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Kickstarter of the week: The newest old-school mouse alternative you’ve ever seen

But isn’t that a little bit strange? Just where is all that sweet, sweet innovation when it comes to the mighty ubiquitous mouse? Isn’t the mouse well overdue for a makeover? 

It sure is, and if you’re in the creative industries, get ready to geek all the way out.

Introducing the nOb, a new kind of controller that uses a metal dial and two switches in place of the traditional left and right mouse buttons. ‘One knob to control it all’ boasts the marketing materials. 

Essentially, the nOb offers computer users a smooth, very precise dial controller that can adjust almost any kid of parameter on almost any piece of software with an ease and accuracy unimaginable with a traditional mouse.

Ever tried to draw a picture or sign your name with a mouse? Then you know just how unsuited traditional mouse controllers are to some tasks, especially those with a creative bent. 

“By intelligently emulating a Human Interface Device (NOT simply implementing a mouse scroll wheel), nOb is able to control virtually any parameter you would normally adjust with your mouse, delivering out-of-the-box compatibility with any operating system and software package,” goes the pitch.

“You simply have to point your mouse cursor to the parameter you want to control and use nOb’s big knob to fine-tune it to taste. Based on the current mode of operation, any draggable interface element found in modern media production software can be controlled, including sliders, scrollbars, knobs or even draggable value indicators.”

The nOb has plenty of applications for colourists, video editors and 3D artists, and is especially suited to music producers, who can enjoy smooth parameter control usually only available via traditional faders or old-school analogue equipment. The specs are pretty decent too, with an industrial grade encoder (up to 2400 ticks per revolution), touch sensitive toggle switches and USB connectivity. 

The Kickstarter campaign is sitting at just over €19,000 of a €52,000 goal with 51 days to go, and a pledge of €129 will get you your very own unit. 

It’s not the only clever mouse alternative out there, by the way. There are options for those with limited arm movement, this device for people who would rather use their thumb for key movements, and this weird thing you control with your feet. 

Honourable mention goes to the genius component-based mouse alternative, Palette, however. Though aimed at photographers/Photoshoppers specifically, Palette gear lets you construct your own interface of buttons, knobs and faders buy-what-you-want, kit-set style. 

The basic starter kit (consisting of a core, two buttons, one dial and one slider) goes for US$199.

Jonathan has been a writer longer than he cares to remember. Specialising in technology, the arts, and the grand meaning of it all, in his spare time he enjoys reading, playing guitars, and adding to an already wildly overstocked t-shirt collection.

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