Short presentation about computer mice

1. History

Douglas Englebart invented the computer mouse in 1968 at the Stanford Research Institute in California. It was developped to interact with a graphical user interface with windows.
The company Xerox made a operating system with windows and a mouse at the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) in 1973.
The Apple Macintosh were the first computer sold with a windows system and a mouse in 1984.

2. Two Types of Mice

The first type is the mechanical mouse with a ball. In moving the mouse, you roll the ball and the ball rotates two little wheels for the horizontal and the vertical axis. The direction and length of the move is calculated out of the wheel rotation.
The second type is the optical mouse. A LED emits light to the ground and a small digital camera sensor scans it. The move can be determined by the differences of two following images. With this technic you don't need a mouse pad with a special grid, like with older models.
Simple mice have two buttons. Other mice have 3 or more buttons. You can control more different functions with it. Scroll wheels on some mice made it easier to read large documents on the screen.
Old mice were connected to computer by the serial interface (COM), newer by a PS/2 or USB interface. Some models don't have cables, they use infrared or radio.

3. Future

Like in today's computer games, the mouse is also used for three-dimensional worlds. But also 3D user interfaces are in development. I think, the normal mouse will look more and more like a joystick and other todays 3D controllers. This will change the design and technic of mice.


Contents Last Change: 29.05.2002
E-Mail: Stefan Ziegler