Computers and Technology

History of the Mouse

I know not that mouse today’s article is about the computer mouse and at first, you might not think there’s much history to discuss because he didn’t start becoming widespread on personal computers until the mid to late eighties.

But it turns out that the concept of using something other than those clunky arrow keys to move the cursor around predates the modern mouse by several decades.

I’m talking about the trackball which brings into existence all the way back in 1946, as part of a British navy project to help track aircraft on the radar this concept was later adopted by the Canadian navy, for their own tracking system which used a small 5-pin bowling ball of all things for the ball because presumably, they couldn’t get funding for a real 1.

Anyhoo these early implementations were rather crude with the ball placed on top of spinning metal disks that came into contact with wires but because of the U. K.

Also, check- Full Form Of Computer

Also, check- Full Forms

The idea of using a spinning or rolling object

Considered a military secret the idea of using a spinning or rolling object as a computer input device, wouldn’t end up being realized in the civilian world until years later when the first true mouse was invented in 1964 at Stanford University.

Now unlike modern mice which have total freedom of movement in 1 plane,

this early mouse only had 2 pizza cutter-looking wheels that allowed movement up and down or side to side. But not at the same time the inventors decided to call their creation a mouse because the wire sticking out of the end look like a romantic tale,

and they use it in conjunction with the MLS a DARPA-funded computer system that included clickable hyperlinks, remember this was nearly 30 years before the internet started becoming widespread. Soon after that, the most was picked up by Xerox who developed a personal computer called the Aalto,

in 1973 which used an ax interface complete with the most support and Xerox was actually also developing all nice. While they worked on the auto which would allow users to move the mouse in any direction they please this work by keeping the ball in contact with axles attached to wheels with holes in them, as the most moved the axles would turn the wheels causing beams of light to repeatedly break into pulses. Which hit sensors that registered which way the mouse is moving this design revolutionized the way we interact with our computers but Xerox was, and still is a company that’s focused on producing products for business rather than home use.

Xerox’s technology

Meaning that the most weren’t very well known until Apple came along and made a deal with Xerox to give them partial ownership of apple, in return for the use of Xerox’s technology and then popularized the device with the original Macintosh in 1984.

Even though Xerox had already switched to ball nicely and Microsoft was already selling them for use, with word processors, no doubt apple’s clever marketing played a role in pushing a pre-existing technology into the mainstream consciousness. Some things never do change and I write anyway aside from changes in ergonomics which gave mice a shape more suited to the hands, then that original plastic brick form the basic way that they worked didn’t really change between the mid-eighties.

In the mid-nineties well we did get laptops with those little knob-style pointing sticks, and the first trackpads in the interim so users of external mice had to wait until 1966 for the first widespread mouse with a scroll wheel. Even though that concept has actually realized back in 1985 with the money mouse featuring a wheel on the side. Instead of the top that you control with your son.

Mouse featuring a wheel on the side

Then the late nineties also brought an even bigger sea change in optical mice like the scroll wheel mouse the optical mouse was first developed long. Before it hit the market in fact early versions that used specific tracking surfaces were actually invented back in 1980.

When even though all mice were relatively unknown but the development of optical mice that could work with generic surfaces, Like mouse pads, table tops or your pants didn’t happen until much later and it also took a while for component costs to come down to the point.

Where they were cheap enough to mass-produce when they finally did appear on the consumer market in 1999 optical mice were still expensive but some of Microsoft’s. Early offerings retailed for around 70 US dollars, in fact, the first-ever gaming mouse the Razer boom slang also launched in 1999 but that 1 still used a mechanical ball.

The other sides to optical mice included not only more accurate tracking them with a ball mouse. But also better reliability of the optical sensors which work by taking many photos of the surface of the mouse sat on every second.

Mouse balls and degraded performance

Then sending them to a chip that would process those images to detect movement was much more resistant to the dirt and gunk that all too often the old up mouse balls, and degraded performance later in 2004 Logitech released a frickin laser mouse which would not only encourage reading. But also support even more accurate tracking thanks to the use of a laser beam that could see surfaces, under the mouse with more precision than standard LEDs.

This was a boon for more serious PC gamers that wanted the more granular tracking during the heat of battle. Other significant advances in mouse technology began to be driven by gamers over the coming years,

such as more powerful processors inside the mice themselves.

So they could scan surfaces and process movement more frequently and allow users to adjust the sensitivity of the mouse on the fly for situations, that require precise aiming like we’ve seen with the ever-popular sniper button. Now there have been other improvements to mice in recent years but they mostly come in the form of adding more general technologies to mice to make them more versatile like replacing the PS 2 with U. S. B.


You can learn about here implementing scroll wheels that can switch between smooth, or clicky operation adding wireless data and even charging support peppering, them with programmable macro buttons adding the ability to track glass by scanning for small scratches and dust particles. And of course, covering them with the so important RGB lighting that you know that you crave.

So today then it’s been a long time since Doug Engelbart and Bill English gave us their original wooden box on wheels. But the simplicity and intuitive nous of the mouse have ensured its continuation as an extremely important,

input device even in the age of touchscreens and voice control. maybe it’ll finally be usurped by the development of something like a neural interface but by that time will probably be dealing with a whole new set of problems.

Read more here.

Ashish Lavania

I am a blogger and love to write top-class content.

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