Mouse for intuitive media software control
Year: 2006 - 2007

Stage of development: Fully functional prototype

Awards: 1st price, AES Design Competition, Undergraduate Category, Paris 2006

This specially designed computer mouse enables its user to intuitively control every virtual knob or fader of any software application. The user just has to move the mouse to a knob or fader and is immediately able to control it precisely with the hardware encoder placed on the mouse.

Project goal and implementation:
Re-design and expand the artifact "computer mouse" in a way that it enables the user to control all on-screen parameters in a tactile and intuitive way via the on-board hardware encoder. No configuration or mapping procedure is needed between the mouse and the controlled software applications: Once the driver is installed, the control functionality works with all DAW or plugin parameters immediately.

Conceptual considerations:
Almost every studio environment is based on a Digital Audio Workstation hosting a wide range of plugins that replace prior outboard equipment like eq's, compressors, effect devices as well as musical instruments. But the transfer into this highly integrated, virtual environment constrained the interaction possibillities: Instead of e.g. controlling a hardware eq with a smooth turning potentiometer with fine-grained tacticle feedback enabling precise control, the user is restricted to control its graphical representation with the standard "click and drag" approach. The increasing quantity of available additional hardware-controllers shows that many users are not satisfied with this interaction style. It is very important for them to have a tactile possibility to control their applications.
But as an external controller is just able to contol a few of the various functions and parameters the mouse is still the main tool if working with an DAW.

Project team:
Ben Bengler (idea & concept, hardware)
Michael Worobcuk (software)
Marco Lärm (product design)