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Contour RollerMouse Reinvents the (Scroll) Wheel

In terms of computer peripherals that don't really need a redesign, the humble mouse must be near the top of the list. However, Contour decided that scrolling and clicking could be an even simpler process, and the company's RollerMouse is evidence that its decision may have been the correct one.

Tom's Guide got to go hands-on with the RollerMouse ($265) at SXSW 2014. The device is not a mouse, in the strictest sense. Rather, it's a long, cylindrical bar that sits across the bottom of a keyboard (either a laptop or desktop will work fine).

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A moveable piece of rubber on top of the bar is littered with bumps that serve as fingerholds. The bar emits a laser, and by moving or rotating the rubber piece, users can scroll side-to-side or up and down as normal.

Users still click in the same old-fashioned way. Beneath the scrolling bar, there are six buttons arranged in a rough hexagon pattern. These can left-click, right-click, double-click, copy, paste and change the cursor speed. The mouse speed ranges between 800 and 2400 dots-per-inch (DPI) normally, but specialized software can bring it up to 5600 DPI.

Contour intends for the RollerMouse to be a productivity tool primarily. Despite its odd design, the device is rather comfortable and intuitive. A representative informed us that the mouse can scroll through three full-size display screens in less than a second. Combined with the copy and paste buttons close at hand, it's easy to see how multimedia designers could find this peripheral useful.

Other applications, like gaming, are generally uncharted waters for the RollerMouse. Tom's Guide may investigate this possibility in the future. This technology could be especially useful in games with large amounts of territory to explore, like turn-based strategy titles.

The RollerMouse is available now, and comes in a few different conformations and price points. Its price makes it a difficult pill for everyday users, but anyone who dabbles in art or video production may want to check this one out.

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