The iFeel MouseMan
Mice are interesting. I promise.
We all take computer mice for granted. Who cares about the mouse when 3D hardware and software offer the latest and greatest in innovation and engineering creativity, right? It is true that the mouse had largely remained unchanged since 1968, when the Stanford Research Institute proposed that computers could someday be used as communication tools for augmenting human capabilities rather than sheer computational machines, but ever since FiringSquad launched, perhaps by coincidence (or the help of the Illuminati), the mouse has seen a flurry of technological development.
The first person shooter gaming genre brought mousing to the forefront. A few of our earliest articles included the first online review of the Everglide, and a comparison of the high-speed polling offered by USB mice and PS2rate. A lot has changed in two short years. Mousepad-free optical technology such as the Microsoft's IntelliEye, and ultra high-DPI mice such as the Razer are now in fashion.
What's truly interesting is that it's quite difficult to find a serious gamer who is still using a serial interface, and non-ergonomic mouse, or a gamer who doesn't already own or plan to purchase a high performance mouse pad. Indeed, optical mice have become the flagship products for Microsoft, Logitech, and Apple. When you consider other computing milestones which have yet to reach widespread acceptance such as the two-year-old DXTC texture compression and Environment Mapped Bump Mapping, or even hardware T&L, it's truly amazing to see the alacrity and speed with which technological innovations to the mouse have been adopted these last few years.
The black sheep of the family
There is still one mousing technology that has yet to catch on: force-feedback. The Logitech WingMan Force Feedback Mouse never gained widespread acceptance. To simulate resistance and force, the mouse was permanently attached to a plastic base and required a separate power supply. Although the mouse worked well in games that supported the technology, it was expensive and unnatural for daily use with its absolute positioning. Despite some great technology demos, the WingMan Force Feedback was left to a niche market.
Logitech and Immersion went back to the drawing board to develop a mainstream mouse with greater utility. By only including vibration rather than a complete force feedback solution, Logitech was able to produce two stand-alone mice powered entirely by the USB cable, the iFeel Mouse and the flagship iFeel MouseMan. Today we have a review of the iFeel MouseMan.