I don’t think they’ve done it just to spite Peter and CDMu readers, but not 3 days after the “is it vapourware” conversation, Thinkgeek have unboxed the first step towards Optimus.

It’s still not yet shipping, nor OSX or Linux compatible, and not really in the realm of truly useful gear ($169? How about a whole second or third 17″ monitor?), but it’s exciting news nevertheless. This device isn’t anywhere near the interaction leap of the multitouch demos we’ve been seeing, or even that daft “desktop metaphor enriching” thing, but it’s still extremely exciting that one of these thought experiments is actually becoming a reality.

There’s the obvious advantage for VJs: Triggering clips by hitting the key which displays the corresponding thumbnail, ditto for filters and transition modes, all with a stage-friendly backlit interface? Sign me up! Of course, if you want more than 3 buttons it would probably be cheaper and more functional to just get an LCD touchscreen for now, but for me this product is just as important for what it symbolises. This is the first step to those vapourware devices becoming real, and when every surface is covered with tiny displays, everyone is going to need some compelling visual content to cover those surfaces.

My fellow visualists, our time approaches. Don’t let someone else make the big money selling Matrix screensavers for all those Optimuses– Optimou– Optimii– things.