SAN FRANCISCO (08/25/2000) - Vibrating input devices are a familiar concept to gamers, but perhaps less so for the rest of the database-querying, word-processing public. Well, no longer: Meet the AVB Technologies' VMouse, which reacts to any sound your PC makes.
"Mice typically are not used for fun stuff," says Lawrence Ling, global sales and marketing manager for AVB. "VMouse acts as an input and output device. If you're shooting a gun [in a game], the mouse vibrates with the shooting and explosions. If someone screams, the mouse screams."
Ling says a small motor spins inside the mouse, varying speed and duration "to simulate the sound that is being communicated." When your system delivers an error message, you'll feel its pain. When you have e-mail, you'll know by the small tremor in your mouse.
The VMouse is priced at $35 and is scheduled to be available by the end of September.
Multifunction, Moving Mouse
In addition, the unusual pointing device has benefits that might not be immediately apparent.
"You can put it where you are tense ... it makes a very good massager," says Ling, semi-seriously. "With MP3s, you can play the music and the mouse dances to the rhythm. Not too strong, but good enough to relax. A feature I would highly recommend to people who are not using the mouse for games."
The device looks like a regular scroll mouse, and the scroll wheel allows you to turn the vibration down (or off, thankfully).
You can plug the mouse into a serial or Universal Serial Bus port, and it also connects to your sound card. No additional power source is required.
Interestingly, VMouse is cross-platform and requires no driver installation, making the device compatible with systems as varied as iMacs and Linux boxes.