<p></p> <p>The computer mouse has come a long way from its humble beginnings as a small wooden box with wheels in a California lab more than 40 years ago. This simple, standard device for letting people interface with their <a alt="((CONLINK|71|computers))" href="">computers</a> has evolved into many exotic specialty breeds to suit users' needs and preferences. Not content with ho-hum pointing-and-clicking, inventors have sought new ways to take the mouse to the <a alt="((CONLINK|62|next%20level))" href="">next level</a> of comfort, versatility, portability and energy efficiency.</p> <p>Here are 10 of the oddest yet most useful mouse products and concepts that have been introduced in recent years.</p> <p></p>

<strong>Microsoft Arc Mouse</strong>

<p></p> <p></p> <p>This mouse – uniquely crescent-shaped when extended – can fold under itself to reduce its size by almost half. In this way, the Arc Mouse combines the comfortable heft of a regular mouse with <a alt="((CONLINK|69|notebook))" href="">notebook</a> mouse portability. When collapsed, the Arc Mouse automatically turns off to save battery life.</p> <p></p>

<strong>Apple Magic Mouse</strong>

<p></p> <p></p> <p>Apple's Magic Mouse makes use of the Multi-Touch technology that's made its iPhone, the iPod Touch and quite possibly the new <a alt="((CONLINK|92|iPad))" href="">iPad</a> big hits. The whole top surface of this sleek, low-profile mouse is a touch pad, so users can slide a finger on it to direct their onscreen cursor or use two fingers to swipe through web pages. As the Magic Mouse is buttonless, clicking and double-clicking can be done anywhere on the device. The mouse is wireless and can work up to 33 feet from your computer, rather like a TV remote.</p> <p></p>


<p></p> <p></p> <p>Though Corky is brown in color, this mouse is "green" through and through. It's made from 100 percent recycled plastic components and recycled, biodegradable, waterproof cork. Instead of being powered by <a alt="((CONLINK|153|batteries))" href="">batteries</a> , Corky has piezoelectric elements inside it that generate energy whenever the mouse is clicked and moved. Even the circuit boards are environmentally friendly and are fabricated using alternative inkjet printing. The device, created by Adele Peters, is an entry in the 2010 Greener Gadgets Conference in New York.</p> <p></p>

<strong>3M Ergonomic Mouse</strong>

<p></p> <p></p> <p> </p> <p>Looking more akin to a joystick than a lump-like mouse, the 3M Ergonomic Mouse has received an Ease-of-Use Commendation from the Georgia-based Arthritis Foundation for its vertical design. 3M says this upright grip keeps users from having to angle their hands and wrists, sparing the discomfort of stress injuries.</p> <p></p>

<strong>Razer Naga MMOG Laser Gaming Mouse</strong>

<p></p> <p></p> <p>This is a specialty mouse for gamers of the massively-multiplayer-online-game (MMOG) bent who play popular titles such as World of Warcraft. The Razer Naga's design places a total of 17 programmable buttons for in-game commands at player's fingertips to suit their preferences. Its shape is intended to allow hour-upon-hour of comfort while slaying virtual enemies.</p> <p> </p> <p></p>

<strong>Belkin Washable Mouse</strong>

<p></p> <p> </p> <p>They say doorknobs are among the dirtiest, germ-filled objects out there. A computer mouse handled all day is little different. So in 2007 Belkin introduced a mouse that can be washed with soap and water to clean off grime and sanitize its rubbery surface. The product is now discontinued but can still be found via Amazon and other vendors.</p> <p></p>

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<p> </p> <p></p> <p></p> <p>This mouse-cum-keypad is meant to eliminate the "hunting and pecking" across the narrow numeral bar on small notebook computer keyboards. Some other keypad mice come with clear flip-open covers that go over the numbers.</p> <p></p>

<strong>2P Slim USB Optical Mouse</strong>

<p></p> <p></p> <p>This gizmo flicks open Transformers-style from a credit card-sized wafer to a full-size laptop mouse. At about 0.2 inches thin, it can fit inside a laptop memory card slot. The USB cable that connects it to a computer is retractable, further easing portability.</p> <p></p>

<strong>Logitech MX Air Rechargeable Cordless Air Mouse</strong>

<p></p> <p></p> <p>The "air mouse" is just that: users don't need to place it down on a surface to control their onscreen cursors, and it works sideways or upside-down. Other such mice use gyroscopes to keep their bearings in space. But Logitech says sensors and algorithms allow its product to do this and even distinguish between natural human hand tremors and intentional, subtle point-and-clicks</p> <p></p>


<p style="text-align: left;"></p> <p></p> <p>If your hands are already on the keyboard, why take one off to control the mouse? That's a key reason behind the Combimouse, a concept from an Australian start-up company. The right keyboard shifts intuitively from being a stationary keyboard to a movable mouse. Some advantages to this design include the placement of documents right in front of users with the keyboard split to either side, and less shoulder fatigue from reaching sideways to grab a typical mouse. The Combimouse has not yet been manufactured as a retail product.</p> <p>Credit: Combimouse Pty Ltd</p>

Mighty Mouse: 10 Strange yet Useful Computer Mice