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Logitech makes touchy feely mice

The force is strong in this one

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Taking a lead from gaming hardware, Logitech has produced a new optical wheel mouse that will respond physically to the texture of an image it's pointer rolls over. The response is generated by a motor inside the mouse.

Logitech says that it will activate a part of human intuition that has not yet been tapped by the computer industry.

The mouse is designed around TouchSense technology and software licensed from Immersion, including their high-fidelity Inertial Harmonic Drive engine.

This is basically force feedback technology - the same thing that gives arcade rally car steering wheels a feel of reality. The idea is that as you roll your mouse pointer over the screen, the various function buttons will produce a response in the mouse that you can feel.

Immersion has also produced a software kit that will allow web developers to incorporate the multi sensory effects into their designs.

Two iFeel mice will be available initially, based on Logitech's MouseMan Wheel design: the iFeel MouseMan, and the slightly less groovy iFeel Mouse. These will retail at $59.95 and $39.95 respectively. Both available in a kind of shiny blue, they will be for sale on Logitech's site and through various distributors from September.

Logitech's main rival in the hardware arena, Microsoft, has decided against force feedback mice, saying that consumers find them too distracting. ®

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