Ever wonder what happened to Michael Jackson's other glove? Have you run out of room on your desk for a mouse? And what do those two questions have to do with each other?

A Palo Alto company called VPL Research has introduced a new input device they call the Z Glove. The Z Glove is a close-fitting glove, as the name implies, with an attached cable and two small ultrasonic transmitters. Small receivers sit on the computer itself. The ultrasonics allow the computer to track the glove as it moves through all three dimensions, and the cable is hooked to sensors that can tell when each finger is clenched.

The Z Glove may sound frivolous, at first; it is not. The combination of tilt, grasp, and motion detection raises at least the possibility that using the Z Glove will be faster and easier than a mouse, joystick or trackball.

If you're familiar with mechanical Waldos for hazardous or delicate material, you've pretty much gotten the idea behind the Z Glove.

VPL packages the Z Glove with a proprietary visual language called Grasp, which was featured on the cover of the September 1984 issue of Scientific American magazine. With the proper programming, the Z Glove can differentiate gestures and perform different tasks based on those gestures. Programming is performed with the glove itself.

If nothing else, the Z Glove and Grasp would let you to conduct a symphony, play air guitar, or learn to juggle.

VPL was only showing a Commodore 64/128 version of the Z Glove, but Chairman Jason Lanier said an IBM PC version was in the offing. The glove is available in three sizes, and yes -- they're made for both lefties and righties.