gStick mouse is held like a pen

Yet another attempt to reinvent the mouse sees it combined with a stylus-like design so it can be wielded like a pen.

Yet another attempt to reinvent the mouse sees it combined with a stylus-like design so it can be wielded like a pen.

(Credit: Gordon Alan Stewart)

Where you have a tool, you'll find someone who wants to reinvent it. It doesn't always work; attempts to move away from the QWERTY keyboard layout have met with dismal obscurity. While mouse redesigns have proven to be marginally more successful, such as the trackball mouse that is more comfortable for users with RSI and carpal tunnel, its hand-fitted, two-button design is still a strong standard.

What about a mouse you could hold like a pen, though? Designers seem to love the Wacom tablet and stylus, which allows them to "draw" as they would with a pencil. A new mouse on Kickstarter is set to provide a halfway point between that system and a more traditional mouse.

The gStick is roughly the size of a thick-barrelled permanent marker and is wirelessly compatible with Linux, Mac and Windows. On its body are two buttons — roughly where you'd place your thumb and forefinger on the body of a pen — with a scroll wheel in between. The "nib" of the pen is rather like a giant ballpoint nib, with a ceramic mouse ball rather than an optical sensor (with a removable tip for cleaning mouse gunge). It's powered by a single AAA battery.

"In 2009, I conceived the gStick after trying to sign my signature to an online contract with a traditional mouse," creator Gordon Alan Stewart said. "I was very frustrated, and I wanted something that worked more accurately, that was inexpensive and that did not need a stylus pad. I also wanted a more natural and ergonomic mouse for being creative with Adobe Photoshop and 3D CAD programs such as Google SketchUp."

The Kickstarter page proposes that the mouse is perfect for painting, sketching, photo editing, 3D CAD, design, gaming, photo and video editing and graphic design.

It will retail for US$69, but can currently be picked up for US$25 (plus shipping) with a mouse pad from Kickstarter, with an estimated delivery in November.

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