The last time we saw Smartfish, we were a little skeptical about the company's automatically adjusting Pro:Motion keyboard. We caught up with Alan Shafer, executive VP and CMO of Smartfish, who gave us another look at how things are shaping up for the unit's new August street date, and even had a second surprise for us — an odd little mouse.
Let's take the Tru:Motion wireless mouse first. It pivots atop a conical pedestal that'll have the mouse dipping side to side as you use it. While this may sound a little wacky at first, the idea governing the Tru:Motion is that rather than your hand and arm contorting to find a comfortable way to hold the mouse, the mouse itself accommodates you. The end result is surprisingly natural as you slide it around. I was a little concerned about how the Tru:Motion will handle heavy use and travel — adding a joint to anything provides one more thing that can break — but the mouse comes with its own protective sleeve (which is, admittedly, perhaps too soft, but it is snug), and it cleverly unzips and doubles as a mousepad.
After the jump: our updated impressions of the Pro:Motion keyboard which Shafer refers to as a robot in its own right.
The Pro:Motion, just like its mousy counterpart, is the solution to a problem a lot of us put up with, which is that the way we interact with computers isn't optimal in terms of health. Some people experience minor strains from a lifetime at a computer; others suffer more serious complications, such as carpal tunnel.
To combat the strain our hands, wrists and arms feel, at least, the Pro:Motion is loaded up with software (read: you won't have to run an application on your computer, Shafer confirmed for us — it's all internal) that shifts the two halves of the keyboard around very subtly. Depending on how long you use the keyboard, it can alter its position in as long as an hour, or even shorter if you're really at it. Built-in sensors keep track of your wrists and fingers and makes sure you're not typing the same way for too long, which reduces the strain of repetition — one of the big contributors to strains and pains.
We didn't get to spend enough time with the unit during our short demo to see if it'd help reduce aches over extended periods (boy, could I use one now!), but it looks like a solid piece of tech and, just like pillow preference, alternative keyboards are an undeniable boon to folks who find using a computer physically uncomfortable.
Both the Pro:Motion and Tru:Motion are due out in August. The mouse hits on the 1st of the month for $60, the keyboard brings up the tail end of August for $150, and Smartfish plans to bundle the two together for $200.
Smartfish has plans to modify other peripherals in the future, such as video game controllers (a prototype of which is pictured below, last).