Looks like the iPhone isn’t the only multi-touch device Apple has up its sleeve. According to a recently filed patent application, Apple has designed a mouse with a multi-touch surface covering its entire body.
The design features a mouse with a sensing surface that can be programmed to interact with objects and shapes on screen in a similar way to multi-touch screens that we’ve seen (and experienced – thanks iPhone!)
Apple’s mouse concept uses a backlit transparent shell and a tiny camera with a super wide-angle lens on the inside to record the position of fingers on the surface. Then, a digital signal processor would correct the image distortion from the curved shell and an image processing application would convert that data into information for the computer to use.
If this device ever does make it to market, it shakes up the whole notion of multi-touch. It could add multi-touch to any computer, rather than for the elite few who can afford a fancy system with it incorporated into the display. As an added bonus, this approach would alleviate some the the challenges of display-based multi-touch (i.e. finger smudges, difficulty with precise pointing, getting used to a touch surface instead of a mouse, etc.)