Tech Weekly: Input Devices
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It wasn't until the Apple Macintosh was released in 1984 that the computer mouse really took off. The device was included with the computer in order to help navigate its breakthrough graphical user interface. We've come a long way since then — practically iterating the mouse out of existence — but there's always room for new ways to interact with the world around us. From a hardwood, mechanical keyboard, to an entirely new breed of musical instrument, this week's Technology projects are all about that input.
Odds are good you use a keyboard every day. Odds are also good that it's not exactly a transcendent experience. The folks behind Model 01 think that it should be. The Model 01 keyboard is preciscion-milled from solid maple, and uses tactile mechanical keyswitches (just like in the original Apple II). Between the custom-sculpted keycaps, and the totally adjustable form factor, we think this heirloom-grade keyboard might just be your type.
Mankind has been making music for millennia, so it's easy to feel as though all the instruments have already been invented. But here are a few new ones, thanks to OWOW. Wob, for example, allows you to create or control sounds by waving your hand up and down over the device — sort of like a digital theramin. Wiggle allows you to shape your music, as the track responds to your hand's rotation. And Scan produces music from the things you draw — lines, dots, anything — just drag Scan across the page and listen to your drawing.
Have you ever tried to reach your wrist with a finger on the same hand? It's not so easy, which means your smartwatch is technically keeping both hands busy. That's why the team at Deus Ex Technology came up with the Aria, a gesture-based input device for your smartwatch. Scroll up or down with the flick of a finger, or select with a tap. If you're a Pebble Time user the device is integrated into a smartstrap. We'd give the Aria a big thumbs up, but who knows what that would do.
The internet of things is incredible, but the scope of that network is currently limited by where those things can get power. Autonomo is a matchbox sized, Arduino-compatible, microcontroller board that works with a tiny solar panel. That means no plugging it in and no manual recharging, which allows you to put this thing just about anywehere (above ground). Whether you want to monitor your pool, your beehive, or something else entirely, this tiny thing has some big potential.
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