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Hall Effect Technologies has announced a new mouse that it says will revolutionise gaming and software design. It has a stationary footprint, and has four degrees of freedom so it can move forward and back, side to side, tilt up and down and twist from left to right.

HET says they have been in talks with "loads" of games developers to get them to design new games with the mouse in mind, but acknowledge that taking a new piece of hardware to market is a difficult proposition.

Oddly, the group hasn't taken the product to ID Software, Quake's designers, which can only be something of an oversight. Fuller said the company had been in long talks with people developing games for the Beast of Redmond's new console, XBox.

"It is something of a chicken and egg situation," said John Fuller, CEO at HET. "The gamers won't buy a product until there are games that take advantage of its capabilities, and the games developers won't design it into the games unless there is a market for it."

We had a quick look at the way it handles on Quake, and it didn't seem half bad. The only criticism is that it seemed to turn quite sluggishly, but that could equally have been because it was unfamiliar technology.

HET reckons it could cross over between games and business uses too, particularly for CAD users. The company says that while CAD users currently work with split screens, and drop down menus, using a device like the Quattro mouse would allow them to work in a 3D format.

There are similar devices on the market, notably a mouse-like device from Logitech that has six degrees of freedom, designed for use in CAD work. But Fuller says that the Quattro has an edge because it is so much cheaper than the competition.

The device will officially launch at the E3 consumer electronics exhibition in Los Angeles in May. HET says it will be priced in the same band as a high-end intellimouse. ®

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HET's web site

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