A British company has reinvented the mouse.

When PC Advisor saw the press release for the Quattro mouse, with its "first major advance in computer input devices for more than a decade" claim, we were sceptical, to say the least.

But it might just work out, as we've seen it and it works. The Quattro mouse is an odd-looking thing, but seems to do what its maker, Hall Effect Technologies, claims. Essentially, Quattro is a mouse that's also a joystick, which has no ball. You don't need to move it around on a surface.

HET will only license the technology, rather than making the mice, so the mice could look like anything when you eventually see them in the shops. But basically the mice are moved on an internal pedestal, much like a joystick, but can provide up to five axes of movement: forward/back, left/right, up/down, dip left/dip right, twist left/right.

For gamers this will come as a boon as it means most movement can be done with one hand. But perhaps the more important uses for this uber-mouse is for the disabled, who would be able to navigate 3D environments and complex websites, for example, with more ease. This also means a mouse that can be used on your knee, for example, with full movement.

See our June print edition (in shops from 22 March 2000) for a more detailed description of how the Quattro mouse works.