A DIRECTORY OF SOURCES FOR INPUT TECHNOLOGIES
Bill Buxton

- Last Updated July 4, 2012 -


PREFACE

This page is a work in progress. The main part of it contains a list which I have compiled over a number of years of companies that make input devices and technologies. I have done this as part of the research for a book which I am preparing.

What follows is the current state of my conversion to hypertext of the original linear text version. It includes some somewhat dated information. But even that may have some historical interest.

My purpose of placing the document on the web is, first, to make it accessible to a larger community, and second, to take advantage of the ability to add links to the increasing number of relevant sources that now have a presence on the web. One of the most interesting aspects of this process has been the recognition of the extent to which this document is better suited to the hypertext format than linear text.

I welcome suggestions for additions, corrections, or any other feedback.


INTRODUCTION

The directory is broken down alphabetically into sections corresponding to specific classes of device. These include:


For devices having 4 or more dimensions of freedom, see especially the Joysticks and Miscellaneous sections.

For some device manufacturers, brief product annotations are provided. For others, just the company name. Companies who produce products falling into more than one class are listed more than once. In some cases (Bar-Code Readers and Speech Input / Output products, for example), secondary sources are cited. Full addressesof the manufacturers mentioned are found in the final section. Note that where an "800" toll-free number is given, in nearly all cases the number does not work from within the state that the company is located. I have also taken a North American centric approach to addresses and phone numbers. This is mainly a question of space and time. It is simply easier for me to verify the North American office coordinates. Check the web pages for company addresses in other regions.

As in any such list, there are omissions, and errors. Nevertheless, it is hoped that it will help those interested in investigating input technologies. Please address any comments, corrections, or additions to the author.

The contribution of James Lipscomb and the support of the Canadian Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and Rank Xerox EuroPARC are gratefully acknowledged. The help of my research assistants Adam Wood, Katy Wood and Blair Buxton is also gratefully acknowledged.
 


ARMATURES

Digital Image Design
Make an armature, the original configuration of which, The Monkey was in the form of of a biped. In computer animation, one would use this device to set the pose of a character by having each joint in the Monkey correspond to a joint in the character. The newest versio of the technologyy is a construction kit,called Monkey Bones, that enables one to configure an armature in any way one desires.

Faro Technologies Inc.
Make a family of armatures intended for digitizing 3D objects. In their current form, they do not provide a continuous stream of coordinates defininng the tip position and orientation; rather, there is one set per clck (of a pedal, typically).

Immersion Corporation
Make the MicroScribe-3D, an articulated arm with sensors used for digitizing 3D objects. Like a robot arm. Since mechanical, has no problem with digitaizing metals or solid objects. Howver, restricted in size of object it can digitize. While mechanically similar to the Faro armature, it outputs a continuous stream of coordinates, and can therefore be used as a 3D interactive manipulator with 6 DOF.

Puppet Works.
Make a reconfigurable armature for 3D animation motion control


ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGIES FOR SPECIAL NEEDS

Introduction

There are a number of resources on the web catering to collecting and diseminating information relevant to those with special needs.  These are not generally vendors or manufacturers of technologies, and most do not sell technology directly.  Rather, they maintain lists and directories to of resources, much like this page. They are typically either research centres, rehab centres, or organizations that service those with special needs.  Examples are : There are also a number of companies that produce and/or distribute devices for users with special needs. The following represents a representative sample. However, this is a specialized field, and we make no claim or attempt to be comprehensive.  The sites mentioned above have more detailed lists.  On the other hand, this document, as a whole, includes sourcs for a number of technologies intended for so-called "able bodied" users which may not appear on such lists, and may nevertheless be of value to those with spcial needs.One example category would be Eye and Head Movement Trackers, which are listed separately in this document.

Suppliers:

orbiTouch.
Make a unique "keyboard," the orbiTouch, (originally known as the Keybowl), which has no keys.  Rather, each hand sits on a puck-like device, each of which can move in any of the 8 primary and secondary points of the compass.  Each combination of directions maps to a specific character.  The device thereby enables "typing" by people with no hands or fingers, as well as those with severe CTS, for example.

Commodio
Not a keyboard company.  Rather, make software, QPointer Keyboar, which lets you use the keyboard as a substitute for the mouse when interacting with graphical user interfaces.  This is relevant in terms of accessibility to those who can use a keyboard, but not a mouse.

Compusult Ltd.
Make assistive technologies such as, FasseTrack, a speech technology for visually impaired people, and a mouth/chin operated joystick, the Jouse 2.  This is a USB device which enable button clicks, among other ways, via built in sip and puff switches.

Infusion Systems Ltd.
While not specifically a supplier of technology for people with disabilities, the technologies offered by Infusion, constitute perhaps the most powerful and useful toolkit for creating custom interfaces to enable access for those with special needs.  They supply the broadest range of sensors (motion, proximity, heat, light, tilt, pressure, ...), and means to connect them to a computer, than any company that I am aware of. The computer interface is via a product called the I-Cube.  The company's products are very much worth looking at.

In Touch Systems
Make a miniature keyboard with built-in mouse equivalent capabilities that allows access to any computer using only the slightest head or hand movement.  The Magic Wand Keyboard works with the touch of either a mouthstick or a hand-held wand, and requires zero force contact to activate.  Pointing is accomplished by entering a special mode by touching a "MOUSE ON" key.  The numeric keyboard then provides the 8 direction keys: up, down, left, right, and 4 diagonals.  The mouse pointer continues to move as long as a direction key is touched.  It slowly picks up speed the further distance it travels.

The keyboard has dedicated mouse keys for clicking, dragging, double clicking, and for speed control.  It also offers Shift-click, Control-click, chord click, and triple click features.

KY Enterprises
Make a range of adaptive controllers, including a mouth operated adaptive joystick that works on video games, and with an adapter, on a PC, as well as a Sip/Puff switch.

Madentec Inc.
Make a head tracker device, the Tracker 2000, which sits on top of the computer, does this by tracking a tiny ‘dot’ worn on the user’s forehead. It is mainly intended as a mouse replacement for users with special needs. Also make on-screen keyboards and software which uses dwell time as an alternative to mouse clicks.

orbiTouch.
Make a unique "keyboard," the orbiTouch, (originally known as the Keybowl), which has no keys.  Rather, each hand sits on a puck-like device, each of which can move in any of the 8 primary and secondary points of the compass.  Each combination of directions maps to a specific character.  The device thereby enables "typing" by people with no hands or fingers, as well as those with severe CTS, for example.

 Possibilities Company (The)
Make a device for speech synthesis, the FastTalk, for those with limited speech, and a hand-held sensing device, the Rover seeing aid, for those with severe visual impairments.

Prentke Romich Co.
Make a range of input technologies for people with special needs. Including the Headmaster Plus, a head motion detector with mouth switch. Looks like a pair of Walkman-style headphones that provides an alternative to the mouse. Also make on-screen keyboards.

R.J. Cooper & Associates
Offer a range of services and technologies for people with special needs, including over-sized keyboards, the TrackIR, an inexpensive head tracker, and button and switch devices specifically tailored to children.

TASH Inc.
TASH is a government supported distributor for a wide range of interactive aids for people with physical disabilities. A comprehensive catalogue is available.

Telesensory Corp.
Make two product lines:  Low Vision Products - (Personal Reading Systems and Computer Magnification Systems for Enlarging Text) and  OCR Products.

Tipro Keyboards
Make a range of keyboards, including keyboards in various configurations (not just QWERTY) for industrial and commercial applications, for example. They also have keyboards especially designed to meet the special needs of those with physical disabilities.

Traxsys
Make a range of assistive technologies, including systems for mounting switches, joysticks, etc. to table-tops, wheelchair trays, etc., mouse alternatives, keyboards,switches and associated hardware, and communication aids.

Zofcom
Make a tongue-controlled pointing devie that mounts on the roof of the mouth. IS a wireless technology. Very interesting.

Zygo Industries, Inc.
Manufacture and distribute a range of augmentative communication systems, computer access and other assistive technologies.


BAR-CODE READERS

There are a number of manufacturers of bar code reading equipment. This is not an area that I cover very well, so I only have a few suppliers.

Suppliers

Intelligent Instrumentation, Inc.
Make a range of barcode readers and data acquisition terminals.

Interactive Computer Products
Make a combination lightpen and barcode reader.

PSC Inc.
One of the main suppliers of barcode technology.

Scan Technology
Make barcode readers, magnetic stripe readers and lightpens.

Symbol Technologies Inc.
One of the main suppliers of barcode technology.


BOARDS, DESKS, PADS AND PENS

Introduction
This section deals with technologies that let you write and mark as you would with a whiteboard, a drafting table or a pad of paper on a clipboard.  For the most part this is undertaken using a stylus or a pen.  In some cases, the pen itself is the complete device.

With the growing number of manufacturers making large (42-50 inch) wall mountable flat plasma panels, there is an increasing number of options that can serve as electronic whiteboards.  The best current one is from Pioneer.  For more information on these devices, see, for example, Advanced Display Technologies, which is one retailer specializing in this class of technology and carries inventory from a range of suppliers.  Included in the list in this section are some touch screens designed to be used with these large format displays, but more are emerging so check the vendors listed in the Touch Screens section as well as Microfield in this section.

Readers should also note that you can create a very cost effective electronic whiteboard using a Lightpen combined with a CRT-type rear projection system (although this option is disappearing along with CRT projectors). As well, mounting a large digitizing tablet on the wall, for example, and projecting onto it, is another alternative approach to prototyping a digital whiteboard.

Another option is to control a projected computer screen using your PDA.  There is some free software from Carnegie Mellon University, Pebbles that lets you remotely control your PC using the buttons and touch-screen of your PDA. More recently, one can find similar applications for some smartphones.  Hence, combined with a data projector, you have a very powerful interactive presentation tool, especially when the PDA has a wireless connection to the PC.

In general, the reader is directed to the sections of Digitizing Tablets, Lightpens, Touch Screensand Character Recognition for information on related pen/stylus/marking based interaction technologies.

Suppliers:

Adesso
Make an electronic "clipboard," the CyberPad Digital Notepad, that fit under a pad of normal paper that captures what is written on the paper. It is a reincarnation of an older out-of-production product, the CrossPad.

Anoto
Have developed a pen technology that writes in normal ink on a piece of special patterned paper so that what is written can be wirelessly transferred, via Bluetooth, to a mobile phone, PC or PDA. The pen incorporates a digital camera and an image processing unit.  When writing on the paper the camera takes digital snapshots of a grid on the surface of the special paper.  This allows it to calculate the pen's position in relation to the paper and store a virtual image of the writing in the pen's memory.  This technology is also sold commercially by Logitech as the LogitechIO Digital Pen, Livescribe as the Pulse Smartpen, and by Hewlett-Packard as part of their HP Forms Automation System. See also the C Pen which is from another division of the same company, and uses related technology

Aqcess Technologies, Inc.
Make two models of stylus driven slate computers, the Qbe Originaland the Qbe Vivo. They have capacity for wireless network connectivity, and also can be driven by the finger using a touch screen, rather than just a stylus.

Barco Projection Systems
Make the Baron, a rear-projection having the form factor of a drafting table. Intended for stereo projection with stero glasses and 6 DOF input device.

Carroll Touch
Is a major Touch Screens vendor.  Within their product line, they  make a touch screen that can be mounted on 42" plasma panels and therefore support electronic meeting board type applications.

Cross Pen Computing Group
No longer in business.  Made a range of styli and tablets called the iPen. Also made a portable digitizer, the Cross Pad, that fit under a pad of paper and captured what is written on the paper. However, an equivalent product, the CyberPad Digital Notepad is now available Adesso.

C Technologies
Make a wireless stylus-type device, the C Pen, that has a camera as its tip.  It can capture printed text off of paper.  This text can then be transfered to a PC or processed inside the C Pen, itself, such as into an internal address book or translated into another language.  It can also be used for simple drawing or text entry by drawing on patterned paper.  See also the Anoto pen which is from another division of the same company, and uses related technology.

Digital Ink
Have announced a stylus technology, the n-scribe Pen, The n-scribe pen will function like a normal pen, in that it lets you write, draw, etc. on paper, and at the same time, captures everything that you do in the pen itself.  Essentially the stylus is a ballpoint pen with an IR transmitter.  The cap, which one attaches to the writing surface, incorporates two IR sensors which, through triangulation, can track the positing and motion of the pen.  The captured data is stored in the cap and can then be downloaded into a PC, PDA, etc.

Egan Visual
See TeamBoard Inc.

Fakespace, Inc.
Make a 6' x 4.5" rear projection surface, mounted on the horizontal plane, like a table. Used to project high resolution stereo images, which are viewed wearing stereoscopic shutter glasses (typically with head tracking). Input is via a 6 DOF input device.

Fakespace Systems
Make a range of VR room, wall and desk technologies.

Finepoint Innovations
A follow-on company, growing out of Mutoh and Kurta brands.  Make a 12 inch LCD panel with pen input, the MagicPoint VT-12S Video Tablet and a 14 inch unit, the  MagicPoint VT-14 Digitizer Tablet.  Also offer a range of related OEM solutions, especially for Tablet-PCs.

Fujitsu
Make two lines of portable pen-based tablet computers, the Stylistic and the PenCentra and a Tablet PC.

Hewlett-Packard
Make a Tablet PC. As well, their HP Forms Automation System incorporated the digital paper/pen technology from Anoto.

Hitachi Software Engineering America Ltd.
Make an line of electronic whiteboards, named StarBoard.  Includes an opaque whiteboard that one can use with conventional markers, or project upon.  Also includes a rear-projection unit.  Their softwware is a key part of the their value added.

Input Technologies Inc.
Made a drafting table-like rear projection desk, the Visionmaker PS. The display surface was 26" x 31". Utilized a wireless pressure sensitive stylus for input. Like a drafting table, the work surface angle could be adjusted from nearly horiontal (for work standing up) to a steep slope for working while sitting.  The company is no longer in business, but the technology has been acquired by Fakespace Systems, and has been revised and renamed, the ImmersaDesk®M1.

Interlink Electronics
Make a signiture capture technology for retail, the ePad.

Livescribe
Make a pen, called the Pulse Smartpen, that when used with special paper captures what you wrote.  It uses the same technology from Anoto that a number of other digital pen-on-paper devices use.  The key differentiator with with the Pulse Smartpen is that the stylus has an embedded microphone and audio recorder.  Using an idea that I first heard at Xerox PARC in about 1992, the software time-stamps both the digital ink and the voice recording so that when one selects any ink stroke (on paper or later in the computer) the system will play back the audio that occured at the same time that the ink stroke was made.  This is, by the way, a capability that exists in Microsoft Office Onenote on a tablet PC.

Logitech Corp.
Have a digital paper/pen product, the LogitechIO Digital Pen, which uses technology from Anoto. It incorporates a small motor with asymetric mass that can be used to provide tactile feedback via the resulting vibration.

Luidia
Make a technology, the eBeam, which is an electronic marker system can be retrofitted and used with almost any writing surface such as a whiteboards or flipchart. See also the product from Virtual Ink.

Microfield Graphics, Inc.
Make the SoftBoard, a unit that looks like a regular whiteboard. One writes onto it using markers, as with a conventional whiteboard. However, the tip of the markers has a reflector which enables a laser scanner around the bezel of the whiteboard to sense the position and colour of the tip. Hence, what is written on the whiteboard can be captured by a computer. This enbles meeting capture, as well as the potential for remote sites to see what is written on the whiteboard on a remote computer display.

MicroTouch Corp.
Are mainly a touchscreen manufacturer. Make a large format touch surface, the Ibid, that can be used as an electronic whiteboard. Also make a touchscreen that can be operated with either a finger or a tethered stylus. When using the stylus, the technology is able to reject data from the hand, such as would result if the screen were mounted horizontally, and the hand was resting on it while operating the stylus.

Numonics Corp.
Make a range of meeting support technologies, including an Interactive WhiteBoard that captures what is written on it in colour on a PC, an Interactive FlipChart which does the same thing with a flip chart, and the Interactive DisplayMate which is a rear projection display with a touch screen mounted on it for interaction.

PolyVision
Make a range of interactive whiteboards.  Use front projection.

Plus Corporation
Make a range of electronic whiteboards, the Copyboard series that have built in printers as well as the ability to connect to a PC and meeting software., the Plus BF-030PC Electronic Copyboard.

Pyramid Systems, Inc.
Made a large format (4' x 5') rear projection screen, angled at 45 degrees, the Immersadesk. Used a 6 DOF input device, and is typically intend to be used with a high resolution workstation displaying stereo images, viewed wearing stereoscopic shutter glasses.  Their technology is now available through Fakespace Systems.

Seiko Instruments
Distribute the SmartPad, a device that you can attach to a paper notepad and then connect to your PDA, laptop or PC.  The arrangement permits one to sketch with pen and ink on paper, and have the results recorded digitally on the associated device.  The computational device (PDA, ...) and the pad communicate via an infra-red link, or USB cable.  The stylus has a tip at each end:  one outputs ink for writing on paper, and the other, for writing on a PDA screen.  While Seiko distributes the device, it was developed and manufactured by Ecrio.

SMART Technologies Inc.
Make a range of electronic whiteboard products, including ones that work with front and rear projection and plasma displays. They also make products which capture data entered on a conventional whiteboard which has been augmented by their technology.  All use various form of touch sensing technology.  Their traditional products have used overlays for sensing touch.  More recently, they have introduced Digital Vision Touch (DViT) which uses sensors mounted in the corner of the board, rather than overlays, for sensing.  The advantage of the latter is that there is some loss of visual quality when overlays are involved.  Both technologies, however, can sense touch from fingers or from objects.  Hence, one can use real, or virtual whiteboard markers, where each colour marker has a specific slot for when not in use. The slots have a microswitch which enables the unit to know which one is currently in use, thereby displaying the appropriate colour of digital ink, for example.

Sony
Make a desktop computer, the Viao PCV-LX900 Slimtop Pen Tablet, with a flat panel display that can work either like a conventional monitor, or slide down to work as an pen-based LCD digitizeing tablet.

TeamBoard Inc
Make a family of high quality electronic whiteboards with the generic name, TeamBoard, with a touch-sensitive surface. Consequently, what one writes on the surface can be captured by a computer. One writes using conventional whiteboard markers, and uses a whiteboard eraser. Units can be wall mounted or in cabinets. Size can be up to 60" x 48".

TDS Ltd.
An early manufacturer of tablets with pressure-sensitive styli. Most recent line was called the Quora.  Also made a high DOF stylus, called MAX.  Now make a line of electronic whiteboards, the ACTIVboard.

U-Touch
Make a range of touch screens using various technologies, including optical sensing, through-glass (as in store windows), infra-red, and resistive membrane.  Include multi-touch capable technologies.  Make touch sensors for very large displays, the largest one at the time of writing is for Panasonic's 103" plasma panel.

Virtual Ink Corporation
Make a device, mimo, that can be retrofitted onto a conventional whiteboard or flip chart and can capture what is written using conventional markers.  The markers slip into special sleeves, and their coordintes are captured by an mechanism that attest to the surface.  The technology is extremely inexpensive.  See also the product from Electronics for Imaging.

Wacom Technology Corp.
Make an LCD panel with integrated tablet which enables pen-based interaction.

WizCom Technologies
Make a range of wireless pen scanners, including: the QuickLink Pen, that can scan and OCR text that can then be uploaded into a PC, the Reading Pen that adds text to speach capabilities, the Quicktionary Pen that is a multilingual dictionary that can translate or give the definition for the scanned word, and the SuperPen that combines the capabilities of the QuickLink and Quicktionary pens.
 


CHARACTER RECOGNITION

Advanced Recognition Technology (ART)
Offer a range of technologies for the recognition of natural cursive script.  Also have a product, simpliWrite, that enables printing characters one ontop of the other, thereby supporting heads-up writing on small displays such as cell phones.

Communication Intelligence Corp
Make a handwriting system, Handwriter, as well as one called Manta, which includes a small digitizing tablet as well as software for character recognition.

Fonix Corp.
Make a character recognition package called Allegro.  Uses single stroke versions of characters, where what is drawn looks just like the character entered. One must, however, draw the character in a particular manner.

Micropad Limited

Mukon
Make a range of recognition packages for word processing, numerical calculators, etc.

NCS (Previously Nestor, Inc.)
Make a range of recognition technologies based on neural network technologies.

Parascript
Their Natural Handwriting Recognition claims to recognize cursive or printed text or numbers, or any combination thereof. The claim is to do so without restrictions on spacing of charcters, or constrained by form fields. The technology is designed for scanned handwritten text, not interactive applications.

Personal Writer Inc.
Make the Personal Writer, a tablet for the Macintosh including the capability of recognizing hand-printed characters.


CHORD KEYBOARDS

Preamble
There are a few web pages that maintain additional inforation on keyboard devices and related topics. In addition to what I have, the reader is referred to the following links:

http://www.tifaq.com

http://www.sirius.com/~gkarp/onsight/resources/keyboard.html

Also note that I have Keyboards and Numeric Keypads under a separate heading.

Sources:
AccuCorp, Inc.
Make a novel two-handed eight key keyboard called the AccuKey. It is unique in that each of its soft rubberkeys can be moved away or towards the central "off" position, that is, it uses 3-state keys. This action is combined with chording for text entry. .

Microwriter Ltd.
Used to make the Microwriter, a one-handed chord-keyboard word processor. Now make a product called the Agenda that incorporates a microwriter-like chording keyboard.

Ergoplic Keyboard Ltd.
Kesher Technology Ltd.
Make Octima, an 8-button one-handed chord keyboard

Handykey Corp.
Produce a hand-held 1-handed chord keyboard called the Twiddler, for IBM PC machines. The unit is held in the palm of the hand and movement also provides cursor control.

Infogrip, Inc.
Make the Bat, which consists of two chord keyboards, one for the left hand, and one for the right. Both keyboards are identical (save for being mirror images of one another). The same encoding is used on each. The idea is that increased speed is obtained by typing alternate characters on alternate hands. One can also type with one hand usinga single keyboard. Thus, one can type with one hand, and point/select with a mouse, for example, with the other.

Matias Corporation
Make a software module that enables a standard QWERTY keyboard to support one-handed typing such that a touch typist can adapt in a matter of hours. Consequently, one can type with either hand, leaving the other free to operate the mouse, or use the keyboard in the conventional manner and type with both hands. No special hardware is required.

NewO Company
Make the Writehander, a 12-button one-handed chording keyboard

Palantype
Make a special keyboard for transcription. Similar to the American-developed American Stenograph, the Palantype machine allows the writer to commit a phonetic version of the spoken word on a printed roll, internal floppy disc, or computer as an alternative to traditional shorthand.   Used in court reporting and in doing captioning for the hearing impaired.

Stenograph Corp.
Court reporting keyboards

WordPacer
Make a one-handed chording keyboard with pointing stick for both the IBM PC and the Macintosh computers.


DIGITIZING TABLETS

Acecad Inc.
Make a range of relatively inexpensive tablets, including the AceCat III, a small 5" x 5" digitizing tablet. , as well as a 12" x 12" and an 18" x 12" digitizer.

Aiptek
Make the HyperPen range digitizing tablets, as well as a bluetooth tablet (see also the Wacom Graphire bluetooth tablet) which provides wireless mobility while controlling a remote display with a stylus and tablet.

Altek Corp.
Bought the line of desktop digitizers, pens, pucks and drivers that were previously sold under the Kurta brand name. Still supply some drivers and surplus technology.  The Kurtah/Mutoh tablet products have migrated to Finepoint Innovations.

CalComp Corp.
 Tablet manufacturer.  Consolidated with GTCO, and now sold under name of GTCO CalComp.

Communication Intelligence Corp
Made a handwriting system, Handwriter, as well as one called Manta, which includes a small digitizing tablet as well as software for character recognition. Now just make software for character/word recognition.

Cross Pen Computing Group
No longer in business.  Made a range of styli and tablets called the iPen. Also made a portable digitizer, the Cross Pad, that fit under a pad of paper and captured what is written on the paper. Also made replacement styli for the PalmPilot.

Finepoint Innovations
A follow-on company, growing out of Mutoh and Kurta brands.  Make a 12 inch LCD panel with pen input, the MagicPoint VT-12S Video Tablet and a 14 inch unit, the  MagicPoint VT-14 Digitizer Tablet.  Also offer a range of related OEM solutions, especially for Tablet-PCs.

GTCO CalComp Inc.
Company formed out of the consolidation of GTCO, CalComp, and earlier, Science Accessories, a company which made a range of acoustic tablets. Calcomp had earlier consolidated with Summagraphics, another tablet manufacturer.  Make a range of digitizing tablets. including tablets made from very thin flexible "roll-up" material to facilitate transportation, etc. (See also Numonics.) GTCO recently acquired

Hewlett-Packard
Used to make digitizing tablets.  Now make a Tablet PC.

Hitachi Digital Grqaphics.
Made a line of graphics tablets, which is now discontinued.   However, support and drivers are available from their web site.

Key Tronic
Made a low cost tablet, the NotePad, with a tethered stylus.  No longer offered.

KidBoard Inc.
Make graphics tablets, as well as a keyboard and ligtpen designed especially for young children. Also have a range of appropriate software for these devices.

Kurta Corp.
Company founded in 1979.  Consolidated into Mutoh in 1995.   Some legacy technology sold by Altek Corp. Technology has evolved into Finepoint Innovations.

Kye International Corp.
Make a range of small digitizing tablets under the Genius brand.

Mutoh Corp.
Were a supplier of OEM products for pen-based computing, including styi, and an LCD panel with a wireless stylus.  Products migrated to Finepoint Innovations.

Numonics Corp.
Make a tablet with a pressure-sensitive stylus. Some models have chordless pens and pucks. Also make a tablet which is in the form of a flexible mat which is, consequently, extremely thin, and can be rolled up (such as for transportation). See also GTCO CalComp.

Pentel of America, Inc.
No longer in business.

Personal Writer Inc.
Made the Personal Writer, a tablet for the Macintosh including the capability of recognizing hand-printed characters.  Out of business.

Preh Electronic Industries, Inc.
No longer in business.

Procision Instrument BV
Make a digitizer, the DigiVisor, which is intended for digitizing CAD drawings, etc..  Rather than using a digitizing tablet on which paper drawings must be placed, one edge of the drawing is placed against a relatively compact elongated base station.  The user than uses either a puck or a stylus to enter coordinates.  These are captured by the base station by triangulating infrared light from the stylus or cursor.  The A0 version  can be used on areas up to 90 x 130 cm.

Roland Electronics

Science Accessories Corp.
Made tablets using acoustic technology, including 3D capability. After acquisaition, products now part of  GTCO CalComp line.

Scriptel Corp.
Make transparent tablet that can be mounted over flat displays, thereby permitting you to write on display. See also the Graphic Technology Co. The Penwriter is a package that includes the digitizer mounted on an LCD panel. Scriptel make an electrostatic digital pen product called WriteTouch, which is intended to be used with flat panels, and enables writing with either wireless stylus or finger.

Summagraphics Corp.
Made a range of tablets. Became a subsiduary of Calcomp Corp which then integrated with GTCO into GTCO CalComp.

TDS Ltd.
An early manufacturer of tablets with pressure-sensitive styli. Most recent line was called the Quora.  Also made a high DOF stylus, called MAX.  Now make a line of electronic whiteboards, the ACTIVboard.

Wacom Technology Corp.
By far the leader in this sector.  Have a tablet with wireless stylus and pressure sensing. Is also unique in that most of their tablets are capable of sensing 2 devices, a puck and a stylus, on the tablet at a time. Consequently, the tablet is very well suited to supporting 2-handed graphical interaction. In the range is a 6x8 bluetooth tablet than enables wireless remote control of a display with a stylus.  Also make a 17" and 21" LCD panel with integrated tablet, the Cintiq, which enables pen-based interaction.


EYE AND HEAD MOVEMENT TRACKERS

In addition to the technologies below, many computers are now equipped with a video camera. Processing the image provides a means to track head position and movement. The software by Visionics, for example, provides this capability.

Applied Science Laboratories

ISCAN Inc.
Systems for tracking Pupil, Pupil/Head, and Pupil/Corneal Reflections. Requires head-mounted sensors.

LC Technologies
Make a technology, the Eyegaze system, for tracking eye movement. Suitable for pointing, selecting, etc. The technology is non-intrusive: the infra-red source that reflects off of the pupil and its sensor are both mounted on the workstation, not the head.

Madentec Inc.
Make a head tracker device, the Tracker 2000, which sits on top of the computer, does this by tracking a tiny ‘dot’ worn on the user’s forehead. It is mainly intended as a mouse replacement for users with special needs. Also make on-screen keyboards and software which uses dwell time as an alternative to mouse clicks.

Maui Innovative Peripherals
Make two head motion controllers, the Miracle Mouse and the Cymouse.

Origin Instruments Corp.
Make a low-power optical radar sensor, the DynaSight sensor. It permits head position to be tracked in 3D by tracking the position of a reflective dot (attatched to eye glasses, for example). Since it uses reflective technology, it is wireless, and requires no batteries, etc. attatched to the wearer. They also make a head pointing device, the HeadMouse, mainly intended as a mouse alternative for those with physical disabilities. One version is for desktop computers, the other for laptops.

Prentke Romich Co.
Make the Headmaster Plus, essentially a remote light-pen mounted on a Walkman-style head-set. Converts head (not eye) movement into tracking symbol movement. Developed for people with physical disabilities, but has more general potential.

R.J. Cooper & Associates
Offer an inexpensive ($300) IR head tracker, the TrackIR.

SensoMotoric Instruments
Have an eye tracking technology, the EyeMouse which enables one to interact with PC applications with the eye. Makes use of a graphical keyboard for text entry where one "types" by looking at the desired key. Also have a range of other eye tracking technology, such as to determine location of gaze, etc.

Shooting Star Technology
Make a mechanical head tracker, the ADL-1. This is an affordable 6D tracker imlemented using a lighweight multiply-jointed arm. The arm is attatched to a head-band at one end, and anchored to a fixed location at the other. Sensors in the arm's joints track the angles of the arm's joints, thereby enabling position to be determined relative to the base.

Visionics Corp.
Provide a software library that processes the output of a video camera in order to support head tracking, head presence, face identification and face location.


FOOT CONTROLLERS

Introduction

There are not a lot of foot controllers available that are specially made for use with computers. Pay attention, however, to your local music store for a variety of foot switches and foot-controlled potentiometers (volume pedals). See the entry below for Roland Corp., for one example. There are several other pedal vendors. These or comparable devices should be available locally almost anywhere.

If you do wish to use a music foot pedal (either switch or potentiometer) which was not specifically designed for your computer, there is the problem of connecting it to your computer. This is relatively easilly solved using components described in the MIDI Controllers and Accessories. section.. First, you need a MIDI interface for your computer. In addition, you need a module box which convert the output of a switch or potentiomenter into MIDI. The pedal connects to the pedal module, which connects to the MIDI interface, which connects to your computer. Your application then can access the pedal information via the MIDI driver in your system.

Finally, a number of games controllers have pedal devices, so see also the entries under the heading Game Controllers.

Specific Suppliers:

Bilbo Innovations, Inc.
Make pedals, the STEP ON IT! Keyboard Control Pedals, that can function as alternatives for the ALT, CTL, SHIFT keys, or mouse buttons, for example. Normally come in a 3-pedal set.

Brown & Co. Inc.
PC-Pedal: for Entering Special Characters to a PC. An on/off non-latching switch that can be defined to be an alternative for some key, especially one that takes the hand from home-row. Has package of support software.

CH Products
Make a pedal controler for the game industry. Consists of a pedal for each foot that can function like rudder controls on an aircraft, or accelerator and brake pedals of a car.

Hunter Digital
Make a two pedal input device as a PC mouse alternative. One pedal is used for cursor control, the other for button clicks.

Infusion Systems Ltd.
Make a floor pad, the Taptile, for sensing walking, jumping, and foot tapping. It interfaces via the comany's MIDI I-Cube system.

Kinesis Corp.
Have 3 different foot pedal products in their line.  Of special interest is their programmable 3 pedal unit.  It has one main and two secondary pedals that can be programmed.  You daisy chain the unit with your keyboard, so it can be used with any computer that has a PC-type keyboard, without any special software.  It is transparent to the computer. Factory default actions are "Ctrl", "Alt", and "Shift," but these can be replaced by any key or even by macros.

Roland, Corp.
Makes a non-latching foot switch called the DP-2, a latching foot switch called the FS-1 and a volume pedal called the FV-200. These are music pedals. They can be interfaced to the computer reatively easilly, however, using modules decribed in the section on MIDI Controllers and Accessories.

Slingshot Game Technology
Make a snowboard-like game controler which you stand on, the Catapult,which is actually a specialized joystick.

Versatron Corp
Make the Foot Mouse, a Foot-Activated Pointing Device. Actually, a foot-activated "joy-switch." Provides up, down, left, and right arrow characters to an IBM-type PC.


FORCE & TACTILE FEEDBACK ("HAPTIC") DEVICES

ABV Tech.
Make a range of game controlers, including the  the Pegasus force feedback joystick, more conventional joysticks.

Betacom Corporation.
Make a 2 DOF force-feedback "mouse," the Screen Rover Mouse.

Cybernet Systems
Develop force feedback technology.  Originally had a range of 2 to 6 DOF force feedback devices, mainy targetted towards the videogame market sold under their name.  Their technology is now licenced through Immersion Corporation.

Force Dimension
Make a range of 3DOF and 6DOF force feedback input devices, the Delta and Omega products.

Haptech Technologies Inc.
Made a 2 DOF force-feedback mouse, the MouseCAT, and a 2DOF force-feedback stylus, the PenCAT, along with a suite of software tools and applications.  In March 2000, Haptech was acquired by Immersion Corporation, and is now known as Immersion Canada.

Immersion Corporation
Make a range force and tactile feedback devices. This includes 2 and 3 DOF force feedback technology, I-Force, incorporated within joysticks, sterring wheels, flight yokes, and other consumer gaming peripherals.  Aditionally, they make the FEELit Mouse, a force feedback mouse, and TouchSense technology for touch screens, that is, a technology that uses vibration to give tactile feedback when interacting with graphical widgets with a touch screen. Their technology is licenced by Logitech Corp for their iFeel mouse (which provides tactile rather than force feedback).

Logitech Corp.
Have a digital paper/pen product, the IO Digital Pen, which uses technology from Anoto. It incorporates a small motor with asymetric mass that can be used to provide tactile feedback via the resulting vibration. They also use a similar technique to add tactile feedback to their iFeel mouse. This is accomplished using technology licenced from Immersion Corporation

MPB Technologies
Make two haptic input devices, the Freedom 6S a true 6DOF hand controller, and the Freedom3: a 3DOF hand controller.

Reachin AB
Make a system incorporating a SensAble Technologies Phantom with a half-silvered mirror display that provides an integreated desktop immersive haptic workstation.

SensAble Technologies Inc.
Produce a high quality 6 DOF input device with 3DOF force (haptic) feedback, called the Phantom.

Virtual Technologies, Inc.
Make a line of gloves, including one with an exoskeleton, the CyberGrasap Glove,  that provides

/force feedback.
 


GAME CONTROLLERS

Game controllers consist of game pads, joysticks, gloves, steering wheels, trackballs, etc. I have grouped them together mainly because they are a distinct segment of the controller market, and most manufacturers make a range of different technologies. Some of the devices are cross-listed in other categories, but most are not. However, if htis area interests you, you should at least look under the Foot Controllers, Gloves, Joysticks, Miscellaneousand Trackballs headings.

ABV Tech.
Make a range of game controlers, including the Mag Turbo and AVB USB force feedback driving wheels,  the Pegasus force feedback joystick, more conventional joysticks, and the Vibration Mouse.

Alps Interactive
Make a game controller for the Sony Playstation.

Happ Controls
Make a range of devices and components for games, including arcade systems, including keyboards, buttons, joysticks, trackballs and driving controllers.

Immersion Corporation
Make a range of 2 and 3 DOF force feedback joysticks as well as a force feedback mouse and game controllers.

Infusion Systems Ltd.
Make a pair of gloves, the TouchGlove, that includes 6 pressure sensors per glove - five fingertips and one on the palm. These interface via the comany's MIDI I-Cube system.

InterAct
Make a wide range of joysticks, steering wheels, pedals, pistols and game pads.

Interactive Light
Make a great set of game controllers that capture real-world actions, such as kicking a soccer ball, or swinging a baseball bat.

Logitech Corp.
Make a range of joysticks, mainly for the home and entertainment industry, including a 6 DOF isometric joystick, the CyberMan 2.

Mad Catz, Inc.
Make a range of controllers, including steering wheels with foot pedals, joysticks, game pads, pistols for computers, Sega Satern, Sony Playstation and Nintendo 64.

Naki International
MAke a range of game pads, pistols and joysticks for a range of game systems.

Nyko Technologies Inc.
Make a range of game controllers, including pads, joysticks, pistols and assorted accessories.

Reality Quest
Make a device, The Glove, which is targetted for the games market as a controller. This is a low-end glove which gives 2 degrees of freedom based on wrist flex, i.e., it is a joystick replacement. It also accomodates button input from all four fingers and the thumb.

Slingshot Game Technology
Make a snowboard-like game controler which you stand on, the Catapult, which is actually a specialized joystick.

Technology PlayGroup Inc.
Make an adaptor, the Unwinder, that enables joysticks and other controllers designed for games to be interfaced to the SGI computers.

Thrustmaster, Inc.
Make a range of controllers, including joysticks, pinball "flipper" controllers, steering wheels, game pads, and foot pedals.
 
 


GLOVES

Didjiglove
Make a glove for use in animation. Make left and right hand versions.

Essential Reality
Make a low cost glove controller, the P5, which is mainly targeted for games.  Senses position in x/y/z within a 3 foot range of the docking station, as well as pitch, yaw and roll.  It also have 5 finger flex sensors.

Fakespace Labs
Make the Pinch Glove.  The glove senses contact among any two or more digits (i.e. left forefinger to right forefinger).  It does not have motion, positon or orientation tracking, although this can be achieved by combining it with sensors from  Ascention or Polhemus, for example.  The Pinch Gloves are also available from Fakespace Systems.

Immersion Corp
Make a line of gloves, the technologies that came through their acquisition of Virtual Technologies.  These include the CyberGlove, which fit a variety of sizes and for both hands. There are models with 18 and 22 sensors per glove. There is also a version, the CyberTouch Glove, that has tactors on each finger and the thumb, thereby providing the capability of tactile feedback.  Finally, there is a glove with an exoskeleton, the CyberGrasp Glove,  that provides haptic/force feedback. Finally, at the top of the line is the CyberForce, which provides force feedback for hand and arm.

iReality.com Inc.
Make the 5DT Data Glove, a technology that they acquired when they purchased General Reality Co. Has a built-in 2-axis tilt sensor. Measures finger flexure.

Tactiva
They do not make gloves, but have a related (not yet available) technology that uses optical techniques (a camera) to capture hand pose and use this for interaction.


JOYSTICKS

Note: a number of joystick products are also listed under the heading, Game Controllers.

3Dconnexion.
Make a range of  6 DOF isometric joystick, including those previously available from LogiCad3D GmbH and Labtec 3D Motion Control Technology Group  Models include the  Space Mouse (a.k.a.Magellan),  CadMan, and Spaceball. They also make the SpaceNavigator, a keyboard with an integrated Space Mouse.  Finally, they make devices for industrial applications, such as the ErgoCommander and a Force/Torque Sensor System.

ABV Tech.
Make a range of game controlers, including the  the Pegasus force feedback joystick, more conventional joysticks.

Axiglazei
Have a 6DOF joystick in preproduction phase of development.

BASYS GmbH
Made a 6DOF joystick called the The SpaceMaster. For comparable products, see 3Dconnexion.

Bolt Industrial Controls, Inc.
Used to be a singnifanct supplier of joysticks.  Apparently out of business.

CAE Electronics
A Specialized joystick that provides 6 degrees of freedom.

CIS Graphics Inc.
Developed a specialized 6D joystick, the Geometry Ball.  Technology evolved and incorporated into technologies available from 3Dconnexion.

CH Products
Make a range of joysticks and flight sticks, mainly for the game industry.

Compusult Ltd.
Make assistive technologies including a mouth/chin operated joystick, the Jouse 2.  This is a USB device which enable button clicks, among other ways, via built in sip and puff switches.

Fujitsu Takamisawa America Inc.
Make a device, the Palm Mouse, which is actually a type of isometric joystick in a small package that fits in your hand and which is tethered with a 2 metre cable. For laptops and presentations.

IBM Personal Computer Company
Make a miniature isometric joystick, the Trackpoint which is integrated into keyboards and a mouse.

Interlink Electronics
Make a range of input devices based on a pressure-pointing technology, what they call VersaPoint. Most of the products involve a small isometric joystick, or a small disk that one pushes on to control cursor motion. The amount of touch controls cursor speed over a continuous range. Product include palm-held controllers, such as for presentations, both wireless and wired. They also include joysticks mounted in separate housings (one resembling the form-factor of a mouse), coupled with buttons.

ITT Cannon
A large supplier of components, including switches, joysticks, rockers, keypads (including dome arrays and polymer/rubber keys).

KY Enterprises
Make a range of adaptive controllers, including a mouth operated adaptive joystick that works on video games, and with an adapter, on a PC.

Labtec 3D Motion Control Technology Group.
The products from this company, such as the Spaceball, have now been assimilated into 3Dconnexion..

LogiCad3D GmbH
This company's products, such as the Magellan, have been assimilated into 3Dconnexion.

Logitech Corp.
 Make a range of joysticks, mainly for the home and entertainment industry. .

MicroSpeed Inc.
Make trackballs, keyboards, mice, joysticks, and light pens for IBM PCs, PS/2s and compatibles, Apple Macintosh, and Sun, H-P and SGI workstations. As well, are OEM supplier for these technologies.

Mouse Systems Inc.
Make a joystick, the Cobra, for the entertainment industry.

Penny + Giles Controls Ltd.
Make a range of controllers, including 1-3 DOF joysticks.

Simulation Special Effects
Make a precision position-sensitive (isotonic) joystick, the Jollystick, especially targetted for animation and special effects applications.

Suncom Technologies

Traxsys
Make a range joysticks, as well as trackballs and assistive I/O technologies.

Ultra Electronics Measurement Systems, Inc.
Make one of the widest range of high end joysticks, trackballs and other input devices available.

USAR Systems Inc.
Make two miniature OEM joysitck modules, the HulaPoint and the PixelPoint.  They also make a range of IC controllers for joysticks and other input devices.

Varatouch Technologies
Make small isometric rate control joysticks, mainly for the OEM market.  Have two main classes of technology, VaraPoint  and I-Point.  Very cost effective solution.

West Coast Specialties, Inc.
Make a range of high end joystick assemblies mainly for  aerospace, industry and heavy equipment operation.

Wico Corp.
This is one of the main suppliers of controllers for arcade type video games.

Zirco Inc.
Make a joystick which looks like a mouse mounted on a pedestal. Intended for laptop use.


KEYBOARDS AND NUMERIC KEYPADS

Preamble
There are a few web pages that maintain additional inforation on keyboard devices and related topics. In addition to what I have, the reader is referred to the following links:

http://www.tifaq.com
http://www.sirius.com/~gkarp/onsight/resources/keyboard.html

Also note that I have Chord Keyboards under a separate heading. As well, text input is also included in the section on character recognition. Finally, as well as text input devices, this following section also includes some software approaches to text input for use with pen based and touch screen systems.
 
 

Sources

3Dconnexion
Make a keyboard, the SpaceNavigator, designed for bimanual graphical interaction. It has an integrated 6-DOF isometric joystick/puck mounted on the left side.

A4tech
Make a range of keyboards, including wireless.

Acer Peripherals
Make a range of keyboards including a wireless keyboard with integrated pointer, and a split "ergonomic" keyboard.

Adesso Inc.
Make a few lines of keyboards, including wireless keyboards (with or without wireless mice or touchpads). Also make a range of mice, touchpads and input accessories.

AlfaGrip Inc.
Make a portable device that incorporates a keyboard that can be operated while walking around.  Each finger lies in "home position" over a single key.  The full alphabet is accessed without moving from the "home row" since the keys rock in multiple directions, thereby providing access to more than one character.

ALPS Electric
Make keyboards and numeric keypads, including models with embedded touchpads for cursor control.

Cherry Corp.
Make a broad range of keyboards, including those with integrate touch pads, track balls, bar-code readers, magnetic strip readers, etc. Also have keyboards that are resistant to liquid spills, etc., as well as a range of numerical keypads. The line also includes an ergonmoic split keyboard design.

Cirque Corp.
Used to make a one piece ergonomic keyboard, the Cat keyboard, which was similar to the Microsoft Natural Keyboard. The difference is that the Cat keyboard has an integrated touch tablet on the palm rest.  Cirque actually makes touchpads, and these are now available integrated into keyboards made by Adesso Inc.

Combimouse
Have announced a unique split keyboard where the right half serves double duty as mouse and keyboard.  The industrial design is such as to accommodate this usage.

Commodio
Not a keyboard company.  Rather, make software, QPointer Keyboard, which lets you use the keyboard as a substitute for the mouse when interacting with graphical user interfaces.  This is relevant in terms of accessibility to those who can use a keyboard, but not a mouse.  Also make QPointer VoiceMouse  which lets voice commands control the mouse functions of the QPointer Keyboard.  QPointer HandsFree, another product enables hands-free operation of all mouse functions. QPointer Premium, augments the HandsFree product by also enabling voice commands for other computer functions.

Creative Vision Technologies (CVT), Inc
Make a line of quality keyboards under the Avant brand.

Darwin Keyboards
Make a full size keyboard, the Noteboard, that slides over the keyboard of a laptop. The intent is to give a full size keyboard without consuming extra desk real estate.

DATADESK
Make a range of keyboards, including a keyboard with an integrated trackball.

DataHand Systems, Inc.,
Manufacture a radical 2-piece keyboard, the Data Hand. Each half has 4 holes into which the fingers are inserted, as well as one for the thumb. For each finger, a different character is entered on each of the following actions: forward, back, left, right and down. The thumb is used for modifier keys (ALT, CONTROL, etc.) and Enter. Finger-to-character mappings are very close to those found on a standard QWERTY keyboard, in order to maximize skill transfer. The units can be moved on the table, thereby providing mouse-like functionality.

Datalux Corp
Make a PC keyboard with a small footprint.

Daytek Electronics Corp.
Make two models of keyboard, one with a removable wrist rest.

Digital Wireless
Have a technology called FasTap, which is targeted at small devices, such as cell phones, PDAs and remote controls, which require keyboards capable of alphanumeric input.  The basic concept is to surround the keys of the basic numeric keypad with alphabetic keys in such a way as to be able to type any character in one stroke, without compromising the size of the keyboard, or the ease of entering basic numeric data.

Electrone
Make a line of keboards and kepads, including an infra red wireless keyboard, and miniature keyboards.

Ergologic Enterprises, Inc.
Make an adjustable one piece ergonomic split keyboard. Can be used in the ordinary, flat position (for PC s which might be shared by many users). The keyboard halves can quickly be raised. The spacebar also provides acces to "Backspace" and "Return" functions, thereby putting them under your thumbs. Comes with removable, one-touch adjustable rests to support hands and forearms.

ErgonomiXX, Inc.
Make an one-piece ergonomic keyboard with an inverted "V" gap between the 2 halves, and raised at the centre. Includes an embedded trackball between halves at the lower side, typically operated b the thumbs. Includes novel circular arrangement of function keys.  One of the more interesting design features is the circular function key layout whose design provides a mnumonic since F1 thru F12 match the hours on a clockface.

Evergreen Systems International
Make a range of high-resolution industrial/military grade trackball pointing devices for workstations and PCs.  Includes integration with keyboards, and both table and panel mounted solutions.

Fellowes Corp.
Make a range of keyboard and keypad products, as well as accessories.

Floating Arms, Inc.
Have changed the company name to Interfaces by Cramer.

FingerWorks
Make a range of keyboard devices that, rather than mechanical keys, use touch tablets with multi-touch sensing capabilities, including theiGesture Pad.and the TouchStream ST keyboard.

Fujitsu Takamisawa America Inc.
An OEM supplier of keyboards, including an IR wireless keyboard and mouse combination that support a distance of 1 metre for the keyboard and .5 metres for the mouse from the receiver. Also make a numerical keypad.

Genovation
Make a line of accessory keypads, including an auxilliary QWERTY keyboard for cell phones.  Included is are numerical keypads espcially designed for laptop computers.  As well, they have a scrolling mouse with a numerical keypad mounted on the back.  They also have a product, the Travelboard, which is a keyboard which can be used with PDAs.

Health Care Keyboard Co.
Make a 3 piece ergonomic keyboard, the Comfort Keyboard System. The two haves of the keyboard can be set between horizontal and near vertical to align with the natural position of the hands. Likewise the numeric keypad can be tilted. Includes an integrated pointing device

IBM Personal Computer Company
Make a range of keyboards, including ones with an embedded trackpoint isometric joystick.

Input Technologies
Make a range of keyboards and keypads that are especially suited for hostile and industrial environments, such as kiosks, medical instrumentation, aircraft and industrial controls.  These include rack-mount and backlit devices.  Also include elastomer keyboards that are easy to clean, and not vulnerable to dirt, liquid, etc.  Also make a keyboad with integrated trackball.

Interfaces by Cramer
Make a two piece ergonomic keyboard, the Interfaces Keyboard (previously known as the Floating Arms keyboard).  Each half fits on one of the arms of your chair. There is an integrated touch pad for pointing. One problem is interference between the chair movement and the cable connecting the keyboard to the computer.

ITT Cannon
A large supplier of components, including switches, joysticks, rockers, keypads (including dome arrays and polymer/rubber keys).

JetWay Technologies
Have a novel approach to keyboard input called JetKeys.   The concept is intended to address the problem of entering alphanumeric data using things like PDAs, telephones and remote controls, where there is limited space for a keyboard.  The concept is based around the telephone keypad layout.  Instead of pushing the "2" key 1, 2 or 3 times, in order to enter "A", "B" or "C", respectively, you would tilt the key west, north, east, or south in order to distinguish "A", "B", "C", or "2", respectively.  With a PDA, the same thing would be true, except that instead of tilting the key, you would make a stroke in the corresponding direction with the stylus, as you would using radial menus.

Keybowl Inc.
Make a unique "keyboard,"the orbiTouch, which has no keys.  Rather, each hand sits on a puck-like device, each of which can move in any of the 8 primary and secondary points of the compass.  Each combination of directions maps to a specific character.  The device thereby enables "typing" by people with no hands or fingers, as well as those with severe CTS, for example.

Key Tronic Corp.
Manufacture a range of conventional keyboards, as well as keyboards integrated with touch pads. Also make wireless keyboards including one with an integrated touch pad.

KEYTEC, Inc.
Make a spill-resistant keyboard as well as a range of keypads and keypad technology.

KidBoard Inc.
Make graphics tablets, as well as a keyboard and ligtpen designed especially for young children. Also have a range of appropriate software for these devices.

KidzMouse
Make input devices for children.  They are sized to fit small children's hands, and the industrial design and colouring reflects what you would expect with children's toys.  Included, as of spring 2004, is the KidzMouse Keyboard.  This has fewer keys than an adult keyboard (67 rather than the standard 104), eliminating the nonessential ones that a child would not use.

Kinesis Corp.
Make a keyboard modelled on the same basic approach as the P.C.D. Maltron Ltd. keyboard. That is, the two haves of the keyboard are separated, and paced in sunken areas sculpted into the keyboard.  Also make a programmable keypad for PCs.

Maltron
See P.C.D. Maltron Ltd.

Marquardt Switches, Inc.
Make a compact one piece split ergonomic keyboard.

Matias Corporation
Make a software module that enables a standard QWERTY keyboard to support one-handed typing such that a touch typist can adapt in a matter of hours. Consequently, one can type with either hand, leaving the other free to operate the mouse, or use the keyboard in the conventional manner and type with both hands. No special hardware is required.

Mextel
Make an IBM PC keyboard with flip down "legends" for labelling function keys.

Microsoft Corp.
Make a range of keyboards, including a one piece ergonomic keyboard, the Natural Keyboard. The two halves of the keyboard are slanted to match angle of hands. Features substantial palm rest. Essentially the same keyboard is available from Cirque (the Glidepoint) with an integrated touch pad.  Also make a the Office keyboard, that has a scroll-wheel on the left side which performs the same type of function as the wheel on a scrolling mouse.  Line also includes a wireless keyboard/mouse, the Wireless Optical Desktop Pro.

MicroSpeed Inc.
Make trackballs, keyboards, mice, joysticks, and light pens for IBM PCs, PS/2s and compatibles, Apple Macintosh, and Sun, H-P and SGI workstations. As well, are OEM supplier for these technologies.

Northgate Computer Systems
This company is no longer in business.  The OmniKey keyboard  is now licenced by Creative Vision Technologies (CVT), Inc.

Pace Development Corp.
Make a split adjustable keyboard.

P.C.D. Maltron Ltd.
Manufacture an innovative alternative style range of keyboards.

PerfecTouch Inc.
Make a relatively inexpensive ergonomic split keyboard.

SafeType Inc.
Make a novel vertically oriented keyboard.  You can think of it as a regular keyboard which has been cut in half, and each half is vertical, with the keys facing the outside.  This has been done before with chord keyboards, but this is the first commercially available QWERTY keyboard that I can think of that has done this.  The idea is that your arms remain in a thumbs up position, which is the "natural" position for them, and therefore will result in less constriction at the wrist.

Scan Technology
Make keyboards with integrated barcode readers and magnetic stripe readers.

Sejin
Include a keyboard with an embedded isometric joystick under the J key. Also make a wireless keyboard that communicates with the computer via an infra red link (but for which there is no mouse or pointing device.)

Stenograph Corp.
ergonomic keyboards.

Tegic Communications Inc.
Make a software graphical keyboard, T9, that is intended to improve text entry speed while minimizing the amount of screen real-estate consumed. T9 is derived from "text on 9 keys." While, the keypad is small, nevertheless there is only one keystroke per character. To get the whole character set on 9 keys, each key contains multiple letters (the "5" key, for example, can be used to type "J," "K," or "L,"). The T9 algorithm automatically determines from all the possible variations what word you are typing by matching your keystrokes with completed words in a linguistic database.

Textware Solutions
Have two software techniqes for facilitating text input. Instant Text is a software tool that lets words and phrases be entered by having the user enter computer-recognized abbreviations. The Fitaly Keyboardis a technique which uses a novel approach to facilitate one fingered typing, or text entry on a graphical keyboard with a stylus. The keyboard is laid out so that the most likely next characters is adjacent, or near to, the last character entered. The idea is to reduce hand or finger movement and therefore achieve efficiency.

Think Outside Inc.
Make a fold-up full size keyboard, the Stowaway, that can, when folded, fit in your pocket.  Designed for use with Palm Pilot class PDAs.

Tipro Keyboards
Make a range of keyboards, including keyboards in various configurations (not just QWERTY) for industrial and commercial applications, for example. They also have keyboards especially designed to meet the special needs of those with physical disabilities. Of significant interest is their line of modular programable keyboards, their Modular Input Device (MID) products. These enable various keyboard modules to snap together through an original connectin mechanism.

Two Bit Computing
Make a wireless PC and Macintosh keyboard (with mouse).

Unicomp Inc.
Make a range of keyboards, including compact keyboards, wireless keyboards and keyboards with integrated pointing devices.  The on-the-stick model includes an embedded miniature joystick between the "GBH" locations, and the On the Ball model has an embedded trackball.  The Onthe Ball Plus model includes both a ball and joystick, and the wireless Webboard model has 2 interoperable pointing sticks, one between the "GBH" location and the other in the upper right corner.

Visioneer Inc.
Produce a PC keyboard that has an embedded full page scanner along the front edge.

Zeos International


LIGHTPENS

Introduction
Lightpens are an early and inexpensive technology that enables one to use a stylus directly on a display. Something not generally appreciated about lightpens is that they work with rear screen projection systems as long as the data projector uses cathode beam technology. (That is, they do not work with LCD projectors, for example.) Hence, lightpens provide an extremely cost effective means to convert a rear projection system into an interactive electronic whiteboard. (This includes things like the Sony rear projection TV that has data projection capability.) This is especially interesting since some of the vendors provide lightpens that work with high resolution workstation displays. This gives lightpens a potential whole new lease on life. (See the section on "Boards, Desks and Pads" for alternative approaches to electronic whiteboards.)

On the other hand, in some situations where one needs to operate directly on the display with a stylus, the lightpen is losing ground to other technologies. These include where the stylus must be cordless, pressure sensitive, high resolution, or work with an LCD. Ttwo alternative technologies are being used. One involves the use of transparent stylus-driven digitizers (essentially transparent tablets) mounted over the display. The other involves mounting a digitizer under the (LCD) display. While not stricly lightpens, I chave included some of the alternative technologies below. As mentioned above, see also the section on "Boards, Desks and Pads."

Suppliers:

Design Technology
Make a range of lightpen products. One important option is a zero-travel tip switch. This is useful when using a lightpen in pencentric-like ways, as opposed to simply as a pointing device, since that way, both the operator and the computer "agree" on when the pen is, and is not, in contact with the monitor.

FTG Data Systems
Includes the only lightpen for the Macintosh and the Silicon Grapics (SGI) computers.

HEI Inc.
Were a manufacturer of lightpen technology. Their technology has now been acquired by FTG Data Systems, to whom they prevously were a supplier.

Information Control Corp.

Inkwell Systems
Make a range of lightpens for PCs with the option of either an internal or external controler.

Interactive Computer Products
Make a range of lightpens for different operating systems as well as computers, including those from Sun and HP. They also make a combination lightpen and barcode reader in a single unit.

KidBoard Inc.
Make graphics tablets, as well as a keyboard and ligtpen designed especially for young children. Also have a range of appropriate software for these devices.

MicroTouch Systems, Inc.
Make a special touch screen, the TouchPen, that can be operated by a stylus. Not a lightpen, but a viable alternative that is high resolution and wireless.

Scan Technology
Make lightpens as well as keyboards with integrated barcode readers and magnetic stripe readers.

Scriptel Corp.
Make a transparent digitizer that can be mounted on a screen. Uses stylus. Not officially a light pen, but shares many properties, and is high resolution..

Trojan Products
Make a line of lightpens for personal computers.


MICE

Intro
See also the Force Feedback ("Haptic") Devices section for some mouse-type devices that have force feedback.

Supplers:

3M
Make a mouse, the Rennaisance Mouse, whose form factor is more like a joystick.  It functions like a regular mouse but your hand is in a vertical grip position, the intention of which, is to reduce muscle strain.

A4tech
Make a range of mice.  What is unique, to my knowledge, is their line of 4D Mice. These are mouse with 2, rather than just the conventional 1, scroll wheels on them.  The objective is to enable one wheel to be used to scroll vertically, and the other for horizontal scrolling.

Adesso Inc.
Make a few lines of mice, including wireless mice (with or without wireless keyboards), and the PowerScroll Mouse, whose scroll wheel lights up when the mouse is moved.  Also make a range of keyboards, touchpads and input accessories.

ALPS Electric
Make a mouse which is adjustable to fit various hand sizes.

Altra Technology Inc.
Make a hybrid device which is a 2-button mouse combined with a telephone, the TeleMouse, or Mouse Phone.

ABV Tech.
Make a range of game controlers, including the Vibration Mouse.

Atek, Inc.
Make the Super Mini Optical Mouse, designed for traveling, and use in confined spaces, such as airplane seats.

Auravision
Make the EluminX™ Illuminated Keyboard, a keyboard whose keys are backlit using electroLuminescent technology.

Belkin Components
Make two different types of 3-button mice, including a right handed ergonomic design.

Combimouse
Have announced a unique split keyboard where the right half serves double duty as mouse and keyboard.  The industrial design is such as to accommodate this usage.

Contour Design, Inc.
Make an interesting line of ergonomic mice, called Perfit, which come in different sizes so as to fit the hand of the user. The mice are also designed to fit either the left or the right hand. There are 5 sizes for the right hand and 2 sizes for the left. The mice have side thumb support (with integrated rocker switch, and scroll wheel that is operated by the thumb.  Also make a miniature mouse, the MiniPRO2, that has a 'lift and click" function, i.e., it senses when it is lifted off the desk, or titled.  Button clicks can be mapped to different functions depending on if it is on the desk, lifted, titled etc.

Crane Associates, Inc.
A specialized puck that has a small joystick and other switches built-in.

Daytek Electronics Corp.
Make a 525 DPI optical mouse, the DTM-525 Digital Mouse.

Designer Appliances, Inc.
Make an ergonomic mouse, the Quill Mouse,  which is distinct in that the hand does not operate it palm down;  rather palm sideways.

Dimentor
Make a 6DOF mouse device, the Inspector, which is essentially a mouse with a scrolle wheel, as well as a 3 DOF trackball mounted on its back.  Hence, the basic device can be used for conventional pointing, and the track ball for controling the orientation of a 3D model.

Elecom
Make two lines of mice.  The first is the Grast 24, which is a translucent optical mini-mouse, the color of whose tracking LED permeates throughout the entire body. By holding down the mouse button, you can select from a palette of 24 colors, or cause the colours to cycle as you work.  The other is a series of 3 mice, the Masamune Shiro Series, whose free-form, contoured  industrial design makes them about the most beautiful mice that I have seen.

Everton Technology Co. Ltd.
Make an optical mouse, the WinPoint Mouse,  which has minimal travel and therefore a very small footprint.

Fellowes Corp.
Make a range of mice.  Includes a mouse with a soft surface, the SoftGrip Mouse,  mice with side buttons, and mice with a roller by the buttons for scrolling through documents.

Fujitsu Takamisawa America Inc.
An OEM supplier tha makes a mouse with a built-in touch tablet, the ScrollPad Mouse.

Genovation
Make an optical scrolling mouse with an integrated numerical keypad.

Genius
See Kye International Corp

Green Green Globe (G3)
Make a wireless 2-button mouse with a scroll wheel.  Operates at a distance of over 3 metres.

Gyration Corp.
Make a mouse that works on the desk, as well as off of it, the GyroPoint. That is, you can pick it up, and then it senses up/down and left/right motion. Comes in a wireless version.

Haptech Technologies Inc.
Made a 2 DOF force-feedback mouse, the MouseCAT, along with a suite of software tools and applications. In March 2000 were acquired by Immersion Corporation and became Immersion Canada..

Honeywell Keyboard Division
Make a PC mouse that is distinct in that its sensors are two "feet" on the bottom, that sense x and y motion, respectively. The objective is that it is not susceptible to dirt on the work surface clogging up the sensors.

Humanscale
Make an ergonomic mouse, the Whale Mouse, which is distinguished by its design.  It is larger but flatter than most mice, based on the assumption that the flatter hand on a larger surface will result in less stress.  The length of the mouse is adjustable, to accomodate individual differences in hand size.  The unit also has a "shelf" for resting the palm, thumb and little finger.

IBM Personal Computer Company
Make a range of mice, including one that has an integrated Trackpoint isometric miniature joystick.

Immersion Corporation
Make a 2 DOF force feedback mouse, the FEELit Mouse.

InterAct
Make a range of 2 and 3 button mice, including ergonomically contoured mice.

IOGEAR
Make a range of mice including small optical mice (wireless or tethered), and the Web Cruiser, which is an optical mouse with a trackball mounted on the back which enables 2D scrolling.  It also has a unique zoom feature, that enables one to zoom in on the area under the mouse, as opposed to the whole screen.

KEYTEC, Inc.
Make a high resolution mouse, the Super Mouse.

Key Tronic Corp.
Manufacture a mouse that has a variable number of buttons. That is, using snap-on componenets, you can convert it from a 1, 2 or 3 buttons. Also uses motion detector feet to sense motion, so is not sensitive to dirt, unlike most mechanical mice.

Kensington Microwave Ltd.
Make a range of mice, including the WebRacer, a mouse with a touchpad and a range of keys on its back.

KidzMouse
Make input devices for children.  They are sized to fit small children's hands, and the industrial design and colouring reflects what you would expect with children's toys.  Included is a line of optical and mechanical mice, KidzMouse Mice, all painted with colourful characters.

Kye International Corp
Make a 2-button mouse, the Genius NetMouse, which has a rocker controller between the two buttons which is intended to let you scroll a document without the use of scroll bars.

Logitech Corp.
Make a broad range of mice. Include a wireless mouse that uses radio, rather than infrared technology. That the radio frequency for the wireless mouse is adjustable, thereby permitting up to eight such mice to be operational in the same room. Logitech also offers ergonomically tailored right and left handed versions of mice. As well, they offer a mount with tactile feedback, the iFeel Mouse.

Microsoft Corp.
Make a range of mice. Have a mouse with a index finger operated rotating slider between the buttons called the Intellimouse.

MicroSpeed Inc.
Make trackballs, keyboards, mice, joysticks, and light pens for IBM PCs, PS/2s and compatibles, Apple Macintosh, and Sun, H-P and SGI workstations. As well, are OEM supplier for these technologies.

Mouse House

Mouse Systems Inc.
Make a family of mice (mechanical and optica) for the PC, Macntsh and Unix machines. Include a mouse with a roller operated by the index finger, between the buttons, the ProAgiomouse.

Nakai Company, Inc.

Numonics
Manufacture a wireless mouse using infrared technology.

Penny and Giles Ltd.

Practical Solutions, Ltd.
Manufacture a wireless mouse that works using infra red technology.

Prohance Technologies Inc.
Make a 40 button IBM-PC compatible mouse for CAD, etc., the Powermouse 100.

RLD Enterprises
Make a mouse, the Super Mouse, which has a numerical keypad and some function keys integrated into it.

RoninWorks
Make a 3D mouse, the BurstMouse.  It is a modified conventional Logitech mouse that is augmented with a transducer that can sense its postion and orientation when lifted off of the desktop and maniputated in free space.

Sejin

Suncom Technologies

Torrington Co.,
Manufacture a wireless mouse that works using infra red technology.


MIDI CONTROLLERS AND ACCESORIES

Introduction:

The Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) protocol i a protocol that was developed to enable electronic musical instruments from various vendors to interoperate, as well as to enable these devices to communicate with computers. MIDI does not communicate audio, however. It is a mainly a protocol to enable the comunication of control information, such as the fact that a particular key has been pressed down, how fast, when and for how long. While developed for communicating control information among electronic musical instruments, it actually akes no difference what the actual controller is, or what is being controlled, as long as both conform to the protocol. Hence, MIDI provides a mechanism whereby, for example, one could build an armature whose joints were potentiometers, which controlled the pose of a computer graphics character in an animation program.

The MIDI specification defines the physical interface (the size and shape of the physical connectors), the electronic interface (getting the signal through the wires) and the logical interface (the actual encoding of the control data in that signal).

What is interesting is that MIDI devices are varied, widespread, and relatively inexpensive. Also, since MIDI is a well defined and understood, it is valuable that a single protocol can be used to interface such a wide variety of devices, thereby avoiding the need to develope separate drivers for each new device, for example.

MIDI is a serial protocol. One consequence of this is that normlly, all of your MIDI devices can be connected to a single serial port. While a mater of logistics, rather than anything else, this is significant, since many (most) popular computers are restricted to about two serial ports. With most input devices, each device takes a port of its own. Hence, it is difficult to have more thn two devices connected at a time. MIDI provides a means of overcoming this constraint.

One point about MIDI that must be kept in mind is that it is not a bidirectional serial bus. Would that it were. To simplify, MIDI uses two unidirectional cables: one that carries information out of a device (MIDI OUT), and one that carries data in to it (MIDI IN). The potential problem in the implementation is that while the out is one-to-many (for example the MIDI data coming out of a computer can be used to control a number of devices), the information coming in can normally only come from one source. Hence, under normal circumstances, we could not have the MIDI data out of slider box and a MIDI scrub wheel both connected to the MIDI IN of a computer. There can only be one master.

There is a way around this, however. It is through the use of an essential MIDI module: a MIDI merger. Thisdevice lets multiple sources feed their outputs into a single stream. Mergers are available from a number of vendors as inexpensive modules (2-to-1 and 4-to-1, for eample), and many other modules have MIDI merge capability built in.

Books on MIDI are available from most music stores that sell eectronic musical instruments. There are also a number of retailers of MIDI gear and information on the www. For a copy of the MIDI File Format Spec. 1.1, see either of the following:

http://hamp.hampshire.edu/CCL/MIDI/doc/midifile.html
http://www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/2704/midi.html


Finally, this section is very much under construction. It will be updated on a regular basis.
 

Sources:

Acme Creative
Make a MIDI fader box which has motorized faders. That is, the faders are both input and display devices. The unit also has VCR-like transport controls and a scrub wheel incorporated into it. Very interesting equipment.

BioControl Systems, Inc.
Manufacture a biofeedback device, the BioMuse.  This is a non-invasive bioelectric signal controller which allows users to control computer functions directly from muscle, eye  movement, or brainwave signals. It receives data from four main sources of electrical activity in  the human body: muscles (EMG signals), eye movements  (EOG signals), the heart (EKG signals), and brain waves  (EEG signals). The system processes the acquired signals and communicates them to the host computer via a serial port or via MIDI.

Buchla and Associates
Make a MIDI controller, Lightening II. The user holds two untethered drumstick-like wands. The wands each emit an infrared signal that can be tracked in two dimensions (up/down, left/right) by a sensor. The signals are then transmitted into MIDI data.

Creation Technologies, Inc.
Make a range of inexpensive MIDI modules that perform specific functions. One, called Pocket Pedal, converts the output of any switch or potentiomenter into MIDI. There are others icluding ones to merge MIDI data, and to filter it.

Doepfer Musikelektronik  GMBH
Make a range of MIDI controllers, including pedals, banks of rotary knobs and sliders.

DSM Computer
Make the Nemotion line of motorized slider and media transport controlers, mainly targeted at computer animation.  Use RS-232, rather than MIDI.  However, I have included them here since their functionality is similar to many MIDI devices.

E-mu Systems, Inc.
Make a controller, the Launch-Pad, that has 5 linear sliders, a number of buttons, and a rotary controller.

Epigraf
Make a unit which bridges MIDI with infrared devices. Therefore, enables things like consumer VCRs and TVs be controlled via MIDI.

Hinton Instruments
Make an excellent RS-232 to MIDI interface that can be used with any computer that has a serial port. Also make a line of excellent touch-sensitive MIDI sliders.

IBVA Technologies, Inc.
IBVA is short for Interactive Brainwave Visual Analyzer.  The IBVA provides biofeedback control of computer functions using "brainwave signals."  Bio signals are read in real time using a wireless device, and can be communicated to the computer through MIDI, serial connection or an "Expansion Pak".

Infusion Systems Ltd.
Make one of the coolest MIDI devices and most valuable input technology ever. The I-Cube system is a simple analogue-to-digital-to-analogue (ADA) converter which interfaces to the computer via MIDI. It has 32 inputs that can each quantify an analogue signals to12 bits,  all with a maximum frequency of 250 Hz. There are also 8 1 bit outputs that can be used as triggers or gates.  What this unit does is make it dead simple and cheap to interface a large range of I/O transducers to a computer, such as: potentiometers, illumination level transducrs, contact pressure transducers, temperature transducers, proximity sensors, relays, LEDs, etc. If one wants to interface custom transducers to a computer, this may be the simplest way of doing so.

The company also offers a vast array of sensors (motion, proximity, heat, light, tilt, pressure, ...) that can be interfaced using the I-Cube.

Interactive Light
Make a MIDI controller, the Dimension Beam, which projects an invisible cone of infra red (IR) light. It senses the presence of a hand or object protruding into the beam, and sends control information depending on lateral and vertical movement.

J.L.Cooper Electronics
Make one of th broadest range of MIDI input devices. These include various controllers with scrub wheels and transport controls that communicate via MIDI. They also have a range of linear fader boxes that output MIDI.

Kenton Electronics
Make a line of MIDI controlers.  Include a unit with rotary controlers, the Control Freak LIVE, (16 knobs and 8 buttons), and with linear controls: the Control Freak STUDIO EDITION, (16 sliders and 16 buttons) and the Control Freak ORIGINAL  (8 sliders and 8 buttons).

Key Electronics, Inc.
Make a range of MIDI interfaces which enable you to communicate with MIDI devices through the slot of your computer.

Keyfax
Make a MIDI controller, the PHAT.BOY, that consists of 13 multi-function rotary control knobs, a MIDI Channel selector, and a SNAPSHOT/RESET button.

MIDI Solutions, Inc.
Make a range of small, inexpensive, and indispencible MIDI modules. These include a 2-to-1 and a 4-to-1 MIDI merger, as well as a box that lets you convert the state of a foot pedal into a MIDI data.

OPCODE, Inc.
Make a range of MIDI interfaces which enable you to communicate with MIDI devices through the slot of your computer.

Peavey Electronics
Make a controller containing a number of linear faders/sliders and a scrub wheel.

Puppet Works.
Make a system that lets you use J.L.Cooper MIDI faders as input to animation systems as well as intrface other input devices.

Voce
Make a MIDI conrolertat os like the draw bars on a Hammond organ. The unit has 9 draw bars, which can functionmch like a ear fader.
 
 
 


MISCELLANEOUS & HIGH DOF DEVICES

This section includes a number of devices that just don't fit in other categories, or, while they appear in other categories, have some properties that make them interesting for other purposes.  It also includes a number of high degree of freedom (DOF) devices, such as are commonly found in VR applications.

Also, if you are a "build it yourself" type person, trying to prototype a new interface, or do some kind of interactive installation, then you may have to do what a lot of us have done:  build it yourself. This is not as hard as it seems, and there is a lot of help out there, as well as components that you can use that do not require a degree in computer science or EE.  A guide to some of these has been provided by Matt Gorbet, supplemented by some that I have found:


Companies
3Dconnexion.
Make a range of  6 DOF isometric joystick, including those previously available from LogiCad3D GmbH and Labtec 3D Motion Control Technology Group  Models include the  Space Mouse (a.k.a.Magellan),  CadMan, and Spaceball. They also make the SpaceNavigator, a keyboard with an integrated Space Mouse.  Finally, they make devices for industrial applications, such as the ErgoCommander and a Force/Torque Sensor System.

3rdTech
Make the HiBall-3000, an optical 6DOF wide-area tracker and 3D digitizer.  Also make a time of flight laser 3D scene digitizer, the DeltaSphere-3000.

A4tech
Make a range of mice.  What is unique, to my knowledge, is their line of 4D Mice. These are mouse with 2, rather than just the conventional 1, scroll wheels on them.  The objective is to enable one wheel to be used to scroll vertically, and the other for horizontal scrolling.

ADS Technologies Inc.
Make a wireless remote control for Windows 95, the Remote Mouse +Plus. It is not actually a mouse. Rather, it is a device that looks like a TV remote control with cursor arrow keys. Intended for remote control of a PC during a big bria.

Advanced Input Systems
Mainly an integrator of input controls, especially those using touch screens, flat touch sensitive panels, and elastomer keys.  They are one of the main sources for the latter.

ALPS Electric
Made a cursor control device called ISOPOINT. It was a thin 3 inch long cylinder set horizontally in front of the space bar. By sliding and rotating this cylinder, cursors can be repositioned and selections made from menus.  While the company is still in business, they not longer appear to make this procuct, similar products are the Sun-Flex  NomusNavigator and Contour Design's Roller Mouse.

ALTRA Technology, Inc.
Make Micro Point, a pointing device which is sort of a cross between a mouse and a joystick. It has a fixed small footprint like a trackball or joystick, with a position-sensitive movable handle.

Appoint
Make the MousePen, a stylus device whose tip is essentially a miniature trackball. See also the PC Stylus from IMSI

ArcanaTech
Make a wireless remote control input device. For use with projection systems, for example. Hand-held. See also Selectech Air Mouse. Has multiple buttons. PC/Windows compatible.

Ascension Technology Corp.
Manufacture a 6-degree of freedom tracker. It is comparable to the Polhemus tracker, but claims to be less sensitive to interference from surrounding metal. A number of sensors can be used at once to support motion capture (such as in placing sensors on a body and then tracking the body's motion).

Atek, Inc.
Make a wireless (RF) remote control, the Tote-Remote, for presentations.  Hence, does not need line of sight.  Does not have mouse buttons or cursor control - just slide advance.  Includes built-in laser pointer.

Atmel
Make the FingerChip, the "world's smallest fingerprint imaging sensor." This is just the silicon, not the integrated system.

BioControl Systems, Inc.
Manufacture a biofeedback device, the BioMuse.  This is a non-invasive bioelectric signal controller which allows users to control computer functions directly from muscle, eye  movement, or brainwave signals. It receives data from four main sources of electrical activity in  the human body: muscles (EMG signals), eye movements  (EOG signals), the heart (EKG signals), and brain waves  (EEG signals). The system processes the acquired signals and communicates them to the host computer via a serial port or via MIDI.

Broderbund Software, Inc.
Make a device called the U-Force that can sense the hand's position is space. Also permits adding a joystick to help orientation. Inexpensive, designed for Nintendo video games. Good example of an innovative input technology.

C Technologies
Make a wireless stylus-type device, the C Pen, that has a camera as its tip.  It can capture printed text off of paper.  This text can then be transfered to a PC or processed inside the C Pen, itself, such as into an internal address book or translated into another language.  It can also be used for simple drawing or text entry by drawing on patterned paper.

Contour Design, Inc.
Make a mouse alternative called the Roller Mouse.  It is mounted in a palm rest that sits in front of your keyboard, much the way that touch pads and buttons are in front of laptop keyboards.  It consists of 3 buttons (left, middle, right) corresponding to equivalent mouse buttons.  There is a scroll wheel mounted below the middle button.  Above the buttons is a horizontally mounted roller bar.  This can be used to move the cursor left-right and up-down.  If the scroll wheel is clicked, the roller bar switches mode from pointing to scrolling, in this case left-right and up-down.  Related products are Sun-Flex's  NomusNavigator and Alps' Isopoint.

Digi-Rule Inc.
Make a 2 DOF digitizer that consists of a roller with an orthoganally mounted ruler. Intended for digitizing geological data.

Digital Image Design Inc.
Make the Cricket. This is an ergonomically designed "handle" of"grip" for containing 3D controllers.

Dimentor
Make a 6DOF mouse device, the Inspector, which is essentially a mouse with a scrolle wheel, as well as a 3 DOF trackball mounted on its back.  Hence, the basic device can be used for conventional pointing, and the track ball for controling the orientation of a 3D model.

DSM Computer
Make the Nemotion line of motorized slider and media transport controlers, mainly targeted at computer animation.  Use RS-232 to interface to the computer, however their functionality is similar to many MIDI devices.

Eleksen
Make a flexible cloth-like fabric that has embedded switches. It enables the capability of sensing the location and pressure, simultaneously, at one or more locations. Location and pressure sensing works even when the fabric is folded.

Fakespace Systems
Make a range of technologies to support VR and other forms of high degree of freedom interaction, including the NeoWand,  the Pinch Gloves, and the CubicMouse.

Fellowes Corp.
Make a tethered hand-held pointing device, the Tracker  for use with laptops and in presentations.  No moving parts.  Also make a stylus with a trackball at the tip,, called the Pen Mouse. It is at "true" ballpoint pen!  Not on their web page but can be found at http://www.questecmouse.com/.

Gyration Corp.
Make a mouse that works on the desk, as well as off of it, the GyroPoint. That is, you can pick it up, and then it senses up/down and left/right motion. Comes in a wireless version.

GTCO CalComp
GTCO used to manufacture a product called NOMAD which is box with 9 continuously rotatable dials. These communicated with the host via RS-232. Designed to provide controls for rotation, translation and zoom in 3D graphics.

Home Row Inc.
The "J" key of the QWERTY keyboard is used as a mini joystick. Light touch is applied to the J keycap. The cursor moves in the direction of the force and at a speed proportional to the force applied..

IBVA Technologies, Inc.
IBVA is short for Interactive Brainwave Visual Analyzer.  The IBVA provides biofeedback control of computer functions using "brainwave signals."  Bio signals are read in real time using a wireless device, and can be communicated to the computer through MIDI, serial connection or an "Expansion Pak".

IMSI
Make the PC Stylus, a stylus device whose tip is essentially a miniature trackball. See also the Appoint MousePen.

Infusion Systems Ltd.
Supply the broadest range of sensors (motion, proximity, heat, light, tilt, pressure, ...), and means to connect them to a computer, than any other company that I am aware of.  This is one of my favorite companies. The computer interface is via a product called the I-Cube, which is a simple analogue-to-digital-to-analogue (ADA) converter which interfaces to the computer via MIDI. It has 32 inputs that can each quantify an analogue signals to12 bits,  all with a maximum frequency of 250 Hz. There are also 8 1 bit outputs that can be used as triggers or gates.

InterAct
Make a wireless infra red emote controllerwith an integrated trackball and 12 programmable function keys. Intended for web surfing remote from the display, such as from a couch.

Interlink Electronics
Produce a range of wireless pointing devices for presentations, including ones with integrated touch pads for annotation, pointing, etc.

InterSense Inc.
Make a small (just over 1 inch square) tethered sensor that provides orientation information. Uses inertial sensor technology.

ITT Cannon
A large supplier of components, including switches, joysticks, rockers, keypads (including dome arrays and polymer/rubber keys).

Jestertek
Have a stereo camera control technology, JestPoint, that uses image processing to capture hand gestures as a means of input to displays, especially large format screens.   A user controls the computer by pointing at the screen and making a quick jab forward to "click."

JetWay Technologies
Have a novel approach to keyboard input called JetKeys.   The concept is intended to address the problem of entering alphanumeric data using things like PDAs, telephones and remote controls, where there is limited space for a keyboard.  The concept is based around the telephone keypad layout.  Instead of pushing the "2" key 1, 2 or 3 times, in order to enter "A", "B" or "C", respectively, you would tilt the key west, north, east, or south in order to distinguish "A", "B", "C", or "2", respectively.  With a PDA, the same thing would be true, except that instead of tilting the key, you would make a stroke in the corresponding direction with the stylus, as you would using radial menus.

Keybowl Inc.
Make a unique "keyboard,"the orbiTouch, which has no keys.  Rather, each hand sits on a puck-like device, each of which can move in any of the 8 primary and secondary points of the compass.  Each combination of directions maps to a specific character.  The device thereby enables "typing" by people with no hands or fingers, as well as those with severe CTS, for example.

Leapfrog Technologies, Inc.
Make a hands free mouse controller, the Cyberlink™ Mind Mouse. A headband with three sensors detects electrical signals on the forehead resulting from subtle facial muscle, eye, and brain activity. This headband connects to an interface box which amplifies and digitizes the forehead signals and sends them to your computer for continuous cursor control. It also decodes eye motion and facial gestures into mouse button clicks, keystrokes, and cursor resolution control.

LogiCad3D GmbH
Business has been assimilated into 3Dconnexion.

Making Things
Make a variety of physical widgets, physical modules for controlling and sensing the "real world" using your computer.  The Phidgets are USB devices, and use a software library to interface to your application or computer.  They include touch, force, thermo, RFID and light sensors, accelerometers, sliders, push buttons, LEDs and servomotors.  They are like a physical interface prototyping LEGO kit. See also Phidgets, below.  For related/complimentary software, see also Sketch Tools from Tellart.

Measurand Inc.
Make a range of fibre optic shape sensors. These include ShapeTape, which is a tape like sensor that can sense flex and twist along its length.

Memtron
Are mainly an OEM supplier of flat interface components, which means touch panels, typically with graphics applied, that are used in locations where mechanical keys would not work, such as environments which are wet, dirty, clean, etc.  They can be made of either tactile or non-tactile switches.

Micro Control Systems, Inc.
3-D Digitizers Using Mechanical Arms

Multipoint Technology Corp.
Make a novel 6D input device, the Z Mouse. It is a 3-button mouse with a 3D trackball mounted on top, and a thumb-wheel on the side.

Northern Digital Inc. (NDI)
Make a range of 3D measurment technologies, including for motion-capture.  The products include the Optotrak, Polari,and Aurora,  An older product, the Watsmar, is still supported, although not sold. They range from active and passive optical sensors to magnetic sensing.

OptoDiode Corp
Make LEDs, including high powered IR LED arrays that can be used as a light source for IR cameras that serve as input for optically captured interation.

Other 90% Technologies Inc.
Make a technology that claims to use biopotential to control interaction.  The MindDrive technology consists of a  finger sensor that measures heart, temperature, blood pulse volume, and "Composite Neural Activity (CNA)," and uses this information for control.

Pegasus Technologies Ltd.
Make a wireless 3D controller. It can either be worn on the finger like a ring, or snapped into a joystick device. Uses ultrasound technology.

Penny and Giles Controls Ltd.
Make a range of controllers, such as 1-3 DOF joysticks, rotary controllers and linear controls.  Perhaps most interesting is a belt-type slider which can be used as a relative, rather than absolute, linear controller.

Phidgets Inc.
Phidgets, or physical widgets, are physical modules for controlling and sensing the "real world" from your computer.  Phidgets are USB devices, and use a free software library to interface to your application or computer.  They include touch, force, thermo, RFID and light sensors, accelerometers, sliders, push buttons, LEDs and servomotors.  They are like a physical interface prototyping LEGO kit. See also Making Things, above.  For related/complimentary software, see also Sketch Tools from Tellart.

P.I. Engineering
Make a "Y" adapter which enables two devices (such as two mice, or a mouse and a trackball), to be simultaneously connected to a single PS/2 mouse port.

Pixsys 3-D Digitizer
Uses the Science Accessories Corp. (SAC) sonic digitizer plus special software and accessories. For 3D digitization.

Polhemus Navigation Sciences
A 6-D (x, y, z, pitch, yawl & roll) tracker. It is comparable to the Ascention Technology tracker. A number of sensors can be used at once to support motion capture (such as in placing sensors on a body and then tracking the body's motion). A version specially packaged for the Macintosh, with interfaces and software is available from Mira Imaging Inc. See also SimGraphics.

Proxima Corp.
Make a device, the Cyclops, which enables one to input date to a computer using a standard laser pointer.  Essentially, the device consists of a video camera with some special software.  The camera is equipped with a special bandpass filter that eliminates all light other than that having the wavelength of the laser pointer.  Thus, it is easy to detect the presence of the laser within the visual field of the camera.  The software detects both the presence and location of the laser in the visual field, and communicates it to the computer as mouse-equivalent coordinates.  It was designed for, but is not limited to, use with data projector systems.

RoninWorks
Make a 3D mouse, the BurstMouse.  It is a modified conventional Logitech mouse that is augmented with a transducer that can sense its postion and orientation when lifted off of the desktop and maniputated in free space.

Selectech
Made an infrared pointer that can be used as a wireless remote pointer to large displays. Called the Air Mouse. No longer in production, but limited quantities available. The Air Mouse has been replaced by a new device, the ALLcontroller. This device consists of a wireless unit that incorporates a trackball and an electronic pseudo laserpointer device. The receiver for this wireless unit is a conventional tethered mouse that is connected to the computer.

Sensor Frame Corp
Have developed a technology that can be used with any flat surface (such as a tablet or display). The technology can sense touch in a two dimensional space, and do reliably for up to 3 points of contact simultaneously.

SimGraphics Engineering Corp.
Manufacture a mouse-like device that can be used as a regular mouse, or as a 6-D controller. Contains a Polhemus tracker. Provides active tactile feedback in the button.

Simulation Special Effects
Make a precision position-sensitive (isotonic) joystick, the Jollystick, especially targetted for animation and special effects applications as well as a slider box.

Sun-Flex
Make an ergonomic keyboard writst support, the Nomus, that has novel mouse functionality incorporated.  there is a horizontal cylinder device.  Rolling it with the fingers moves the cursor up and down.  Sliding it left right controls lateral cursor positon.  There is also a scroll wheel and left and right mouse buttons, in fact two pairs, one pair positioned for each hand. Related products are Alps' Isopoint and Contour Design's Roller Mouse.

Sven Technologies
Make a "pin-cushion" like digitizer. The object being digitized is pushed up against a matrix of movable rods. When pushed against the matrix, an impression of the object is left on the surface of the rods.

Tactiva
Have anounced a (not yet available) technology that uses optical techniques (a camera) to capture bimanual hand pose and use this for interaction. The device is much like a traditional copy stand, where a camera points down onto a tablet. In this case, the camera captures the position and pose of the hands and fingers over the tablet, which is both touch sensitive and which provides programable tactile feedback. While still a technology in search of a manufacturer and a market, it is nevertheless an interesting integration of a numbe of techniques that have been around for a number of years.

Technology PlayGroup Inc.
Make a range of input technologies for Silicon Graphics (SGI) computers. In particular, make a dial box with an LCD, and an adaptor, the Unwinder, that enables joysticks designed for games to be interfaced to the SGI.

TDS
Manufacture a 6 degree of freedom input device called Max. These include position on a tablet, tilt of stylus, pressure of stylus and rotation of stylus barrel.

TiNi Alloy Company
Make basic maerials or tactos That is, iyuwat tohave amuebuto that can "poke your finger" when you go over a target, the TiNi technolgy can provide what is required.

Transfinite Systems Co. Inc.
Manufacture an interface between Macintosh computers and Nintendo game systems and game controllers. Consequently, it lets you control your Mac using devices such as the Mattel Toys Powerglove and the Broderbund U-Force. The product, known as Gold Brick, consists of a hardware interface as well as a library of Macintosh software routines. The hardware is Apple Desktop Bus compatible.

USAR Systems Inc.
Make a range of IC controllers for input devices, including touch screens, trackballs, mice, joysticks and touch tablets.

Veridicom
Make a range of technologies for fingerprint authentication.  These include sensors that you touch, and can detect and recognize fingerprints. Products include, 5thSense Personal Authentication Peripheral, and the FPS110 and FPS 200 Silicon Fingerprint Sensors.

Visionics Corp.
Provide a software library that processes the output of a video camera in order to support head tracking, head presence, face identification and face location.

Xtensory Inc
Provide TACtools, a product that furnishes tactile feedback via a serial port connection and a simple protocol. As an alternative to force feedback.


MOTION CAPTURE

Adaptive Optics Associates, Inc.
Offer an optical real-time noncontact measurement system, the Multi-Trax.

Analogus Corp.
Make a body suit that employs an exo-skeleton type mechanical technology.

Ascension Technology Corp.
Provide a pulsed DC magnetic tracking technology. There is a tethered set of trackers, the Flock of Birds, as well as a wireless version,MotionStar.

InterSense Inc.
Make a range of motion capture and tracking technologies for both professional and consumer applications. They use inertial and ultrasonictechnologies.  Systems update at up to 500 Hz, which eliminates the lag time found in many other systems.

Northern Digital Inc. (NDI)
Make a range of 3D measurment technologies, including for motion-capture.  The products include the Optotrak, Polari,and Aurora,  An older product, the Watsmar, is still supported, although not sold. They range from active and passive optical sensors to magnetic sensing.

SimGraphics Engineering Corp.
Make a face tracker technology.

Motion Analysis Corp.
Offer an optical capture technology. Has integrated facial capture capability.

Polhemus Navigation Sciences
Provide a magnetic tracking technology, both tethered, and their Star Track wireless system.


SPEECH RECOGNITION

Introduction

Sorry, but I don't really track speech recognition technology. I will try to update this section. In the meantime, there are a few key players noted.

Suppliers:
Advanced Recognition Technology (ART)
Offer a range of high noise immunity, speaker-dependent and speaker-independent speech recognition solutions.

Commodio
Make software, QPointer Keyboard, which lets you use the keyboard as a substitute for the mouse when interacting with graphical user interfaces.  This is relevant in terms of accessibility to those who can use a keyboard, but not a mouse.  Also make QPointer VoiceMouse  which lets voice commands control the mouse functions of the QPointer Keyboard. QPointer HandsFree, another product enables hands-free operation of all mouse functions. QPointer Premium, augments the HandsFree product by also enabling voice commands for other computer functions.

Dragon Systems
Make a continuous speech recognition system called, Naturally Speaking.

IBM Direct
Make a speech recognition product, Simply Speaking Gold. Includes speech synthesis as well as recognition. The input can be commands or dictation. Also includes a speech front end to the Netscape web browser.

Kurzweil Applied Intelligence, Inc.
Make a number of speech recognition products, including Voice Pad, which is a large vocabulary dictation package.
 


TOUCH SCREENS

Introduction

Note, due to the current interest on multi-touch technologies, I have prepared a background page on the topic. It can be found at: www.billbuxton.com/multitouchOverview.html. Also, there is also a chapter on touch tablets in the unfinished manuscript for my book on input: www.billbuxton.com/input05.TouchTablets.pdf. There are also a number of papers relating to touch to be found on my web site at: www.billbuxton.com/papers.html#anchor1439918. Although the previous two items have to do with tablets rather than screens, there is much that is still relevant.

Also, see a company Touch-Base, which has a broad range of drivers available for various touch screens and tablets.

Vendors

3M
Make a touch screen technology, the 3M MicroTouch DST Touch System,  that senses bending waves, using what they call "Dispersive Signal Technology".  The underlying technology is licensed (exclusive) from a British company, NXT.  The technology can sense finger or stylus, and still works if one is wearing gloves, for example.  The technology is targetted especially to large format public displays.  Interesting attribute that static objects on screen (think table format) are not sensed, since it is the wave on the surface resulting from contact that is the sensed signal.

Caltron
Are not a manufacturer of touch technologies, but do offer a range of touch screen technologies integrated with LCD displays.

Carroll Touch
Make three lines of touch screens:  scanning infrared,  guided acoustic wave and resistive technologies. The guided acoustic wave technology supports 8-bits of  pressure sensing capability.  They also make a touch screen that can be mounted on 42" plasma panels and therefore support electronic meeting board type applications.  Carroll has a book on-line on touch technologies that can be downloaded from their web site.  Worth gettting.

Cypress Semiconductor Corporation
Make a line of capacitive touchscreens including a multi-touch solution, TrueTouch," that is capable of sensing hover as well as touch. 

Datalux Corp

Dynapro
Make a line of touch technologies using near field imaging technology which can sense a conductive object in front of the screen. Also have a line of touch screen products using analogue resistive technology.

Elo TouchSystems, Inc.
Make a range of touch screens using either a resistive overlay, the AccuTouchseries, or ultrasonic surface waves, the IntelliTouch series. The latter technology is capable of sensing touch pressure. Of special interest is a variation on the resistive AccuTouch series, what they call AccuScribe technology, which enables either finger or stylus input, while rejecting palm signals. That is, you can rest your hand on the screen while writing with a stylus, and the scren will sense only the stylus. This is similiar to the properties of a digitizing tablet, yet realized with a touch screen technology.

Fujitsu Takamisawa America Inc.
An OEM supplier of analogue resistive film touch screen technology for flat LCD panels. Make versions for finger touch as well as for stlus input.

IBM
Make a system, the PS/2 8516 that incorporates a touch screen on a 14" monitor with 256 levels of pressure sensing.

Immersion Corporation
Offer TouchSense technology for touch screens, a technology that uses vibration to give tactile feedback when interacting with graphical widgets with a touch screen..

Interaction Systems,

Intrepid Touch
Make a range of low cost touch screen technologies that integrate with existing displays.

JazzMutant
Make a multi-touch control surface called Lemur.  It consists of an LCD display with a touch-sensitive overlay that is capable of simultaneously sensing multiple points of contact.  It communicates with the computer running the application using something called "Open Sound Control (OSC)" over a 100-baseT Ethernet cable. OSC is currently supported by modular software applications such as Max/MSP, Reaktor, and Pd.

John Fluke Manufacturing Co.

KEYTEC, Inc.
Make a range of resistive membrane touch screens, called Magic Touch. Include Linux compatible products.

Mass Multimedia, Inc.
Are a supplier of a range of touch screen technologies from a number of companies, as well as stand-alone kiosk housings and other related technologies.

MicroTouch Systems, Inc.
This is one of the main suppliers of touch screen technology.  They provide resistive and capacitive technology.  They also supply displays with the touch sensors integrated, or kits for retrofitting existing displays.

Newcom Inc.
This is a new company that currently is the only firm capable of supplying touch screens that can sense more than one point on the screen at once.  This technology accepts simultaneous input from a pressure sensitive stylus and a finger.  It can be adapted to screen sizes from a PDA up to 60" PLPs.

Poa Sana
Make an optical touch screen.  A set of light sources and optical sensors are placed around the screen.  The finger or stylus interupt the light, and the location of the interuption can be detected.  A benefit is that there is no overlay on the screen.  They claim the capability to sense two points at once.

S.C.T. Inc.
Make a line of touch screens, TouchWindows which retrofit on a monitor and emulate the mouse functionality.

SMART Technologies Inc.
Make a line of touch sensitive technologies especially designed to be used with large format displays.  They can be used on front or rear projection systems, or with plasma panels.  Their traditional products have used overlays for sensing touch.  More recently, they have introduced Digital Vision Touch (DViT) which uses sensors mounted in the corner of the board, rather than overlays, for sensing.  The advantage of the latter is that there is some loss of visual quality when overlays are involved.  Both technologies, however, can sense touch from fingers or from objects.

TDS

Touch Controls Inc.
Make a line of touch screen products using what they call Enhanced Infrared Technology, which provides significantly higher resolution than conventional infrared technologies.

Touch Screens Inc.
Offer a range of touch screen products, including TouchWindow, which is a resistive membrane device that retrofits to exisiting monitors.
Touch Screen Technologies Ltd.

Troll Touch
Make a range of touch screen products, including for some laptops, using pressure sensitive resistive technology.

TSD Display Products

U-Touch
Make a range of touch screens using various technologies, including optical sensing, through-glass (as in store windows), infra-red, and resistive membrane.  Include multi-touch capable technologies.  Make touch sensors for very large displays, the largest one at the time of writing is for Panasonic's 103" plasma panel.

Visage Inc.
Make a product, TouchMate which implements a touch screen by placing unit under the monitor rather than in front or around the display. Very fast to instal.


TOUCH TABLETS

Note, due to the current interest on multi-touch technologies, I have prepared a background page on the topic. It can be found at: www.billbuxton.com/multitouchOverview.html. Also, there is also a chapter on touch tablets in the unfinished manuscript for my book on input: www.billbuxton.com/input05.TouchTablets.pdf. There are also a number of papers relating to touch to be found on my web site at: www.billbuxton.com/papers.html#anchor1439918.

Also, see a company Touch-Base, which has a broad range of drivers available for various touch screens and tablets.

Adesso Inc.
Are an alternative source of Cirque's Smart Cat and Easy Cat Glidepoint touch pads. Also make  a few lines of keyboards, including wireless keyboards, with integrated touch pads.  Their product line also includes a range of mice and input accessories.

ALPS Electric
Make an inexpensive touch tablet for PCs and Maintosh computers. Senses relative motion on tablet surface plus 1-bit of on/off pressure.

Big Briar, Inc.
3 by 3 inch continuous pressure sensing touch tablet. Analogue. Needs A/D converter to be used with computer. However, see the I-Cube device by Infusion Systems Ltd. in the section on MIDI Controllers and Accessories for a way of converting the output to MIDI, and connecting to the computer that way.

Cirque Corp.
Make range of touch tablets using what they call "GlidePoint" technology, which they call the Cat series (including the Cruise Cat, Easy Cat, Smart Cat).. These include driver software that enables regions of the touch tablet to have special functions, such as scrolling and zooming in the current window. Some also support signature using a stylus. Keyboards with integrated Cirque touch pads are available from Adesso Inc.

DSI Datotech
This Vancouver BC based company made a touch tablet, the HandGear, capable of multipoint sensing.  They also developed a software package, Gesture Recognition Technology (GRT), for recognizing hand gestures captured with the tablet.  The company is no longer operating, and I am not aware of anyone having acquired the assets.

Eleksen
Make a flexible cloth-like fabric that has embedded switches. It enables the capability of sensing the location and pressure, simultaneously, at one or more locations. Location and pressure sensing works even when the fabric is folded.

FingerWorks
Make a range of touch tablets with multi-touch sensing capabilities, including the iGesture Pad.

Fujitsu Takamisawa America Inc.
An OEM supplier tha makes a mouse with a built-in touch tablet, the ScrollPad Mouse.

Genovation
Make a line of accessory programmable (from the computer) keypads for PCs, including one incorporating a touch pad.

Interlink Electronics
Make a touch pad, the VersaPad, which incorporates horizontal and vertical scroll bars and five programmable function keys. Also produce a range of touch technology components, the Micronav line.  Includes linear, circular, square and miniature touch sensitive surfaces with pressure sensing. Also produce a range of wireless pointing devices for presentations, including ones with integrated touch pads for annotation, pointing, etc.

Kensington Microwave Ltd.
Make the WebRacer, a mouse with a touchpad and a range of keys on its back.

Key Tronic Corp.
Manufacture a range of conventional keyboards integrated with touch pads, including a wireless model.

Memtron
Are mainly an OEM supplier of flat interface components, which means touch panels, typically with graphics applied, that are used in locations where mechanical keys would not work, such as environments which are wet, dirty, clean, etc.  They can be made of either tactile or non-tactile switches.

MicroTouch Corp.
Used to make a product called the unmouse, a small touch-sensitive tablet for most personal computers. Now make just touch screens. But some products can be adopted to touch tablets, such as over horizontally mounted LCD displays. In addition, they make a touchscreen that can be operated with either a finger or a tethered stylus. When using the stylus, the technology is able to reject data from the hand, such as would result if the screen were mounted horizontally, and the hand was resting on it while operating the stylus. Also make a large format touch surface, the Ibid, that can be used as an electronic whiteboard.

Synaptics
Make a range of touch tablets and related products. They are one of the largerst OEM suppliers for touch pads for notebook computers. Also have a character recognition system based on neural networks.

Tactex Controls, Inc.
A vendor of multipoint pressure sensitive touch tablet technology.

Tactiva
Have anounced a (not yet available) technology that uses optical techniques (a camera) to capture bimanual hand pose and use this for interaction. The device is much like a traditional copy stand, where a camera points down onto a tablet. In this case, the camera captures the position and pose of the hands and fingers over the tablet, which is both touch sensitive and which provides programable tactile feedback. While still a technology in search of a manufacturer and a market, it is nevertheless an interesting integration of a numbe of techniques that have been around for a number of years.

Tekscan Inc

Touch Activated Switch Arrays Inc.
4 by 4 inch touch tablet (relative sensing only). Also make 1D touch sensitive sliders, called the ferinstat. Note, this company is no longer in business and is included for historical reasons only. The closest company that I am aware of with similar offerings is Memtron.


TRACKBALLS

Note: a number of trackball products are also listed under the heading Game Controllers.
A4tech
Make a range of mice, trackballs and keyboards.  What is unique, to my knowledge, are their 4D mice and trackballs . These are devices with 2, rather than just the conventional 1, scroll wheels on them.  The objective is to enable one wheel to be used for horizontal, and the other for vertical scrolling.

Abaton
Manufacture a Macintosh trackball. Switch position imposes right-hand bias.

Asher Engineering
Manufacture a Macintosh trackball.

CH Products
Make trackballs mainly for the game industry.

Disc Instruments, Inc.
No longer in business.

Electrone
Make a line of trakballs, including an infra red unit.

Evergreen Systems International
Make a range of high-resolution industrial/military grade trackball pointing devices for workstations and PCs.  Includes integration with keyboards, and both table and panel mounted solutions.

Fellowes Corp.
Make a trackball product for Windows. Also make a mouse, the Opti Trac, which has a 2DOF trakball mounted on the back for 2D scrolling.  See also IOGEAR

Green Green Globe (G3)
Make a wireless thumb-operated trackball, the Hand Track, that is mounted above a pistol-like grip.  A 3rd degree of freedom is controlled by a trigger-like device.  Also has two thumb-operated mouse buttons.  Operates at a distance of over 3 metres.

Input Technologies
Make a 1.5 inch trackball, along with their range of keyboards and keypads that are especially suited for hostile and industrial environments.  Also make a keyboad with integrated trackball.

IOGEAR
Make the Phaser Mouse, a wireless trackball (radio, not IR), integrated with a laser pointer, for use in making presentations.   Also make the Web Cruiser, which is an optical mouse with a trackball mounted on the back which enables 2D scrolling.  See also Fellowes.

Itac Systems
Make a line of trakballs. Have integrated wrist support.

Kensington Microwave Ltd.
Make a range of trackballs, including a 3D trackball, the TurboRing. There is a rotatable ring around the trackball that provides an additional degree of freedom.

Litton Encoder Division

Logitech Corp.
Make a range of trackball devices, including ones where the ball is intended to be operated by the thumb and buttons by the fingers (in contrast with devices from most other manufacturers.)

Microsoft Corp.
Make a trackball with a wheel next to the ball which enables one to point with the ball and scroll with the wheel.

MicroSpeed Inc.
Make trackballs, keyboards, mice, joysticks, and light pens for IBM PCs, PS/2s and compatibles, Apple Macintosh, and Sun, H-P and SGI workstations. As well, are OEM supplier for these technologies. Include a trackball with an integrated "thumbwheel" pot permitting manipulation of a third axis by means other than twisting the ball.

Mouse Systems Inc.

Pretorian Technologies
Make a line of high-end trackballs for applications and environments which need high reliability.

Rowan Graphics
Make a wireless trackball (PC-compatible) called the Presentaball. Is intended for use in presentations. Provides the presetner mouse-like capabilities. Unlike a virtual laser pointer, has advantage that cursor stays in position when device put down.

Selectech
Make a device, the ALLcontrollerwhich consists of a wireless unit that incorporates a trackball and an electronic pseudo laserpointer device. The receiver for this wireless unit is a conventional tethered mouse that is connected to the computer.

Trackerball Company (The)
Perhaps the oldest company making trackballs, having done so for 50 years.  Make a range of desktop units as well as OEM devices, some of which are built to military specification.  Some units suppor a vitual third axis of control. Under this scheme, pressing the middle button suspends normal X/Y moevement and insteads rotues Y axis movement to the Z axis (with a suitable reduction in the tracking rate). So, for example, in a CAD application where the Z axis is normally used to zoom in and out, simply press the middle button and then roll the ball forward to zoom out and aft to zoom in. Press the middle again to return to normal X/Y movement.

Traxsys
Make a range joysticks, as well as trackballs and assistive I/O technologies.

Ultra Electronics Measurement Systems, Inc.
Make one of the widest range of high end joysticks, trackballs and other input devices available.

Wico Corp
This is one of the main vendors of input devices for arcade style video games.



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