New "Touchless" Trackball
Microsoft IntelliEye Trackball
by Rick Smith (April 20, 2000)
Microsoft announced two new trackballs based on the same IntelliEye optical motion sensing technology found in its latest ball-less mouse. The two models share features such as mulitple programmable buttons and ergonomic design but give you a choice of ball placement, either side-mounted ball or top-mounted.
I had a chance to try the model with the top-mounted trackball. This new innovative trackball from Microsoft has a very nice feel. I have been a trackball user for over a decade ever since my first Focus trackball and my CH Products Rollermouse. In fact, I even use a trackball for image retouching in both Adobe Photoshop and PhotoDeluxe and a Memorex trackball on my testing bench. A trackball is easier to use since there is less arm movement.
This trackball had a live “effortless” feel, even though it was a pre-production prototype. Although I would prefer a larger ball, like the Rollermouse, this trackball's size is comparable to the Memorex trackball. I felt no flat spots that I felt in other models (such as the Focus), especially as they get dirty. Since this trackball uses Microsoft's "touchless" IntelliEye optical motion sensor instead of a mechanical system, dirt and other "ball gunk" won’t even be an issue.
Overall, I liked the experience and look forward to trying a production unit in the Fall when these will be available.
© 2006 Rick Smith All rights reserved.