Interesting facts about the computer mouse

A computer mouse is a hand-controlled electromechanical device for interacting with a digital computer that has a graphical user interface.

A mouse typically controls the motion of a pointer in two dimensions in a graphical user interface (GUI). The mouse turns movements of the hand backward and forward, left and right into equivalent electronic signals that in turn are used to move the pointer.

There are many types of mouse. Optical mouse, wireless mouse, mechanical mouse, trackball mouse.

Many of today’s online transactions can be conveniently done with just a click of a mouse. Prior to the invention of the mouse, people were only using the keyboard as an input device.

The computer mouse, in the sense we are thinking of today, was not launched until the mid-80’s. But the fact is that the technology behind the computer mouse was invented far earlier. It was during the post-World War II period that the British navy produced what is usually called the trackball. The trackball was invented by Ralph Benjamin and used to track aircraft on a radar.

The Canadian navy was not late in adopting the technology for their own tracking equipment. They used a small bowling ball, for the track ball, because according to rumor, they did not receive as much funding for the project.

The first real mouse was invented by Douglas Engelbart in 1964 and consisted of a wooden shell, circuit board and two metal wheels that came into contact with the surface it was being used on.

After studying and designing for a long time, Engelbart succeeded in inventing an input device which he named ‘XY index’. At first, it needed two hands to use, but it was changed so that only one hand was needed to use it. This model was more like the mouse that we use today, but was made up of a big ball that the user had to roll in different directions to move the cursor.

It was 8 years later in 1972 that Bill English developed the design further by inventing what is known as the “Ball Mouse” that we know today. The ball replaced the wheels and was capable of monitoring movement in any diection. The ball came into contact with two rollers that in turn spun wheels with graduations on them that could be turned into electrical pulses representing direction and speed.

In 1981, Steven Kirsch invented a optics model for the computer mouse system. This model uses light instead of balls to trace it’s movement. It prevents dirt from getting stuck inside. For it to function, users need to have a mouse pad (which is probably expensive).

In 1982, Logitech introduced the P4 Mouse, its first hardware mouse. That same year Microsoft made MS-DOS Word mouse-compatible and developed the first PC-compatible mouse.

Microsoft’s mouse shipped in 1983 – however, the mouse remained relatively obscure until the appearance of the Macintosh in 1984 with an effective mouse button technology.

In 1991, the company Logitech invented the wireless mouse. Unlike a normal mouse, wireless mice were connected by radio signals. Newer wireless mice use Bluetooth or WiFi to connect wireless mice to computers.

Apple started investigating the wired mouse, hoping to make it to be less complicated. Finally in 1998, Apple’s first USB interface computer mouse iMac was born. The round shape confused many of its users, and a nickname ‘Ice Ball’ was given to it.

Gaming mice are specifically designed for use in computer games. They typically employ a wider array of controls and buttons and have designs that differ radically from traditional mice. They may also have decorative monochrome or programmable RGB LED lighting. The additional buttons can often be used for changing the sensitivity of the mouse or they can be assigned (programmed) to macros (i.e., for opening a program or for use instead of a key combination). It is also common for game mice, especially those designed for use in real-time strategy games such as StarCraft, or in multiplayer online battle arena games such as Dota 2 to have a relatively high sensitivity, measured in dots per inch (DPI), which can be as high as 25,600.

The earliest known written use of the term “mouse” in reference to a computer pointing device is in Bill English’s July 1965 publication, “Computer-Aided Display Control”, likely originating from its resemblance to the shape and size of a mouse, a rodent, with the cord resembling its tail. The popularity of wireless mice without cords makes the resemblance less obvious.

Mickeys per second is a unit of measurement for the speed and movement direction of a computer mouse, where direction is often expressed as “horizontal” versus “vertical” mickey count. However, speed can also refer
to the ratio between how many pixels the cursor moves on the screen and how far the mouse moves on the mouse pad, which may be expressed as pixels per mickey, pixels per inch, or pixels per centimeter.

Daniel Evans (UK) has a collection of 3,673 different mouse mats, as of 19 April 2008, that he has amassed since 2001.