It may be called Ego! Smartmouse but it is far from a simple mouse. Recently launched on Kickstarter  by an Italian company, Laura Sapiens, the first part of its name - Ego - is the most revealing aspect. It's a kind of container for our digital identity, which happens also to be a mouse. And under the hood, there's a whole lot more. Read on for our exclusive interview with Matteo Modè, CEO of Laura Sapiens.

The shape of the Ego was studied by designers to be the most efficient and ergonomic, with a small touchpad at the center rather than the classic wheel. Inside, there's an ARM9 processor, an accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetic compass, VGA digital camera, LED, and vibration system. It's operating system is Linux.

In some ways this Smartmouse acts like a very small and very personal computer. It has integrated flash memory (from 2 to 8 GB depending on the version) in which one can store documents and access profiles, integrated with a cloud storage system assigned to each Smartmouse owner.

 

Connect the Smartmouse to a Mac or PC and install the software; the mouse then identifies itself with the computer via a QR code (using the mouse's internal camera). At this point, using Bluetooth connection, the user has access to the files and profiles associated with that mouse, such as Facebook or Gmail, even without re-entering passwords. The mouse can be moved to other computers and you'll find this same data on each one after it's synchronized. Of course, the cloud system is equipped with a security function that allows you to block access to this information via web at any time.

These are the basic functions of the Ego! Smartmouse that Laura Sapiens has developed and installed, but this evolved mouse has numerous other possibilities, limited only to the imagination of future developers. You could build just about anything based on this hardware - for hardware it is, not just a passive peripheral device.

To better understand the project, we asked a few questions to Matteo Modè, CEO.

How did you guys come up with the idea of integrating all these functions into an object that is now considered essentially a commodity?

We have a vision of the future in which there is a better relationship between people and the computers that surround us, using multi-screen and multi-context interaction that permits us to move around while continuing a seamless experience between devices. The Smartmouse as a versatile peripheral comes from this dream, allowing users to move between computers by photographing the screen.

We plan on integrating this vision in more interactive devices in order to offer maximum useability in the future. For example, while the Ego is great for long productive or play sessions, it's limited when it comes to interactive screens, large screen advertising and tablets.

The Smartmouse becomes a repository for your personal identity, of sorts. Other objects have tried to do this but failed (like USB keys with digital IDs). Why will your project be different?

We think that in the past, these products haven't made it because they didn't address the user's needs for interaction through a single, convenient solution, but rather had a fragmented approach. There are all kinds of inputs - mouse, keyboard, joystick, touchscreen - as well as portable memory devices, and others again that authenticate security information, like passwords and tokens... The result is an excess of peripheral instruments that fragment our digital experience rather than keeping together a single identity.

What is your opinion of Kickstarter as a way to produce new tech items, and why did you choose this platform?

We picked Kickstarter because it offers international visibility and already has loyal users who are accustomed to financing new projects. Plus it's the most important crowdfunding platform in the world. I think it is really ideal for companies that have reached a certain product maturity and are ready to launch production. Early adopters can easily find you on Kickstarter, and that's good for us.

Can you give us a few more details about Laura Sapiens?

Laura Sapiens was founded in 2011 after an incubation with  Spinner, where we made our first personal interaction prototypes. The name stems from the identity and spirit that guides our company- that's why we wanted to give it a human name. Both elements, Laura and Sapiens, derive from Latin and suggest victory and sageness, two results at which we are aiming.

MakeTank backed this project on Kickstarter - you should too!

 

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