A Kickstarter project from Hong Kong, the Air.o mouse is designed to take the form of a full-sized mouse when assembled, and almost disappear into the bag when flattened. When operational, the mouse adopts a sort of hoof design, with a rounded front and an open crease that runs lengthwise against the palm. This fold is what allows the Air.o to flatten into a 4.5mm panel, which can then be slipped into a laptop case, bag or pocket without adding annoying bulk. (A small part of the mouse that houses its optical sensor and Bluetooth hardware extends to 10 millimeters, but even that’s not nearly as wide as your average ballpoint pen.) At just 40 grams, the mouse adds so little weight to your setup of travel that practically goes unnoticed.
If it’s been a while since you’ve tackled the art of origami, don’t worry—you don’t need crafty folding skills to get the Air.o ready for use. Squeezing the sides of the flattened Air.o pushes it into the formation of your mouse, while a small but powerful magnet holds everything together. Disassembling the Air.o is said to be as easy as undoing the magnet and pressing down on the mouse to turn it into a geometric pancake. According to Air.o, the vegan mouse skin (aka plastic) will retain its integrity even after being handled over and over again. It will even survive nasty drops on hard surfaces if Air.o’s Kickstarter page is anything to go by.
For those who enjoy the “digital nomad” lifestyle but hate using a trackpad, the Air.o could be a game changer. There are a lot of lightweight Bluetooth computer mice on the market these days, but none of them transform into something that can pass as a marker in a pinch. Air.o’s Kickstarter page says the team chose to make a full-sized mouse to avoid the tedium of using a mini mouse, a small (and frankly irritating to use) device that often ends up being added to people’s backpacks because is missing of better options.
As with any other Kickstarter campaign, there’s no telling if the Air.o will ever make its way into the purses and pockets of adopters (although this particular campaign far exceeded its fundraising goal, so there’s hope) . It’s also hard to say exactly how easy it is to use the Air.o for long periods of time; the design of the mouse, although clever, may be uncomfortable for some. At just $49 per mouse, though, Air.o looks like it’s worth a shot, if only to impress the people sitting next to you at a coffee shop or on your next flight.