Rather odd timing, given some recent developments in the Apple camp, but Microsoft Research has just surfaced some of its incredibly wild multitouch mouse prototypes. Each one uses a different touch detection method, and at first glance all five seem to fly in the face of regular ergonomics. The craziest two are probably "Arty," which has two articulated arms to cradle your thumb and index finger, with each pad housing its own optical sensor for mission-critical pinching gestures, and "Side Mouse" which is button free and actually detects finger touches in the table immediately in front of the palm rest. Of course, there's plenty of crazy in the FTIR, Orb Mouse and Cap Mouse (pictured), which rely on an internal camera, orb-housed IR camera and capacitive detection, respectively. Of course, there's no word on when these might actually see the light of day, but it should be quite obvious that Apple's not the only game in town thinking about this stuff. Check out the utterly enlightening video of these things in action after the break.
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