Ltd isn't any better, and its web site -- which claims an "ergonomic dialpad cover for comfortable mouse handling -- demonstrates only that "ergonomic" is not a regulated product description.

However, VOIP isn't the only new trick your mouse can perform. You can get a small optical mouse with built-in laser pointer and timer -- presumably useful primarily for presenters, though you never know when you need to entertain a cat. But the really odd combination is a mouse that's also a laser pointer... and a thermometer?!

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Related Keywords:mouse, mice, hardware, peripheral, skype, microphone, telephone, voip, laser pointer, ergonomics, product design, thermometer

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