Seymourpowell have designed Obsidian - a premium market wireless computer mouse - for long-term clients Saitek.
Seymourpowell have completed over 30 projects for Saitek over a 15-year period, mainly in the audio and computer peripherals market. The new project - to design a wireless, optical, premium market computer mouse that was good-looking enough for people to leave lying around their living space - was a major departure into a premium market and a new challenge for the teams at Seymourpowell and Saitek.
The new mouse fits the consumer trend for fully-integrated entertainment systems in the living room where a PC is used as the media centre. "We tried to avoid all the cliches in the marketplace", commented Seymourpowell director and team leader Nick Talbot. "Many computer mice are either over-obviously ergonomic and unstylish, or else trying too hard to be sporty and suffering as a result from over-styling. We wanted to produce a mouse that was simple, instinctive and very comfortable to use, but also sculptural enough for people to be happy to leave in a non-office environment."
The design of the mouse was inspired by the comfortable feeling in the palm of sea-washed stones, where all sharp edges have been smoothed away, aiming to arrive at a very pure form where the hand can move as it wishes, using a non-prescriptive ergonomy, rather than creating a "hand-fit" mouse, which is only really comfortable for the ideal-sized hand the design was based on.
The result is the black and silver Obsidian mouse (its name taken from the dense black, naturally-occurring glass produced by volcanoes). Obsidian has an optical sensor for high speed and ultra accurate tracking with a capacitance-sensing scroll wheel (not a typical, literal wheel) and six function buttons. "It was a challenge to integrate that amount of functionality into such a simple object", Nick added, "but we integrated 2 functions into the front, left and right hand sides of the wheel, without a typical central split line. It is also slightly bigger than an average mouse, so that your whole hand can rest on it, rather than just three fingers."
One of the most striking features of the new product is its docking cradle. The cradle holds the mouse when not in use and features a battery charge station and integrated receiver for wireless functionality, which can be unclipped and inserted into a laptop for use on the move. The mouse comes with two batteries - one black and one silver - so that the spare battery is constantly charging in the cradle whilst the other is in use.