Pointing and hand gestures: they’re powerful means of interracting, and make sense for music. The only problem is having to be tied to a desk in a performance, as with a mouse. Nintendo’s upcoming controller shows promise for what interractions could be like in the not-too-distant future (if other tech companies follow their lead). But what about now?

Possible Mac and PC-compatible mouse products:

Gyration GyroMouse; now discontinued though you might get an overstock. A friend of mine on faculty at SUNY Stonybrook uses this with Director on his Mac.

Monster Gecko Gaming Mouse: Just $40, and beloved by both PC Gamer and Macworld, among others. (Hint: poor choice for airplane security.)

Gyration Ultra GT $80, but more features. Crippled on the Mac (no right mouse button support, though USB Overdrive might work), but lots of options on Windows.

Once you’ve got these hooked up, a program like Max/MSP or Pd can make short work of converting them to useful information or MIDI. (We may some day be able to use the Revolution controller with our Mac or PC; there are already adapters for PS2, GameCube, and Xbox.)

Of course, the major limitation here is none of these appears to pull Z-axis information. Anyone out there tried gyro mice? Got any tips? Or are these likely to be useless for the time being? (Or should we go back to building things with our own gyro sensors? That’s more fun.)

  • Guest

    I really haven't toyed with any of these for a few years, but last I checked they only had X and Y axes like a normal mouse. No Z axis, and no tilt axes… and no real reason for the average mouse manufacturer to add those, sadly.

    I'm curious to find out if the Revolution controller sends via RF (and doesn't require being pointed at a screen) or if it's sort of like a light gun and works through IR. Anybody know?

  • Guest

    The Revolution controller sends via RF.

  • Guest

    I've used the Gyration Ultra for about 4-5 years now. I use it to drive interactive presentations – as natural as pointing at the screen.

    The discontinued one just never worked for me – it was completely smooth, like holding an egg: you had to keep looking at it to see if you were holding it right (not good for a device where position matters so much!) The buttons were too sensitive, so in trying to grip its egg shape, you couldn't help clicking it on accident.

    The Ultra has a more natural hand-holding shape, with kind of a hook and trigger in addition to the buttons and clickwheel.

    It can also be used as a regular optical mouse on a flat surface, and when you lift it up it goes into gryo mode instantly. I find it tool 'tall' for extended use on a flat surface, (I use a tablet anyway) but as a presentation pointer it's great. I don't thing it would do much for music-making, since it only really senses it's own orientation, not position (you control it more by pivoting your wrist, not by waving it around). The nintendo controller looks amazing – I'll be *very* happy if they pull this off (reliability, accuracy etc).

    I'm also still waiting for the eyetoy 3 – if you've seen the demos, it is even more incredible than the revolution controller. I couldn't believe what I was seeing!

  • Guest

    I have used my gyration ultra for abotu a year now and can say it has sazed alot of wear and tear on my wrist. Once you are used to it, your workflow will speed up considerably. My only problem has been some random issues with recpetion. Ive found the the ultra prefers to not be super close to large pieces of electronic equipment, and it helps to have the usb wire coming from the reciever stretched out as m much as possible because it acts as an antenna.