GCN LAB REVIEW: Input devices

Innovative peripherals broaden the definition of input devices

The GCN Lab looks at the spectrum of input devices, from the not-so-lowly mouse to some high-end touch-screens

A mouse is a mouse is a mouse, right? That’s what we thought when we started looking at input devices. What could possibly be so new and different about a piece of plastic that rolls along your desktop and points the cursor?

That depends on how you define input. Technology companies have found ways to harness the most basic form of input — your index finger — by creating devices such as a frame that can convert an LCD monitor into a touch screen, which becomes an input device. So we broadened our focus from the obvious — keyboards and mice — to include all types of input devices, such as digital pens, along with the more traditional input devices, which have come a long way from the basic gray desktop accessories.

Now, the once lowly mouse can glow in the dark, switch hit from a rightie to a leftie, and respond to the slightest push of a pinkie finger. And keyboards? Remember how in “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home” Scotty called a Mac Plus keyboard “quaint”? Well, we saw keyboards that would knock his tartan socks off.

Scrimp on having a sturdy, secure, comfortable keyboard and mouse duo at your peril by risking injury and loss of data and productivity. Input devices might seem like the lowest form of information technology, but they are the channels through which all else flows.

About the Author

Trudy Walsh is a senior writer for GCN.

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