Pushing a mouse around a desk is boring -- and don't get us started on manky, peeling mouse mats. It's time for a mousey revolution, freeing us from the shackles of the desktop plane. The Gyration Air Mouse Elite allows you to pick up your mouse and control your PC with mere flicks of the wrist, in the air, while walking around. Hasta la victoria el mouso!
Get your hands up
The Air Mouse Elite is surprisingly easy to get the hang of. It's shaped, and works, like a normal desktop mouse. But pick it up, press the trigger and wave the mouse around in the air, and the cursor will follow. Move your hand up to move the cursor up, down to move it down.
You don't have to point it at the screen, so you have loads of freedom to walk away, lie on your sofa, hold the mouse beneath the furniture, crawl on the floor, whatever you want. You can make small movements with your wrist, or wave your whole arm about. It's very precise, so quickly we were clicking on small icons, dragging and dropping and all the other everyday mouse movements.
The next step is gestures. You can set up flicks of the wrist to perform different actions, specific to the program you're using. For example, a flick to the left could take you back a page in your browser, or go back a track in your music player. You can motion up and down, perhaps to alter the volume, and for even more options flick diagonally. The buttons on the mouse are also customisable, giving you more than gestures and options. You can also use the mouse to zoom in and out on your screen, or change the cursor to a fake laser pointer.
How does it work?
Gyration, owned by French start-up Movea, are the 3D motion meisters behind the Nintendo Wii's Wiimote controller, but unlike the Wiimote you don't need to point the Air Mouse at the screen: it communicates with your PC over 2.4GHz radio frequency to a USB dongle. The signal goes through furniture and works up to 30m away. We'll take Gyration's word for it: when we took the mouse for a walk, we ran out of the office and the cursor was still happily moving around the screen back at our desk. We haven't noticed any cursor drift either, a common problem with wireless mouses.
Who's it for?
As with any new input technology, the first thing to consider is who's actually going to use it. Actually the first thing is to smack anyone who mentions Minority Report upside their fool head, and then consider who's going to use it.
The Air Mouse frees you from your desk when using your PC, so the obvious beneficiaries are people giving presentations, such as business folk, trainers, and any more-than-usually tech-savvy hellfire preachers. It's also perfect for teachers and those interactive whiteboards we never had we were nippers.
Gyration reckons consumers will use the Air Mouse to control their PC on their telly, or even in gaming. Fun as it is, is this the future of mousey motion? Can you see yourself waving your hands to tell your telly what to do? Click your archaic mouse in our comments box to have your say.
When can I get one?
The Air Mouse Elite will be available for Windows users in late March, with a Mac version arriving in June. You can buy the mouse on its own for £90 or in a pack with a wireless keyboard for £140.