Serif cuts 30 percent off Affinity creative apps for Black Friday

It might be a good time to shop around if you’re looking for alternatives to Adobe software like Photoshop. Serif is running a Black Friday sale that cuts prices by 30 percent on all Affinity creative apps, including Photo, Designer and Publisher. Th...

Mouse Designs that will elevate every gadget lover’s desktop: Part 2

Traditionally speaking, a computer mouse does not get enough attention to the visual impact these gadgets can make to our setup. Sure, we look for productive designs and most of them refer to a mass of specifications that can be read off a chart, but not many speak to the aesthetic and material qualifications of a mouse – whether the elements used in that mouse are sustainable, ethically sourced. Another question is whether these designs can go beyond a simple pointer? Those are the questions asked and answered in this list of intriguing and well-designed mice that show the care and consideration put in by the product designers to make these mice stand out from the usual mass of black that floods your desk!

The Ice Mouse comes with a bamboo upper that promotes breathability, making sure your palms don’t work up a sweat with hours of use. The bamboo component is CNC machined from a layered block of bamboo plies, doing a pretty remarkable job of showcasing the wood-grain while remaining entirely unique in its grain pattern. Some may say it almost reflects the uniqueness of the fingers and palm that rest on it! Sitting underneath it is the aluminum base, giving your fingers a metallic surface to hug and sort of complementing the feeling of typing on an aluminum-constructed MacBook.

Usually, users experience the inconvenience of wrist pain, stiff fingers, or aching finger joints when using the traditional mouse. The weight and shape of the mouse initially don’t seem worth investing in for the user till these issues arise and that is what the designer, Ihjoo Yoon, wanted to address through the Ring mouse. The PC market continues to grow and it means the need for an ergonomic lightweight mouse like this ring exists stronger than before as people take more notice of their health and well-being. The ring mouse’s design works intuitively, it reacts to the movements of the fingertips and does not interfere with the natural movement of the wrist since it is a wearable ring. Due to its unique shape for a mouse, it makes the experience smoother while reducing the stress on your wrists as it won’t be awkwardly bent at an angle for hours!

Taking inspiration from an iconic chapter in furniture design, Shane Chen envisioned the Lounge Mouse, a hat-tip to Ray and Charles Eames’ Lounge Chair. The Lounge Mouse follows the form and visual direction of the ottoman footrest that comes along with the chair. The base of the mouse is made from bent plywood, while the upper half is an incredibly soft leather-clad with a scroll-wheel in its upper center.

The CheerPod is a tiny, handheld device that boils the mouse down to its essentials. With a design that’s dictated by the need to be small and remote-like, the CheerPod is to mice what smartphones are to landlines – Portable, rectangular, and heavily feature-laden. It comes with an infrared sensor on its base, like all wireless mice, allowing you to drag your cursor by moving the physical device, but it also allows you to mimic gestures by swiping across screens in mobile and desktop interfaces. The CheerPod, unlike most wireless mice, works without a receiver, connecting directly to laptops, desktops, tablets, and even phones using Bluetooth.

Designed for kids with ADHD, or anyone with a quirky sense of style, this computer mouse aims at giving you a tech accessory that’s unconventionally fun to interact with! The Hoglet is a wireless mouse modeled on a hedgehog, with a silicone sleeve around its grip with multiple bristles that come in contact with your hand as you grip it. The objective of the Hoglet is to do multiple things. For starters, it makes tech feel a little less scary and a little more approachable. The mouse is incredibly tactile and comes in heartwarming colors. Its silicone texture aims at creating a new sort of experience that almost seems pet-like, reinforcing the mouse-ness of the mouse, and helps boost focus and reduce anxiety.

Designed as a juxtaposition between classic and modern, this mouse, created by Daniel Jansson for 8BitDo transforms a hallmark of console gaming into a neat, functional mouse that’s a sheer tactile joyride! The wireless mouse comes with clear-cut lines that you’d imagine wouldn’t be comfortable, but actually do feel familiar. It features classic NES controller-style red left and right-click buttons, resting on a black platform which is, in fact, a touch-sensitive scroller. To complete this whacky/adorable mouse’s design, Janssen incorporated a D-Pad on the side, that can be controlled via your thumb.

The EXOvault Mouse was developed by the artist, engineer, designer, and overall maker Jonathan Schipper. Designed as an exercise to visually reinvent something mundane, something we take for granted, the mouse was developed at EXOvault’s facility in Brooklyn and it doesn’t just look great, but feels great too. It has weight, which allows you to command the cursor with confidence, while the clickers and scroll wheels provide a wonderfully smooth tactile feedback. With a PixArt 3000cpi sensor that works on glass and a 500mAh battery, the EXOvault mouse performs well too, giving you superior functionality and aesthetic unconventionality in a singular package that guarantees to make you instantly want to ditch your plastic mouse or trackpad!

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The designers at BKID took the literal connotation of a computer ‘mouse’ and embodied its characterful persona into the Balance Mouse! During the day the mouse works like any other computer mouse, letting the user go about pursuing their tasks. However, when the clock strikes ‘home time’, the mouse exits the body and humourlessly rolls away. Not only is this a visual indicator that the workday is over, but it’s also pretty difficult to use a computer without a mouse!

The Manta Mouse by Alberto Aguado Baudil takes inspiration from the Manta Ray, with its wide, stingray-inspired design. At the very center is a bulbous volume forms the bulk of the mouse, the part your palm rests on, while the rest of the mouse skirts around the side. This side-skirt essentially works as a cushion for the base of your palm, promising to give your hand a comfortable place to rest as you operate the mouse

Shattering the mouse-design-archetype in glorious fashion, the Cubic mouse takes on a less ergonomics-driven design approach and a more, dare I say, cubist one. The Cubic Wireless Mouse concept by Kim Hyunsoec (yes it’s a concept and not a real one, so calm down) comes with a hexagonal design and uses bright colors… something you’d agree most mice don’t really do. Rather than being designed as a peripheral for your computer, the Cubic Mouse takes on the appearance of a jewel that you’d be proud to keep on your desk. With a 3D pattern on the top, the mouse cleverly tells you how to use it. The buttons lie right under the majority of lines pointing in the same direction, divided equally between the left and right-click.

For more productivity-enhancing gadgets or just to add more pizzazz to your desk, check our collection of innovative product designs!

Sorry Post-it notes, we are moving onto digital sticky notes!

Yes, we all have notes on our phones but has that phased out the use of paper and pen at our work desks? Nope, in fact, most people still prefer to write down their to-do lists because checking it off is gratifying. As a reflex, we always tend to frantically search for a notepad to jot down a number, address, meeting feedback, last-minute lists, or notes during a class. To integrate this existing behavior with the technology we already use, designer Jeong Woo Kim created Ouverture – a conceptual keyboard accessory that is a number pad + a digital notepad when you flip the cover. It has a typing mode which is the number pad and a memo mode which is the writing pad. “The leather cover acts as a number pad on a conventional keyboard. Current from the fingertips passes through the special conductive fiber to the touchpad inside the leather cover,” explains Kim.

A quick survey showed that 98% of people take notes when they are working on computers and 70% of them said it is uncomfortable and 34% complained that their desk tends to get messy or notes tend to get lost. With a device like Ouverture, your notes are saved as image files and your desk remains clutter-free. But it would be interesting if technology also lets you convert it into text for easier transfer of information. Another important point to consider if this goes into production is to make sure it is modular so that the left-handed demographic can also be included – we all deserve to have a chance at being more efficient! Ouverture comes with a magnetic pen on the side so that you don’t need to look for pen or paper anymore – it retains the tactile experience and incorporates it with our digital lifestyle without us having to learn any new behaviors. No more messy desks, paper waste, or lost memos!

Designer: Jeong Woo Kim

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Upgrade your work from home game with this gadget that is a Fitbit for productivity!

The pandemic has changed the way we work permanently and that is a lot to adjust to overnight! Right from managing your work from home set up, ensuring that you are not disturbed during calls, probably sharing your space with others, and also doing chores – it is the several tiny things that pile up high enough to tower over your productivity which is even more fragile given the crisis we are all going through. Fun fact: an average employee gets distracted at least 56 times a day and now that we have our pets and Netflix around work, distraction counts are on the rise. TimeChi is a smart tool that can help us sail through those endless Zoom calls and Slack pings!

Productivity is a flexible skill, you can continue to develop and master it just the way you exercise and build up your fitness. A study shows that 80% of our disturbances are trivial and can be avoided with awareness. TimeChi is a compact desk gadget that takes care of one of the biggest distractions we all face – it blocks digital notifications from IM or your smartphone, time-wasting websites, and physical interruptions! That itself could save up to twp hours from my day and I actually tested it out by putting timers on my apps to see how it would reduce my screen time during work hours. It takes 11 minutes to get your focus and attention back and while it is so tempting to see what meme your friend sent or to play a 15-second game with the filter, it unknowingly makes your day longer and eventually pushes your work into your personal time which right now is more precious than ever. “The app + device combo empowers you to reach your productivity potential, facilitate meaningful team collaborations, and boost creativity with a simple click on the TimeChi device,” says the team.

TimeChi is built around the widely used Pomodoro technique and timeboxing. It puts these two tried and tested productivity hacks into one smart, connected device. I am a personal fan of the Pomodoro timer, you sit with a task for 25 minutes at a time with 5-minute breaks in the middle of each task. One cycle of a 25-minute task and a 5-minute break equals one Pomodoro, after you finish four Pomodoros you can take a 15-minute break. TimeChi uses a bright traffic light display that makes it clear even in your peripheral vision or to those sharing your space that you’re in the middle of a deep-work session, this also helps set those focus boundaries during work hours and tells them when you will be taking a break so they can come back. The personal gadget is also fully customizable, it works for students and professionals to set the focus periods and track their performance on the personalized TimeChi dashboard. We can all use a digital timeout after the last few months of digital overload!

Designer: TimeChi

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Chrome’s new tab grouping feature brings order to chaos

As promised, Google is bringing a new organization feature to tab hoarders. Beginning today, Chrome users can group tabs in their desktop windows. The tab groups are customizable -- you can label them with names and colors -- and you can easily colla...