Jack Copper has Steven Jobs to thank for his latest invention, a cordless, padless mouse for IBMs and compatibles. At a high-tech conference, Copper was struck by how constricted Jobs was during a presentation -- continually having to return to his terminal and fiddle with the cursor to call up the next screen. A year and a half and $100,000 of privately raised funds later, Copper had developed his solution: the Imp, a hand-held remote cursor device, which, like a TV clicker, relies on infrared technology and can be operated from as far as 10 feet away from a computer. Copper sees potential applications ranging from portable PCs to factory automation. Production will begin this summer, and the Imp will retail at $139.95. Copper's company, ArcanaTech, in Pittsburgh, hopes to capture 1% of the pointing-device market and $10 million in sales in its first year. An Imp for Macs is also in the works.

-- Alessandra Bianchi