LAS VEGAS—So many devices means so many different ways to control them. But the way Spicebox has it figured, the only controller you need is probably already in your pocket.
Enter Mauz, an accessory that plugs into your smartphone, and turns that device into a controller for anything from a computer to a TV settop box. With Mauz plugged into your phone, you’ve now got a virtual touchpad, with the ability to scroll and click like you would with any laptop trackpad. But Mauz also includes support for both motion gestures and visual gestures. At the Spicebox booth at CES 2013, various company representatives were waving Mauz-equipped smartphones in the air to control TVs, hovering their hands over smartphones to spin a globe in Google earth on a computer display, and even tilting a phone to control 3D modeling software.
It’s an intriguing idea, not unlike the one behind the notion that’s turned the smartphone into your default camera. The best camera is the one that’s with you, as the saying goes. But we’ll have to see if that applies to controllers as well. The version of Mauz on display at CES was only a working prototype. There’s still a Kickstarter campaign to drum up funding. Still, when I talked to Spicebox founder and CEO Gilad Meiri, he felt confident enough to say that Mauz would ship in June.
When it arrives, it will work with Apple’s iPhone 4S and iPhone 5. (A single Mauz add-on can adjust to fit either phone.) An Android version is planned, though the assorted hardware on that platform means that Spicebox has to pick and choose its devices there. The Galaxy SIII and Nexus 4 figure to be the first Android phones to be supported.