Coming out in mid-October from Thrustmaster is a pack of 2 MFD's with fully-programmable buttons. Retail price will be somewhere around $95 (compared to Aimsworth's MFD's which are around $1000). The screens don't work (just pictures) but this is a really neat and affordable idea.
Here's the product info page: Thrustmaster MFD Cougar Pack
Thrustmaster wrote:For diehard flight simulation fans, Thrustmaster is proud to offer a pack of 2 MFD Cougar modules, taking users another big step towards total immersion in flight sim games. The ideal companions for joysticks and yokes on the market, the MFD Cougar Pack lets virtual pilots enjoy more realistic flight conditions than ever before.
Thrustmaster, inventor of the joystick and responsible for major innovations such as the HOTAS Cougar and T.16000M, is continuing to expand its product range for flight sim fans with the launch of the Multi-Function Display Cougar Pack. The MFD Cougar is a panel of buttons and switches onto which the user can program their choice of functions for any given game. This revolutionary device therefore provides shortcuts which are far more practical and intuitive than the standard method of using a keyboard and mouse for various actions in games.
The MFD Cougar modules from Thrustmaster are replicas of those found onboard the legendary U.S. Air Force F-16 jet fighter aircraft. They are compatible with all military or civil flight simulation games supporting multi-USB.
Each of the 2 MFD modules in the pack features 20 buttons and 4 switches, for a total of 56 programmable controls! 2 programmable LEDs per MFD facilitate identification, in particular during programming phases. The programming interface can even accommodate up to 8 MFD modules at the same time. Finally, each MFD module features an internal memory, which saves all of your settings and preferences… even when used on a different computer.
Versatile, high-performance design!
The MFD modules feature a multi-position base, allowing users to adjust them to the perfect viewing angle. They are also weighted and equipped with non-slip grips for complete stability when using the controls. Both MFD modules are also detachable from their base: users can therefore attach them to a monitor if they wish, or to the inside of a simulated cockpit…[Gunner & STRIKER ]
The buttons are backlit and feature adjustable intensity (via the software or manually), allowing users to adapt the backlighting level to their preferred conditions and gaming environments.
The installation CD contains plug-ins which instantly configure both MFD modules for the Microsoft® games "Flight Simulator 2004" and "Flight Simulator X", with a choice of 3 presets: Generic/Light Aviation/Airliner: each control on the MFDs will be preconfigured for these games.
Each MFD module comes equipped with Plexiglas™ windows, between which the user can insert one of the 10 preprinted cardboard cutouts included in the pack. The different presets for Microsoft® Flight Simulator X are indicated on the cutouts, and blank cutouts are also included for customization with any other game. (I'm sure someone will eventually put small lcd displays behind them.)