1. Computer Mouse Information
Computer Mouse Version One – The Original
The computer mouse as we know it today was first built by inventor and technology visionary, Douglas Engelbart with the help of a fellow inventor, Bill English in 1963. According to history, Douglas Engelbart conceived the idea of a computer mouse while attending a conference on computer graphics. Back then, computers were given a series of commands in order to process instructions.
The conference was held at the Stanford Research Institute in Menlo Park, California. This event was attended by more than 1,000 professionals and it helped to introduce a lot of new technologies to the computing world such as the hypertext, dynamic file linking, and object addressing among others.
After the conference, Douglas Engelbart thought to himself that there must be an easier way of interacting with a computer now that computer graphics will be a thing. Working with his fellow inventor, Bill English, he was able to come up with a new concept – a device that had the capability of linking with the computer and allowing users to control the cursor displayed on the monitor.
The first computer mouse had two wheels allowing it to move either horizontally or vertically on a flat horizontal surface. To enable the user to control the cursor on the screen, the new device was linked to the computer monitor via a cable.
Working with his fellow inventor, Bill English, Douglas Engelbart built a prototype computer mouse using wood. The wood was handcrafted with a button on the top to allow computer users to open, close or perform other actions using the mouse.
After designing the prototype, Engelbart via his company filed for a patent on the computer mouse. In the paperwork, he identified the device as follows “x, y position indicator.” After filing the patent in 1967, it was awarded to him in 1970.
Sadly, he never benefited from royalties associated with the later development and sale of the computer mouse because his patent expired. The good news is that he went on to contribute to other technologies thus fast-tracking what we have today.
Computer Mouse Version Two – The Tracking Ball
After helping in the designing and development of the first mouse, Bill English went on to build the tracking ball mouse in 1972. This new version did not have two wheels like the first version. Instead, it had a tracking ball which was able to control the cursor on the computer monitor by rotating the ball from a fixed position.
The first version of the trackball mouse was not easy to use. The cable or tail came out of the top which got tangled as the user moved the mouse. Later on, modifications were made to the computer mouse and now, the cable was fitted in the right position as we know it today.
Computer Mouse Version Three – The Optics Model
Built by Steven Kirsch, the optic model used light instead of a tracking ball. When positioned on a horizontal flat surface, it was able to track the hand movement of the user and replicate it on the computer screen.
Unlike the trackball mouse which was able to gather dust as the ball rotated on the surface leading to dirt getting stuck inside the sensitive electronics, the optic model prevented this. To ensure a better response, a mouse pad was needed.
Just before the start of the new millennium, the trackball computer mouse was finally replaced by the OPIC LED design made by Microsoft and unlike the one created by Steven Kirsch in 1981 which required a mouse pad to operate well; this new model did not require a mouse pad.
The first mouse to have a USB interface was also created in 1999 marking an important milestone in the development of the computer mouse.
2. Which are the first computers to use a mouse?
The Xerox Alto was the first computer to have a mouse. This model was sold in 1973. Later on, a team from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology located in Zurich loved the concept of a computer with a mouse and decided to build their own. Their version was sold between 1978 to 1980 and was called the Lilith computer.
Afterward, Xerox followed with another version after the successful sale of the first version – Xerox Alto. The new computer with a mouse was called the Xerox 8010 Star Information System. It featured email functionality and Ethernet networking among other technologies. As a result, users could connect to a network and be able to share files and perform other activities. It came with a keyboard the size of a toaster, a graphical user interface and icons. With the new mouse, users could now be able to click an icon, open a folder and share documents via a file server.
Despite the early adoption of the computer mouse by the first computers, it was not until 1983 when the computer mouse became a trend. In the same year, Microsoft upgraded its operating system – the MS-DOS – to include a word processing application we have come to use a lot even today. That application is the Microsoft Word.
Since the new version was made to be mouse compatible, the operating system was now available in the first PCs sold to homeowners.
Afterward, other computer manufacturers such as Commodore, Apple, and Atari began designing their computers with a mouse.
For a glimpse at the early computer mouse and later models, use the following resource: The Evolution of the Computer Mouse.
Today, the computer mouse has advanced to include wireless models that can be used a few feet from the computer. For laptops and notebooks, users can use the tracking pad while on the move or an ergonomic mouse
Sadly, the invention and popularity of touch-enabled devices have been touted to be the cause of the death of the computer mouse in 5 years to 10 years from the date of writing this article or is it?
3. What is the function of a computer mouse?
A computer mouse is capable of several functions namely:
- Execute an application – this can be achieved by double-clicking an application icon or via the start menu
- Open and close a folder – allows users to double-click to open a folder and single click on the [x] symbol to close.
- Highlight – users can highlight a sentence or single word in a word processing application. They can also select multiple files.
- Drag and drop files into the folder or file server
- Scroll using the mouse wheel – users can scroll up and down the computer monitor or application
- In gaming, it’s used to control characters and perform other functions like shooting or aiming
4. The computer mouse system
A vast majority of modern optical mice come with a single LED while other comes with two. The LED is mounted on the bottom of the mouse and when placed on a flat surface, the light bounces back from the surface into a photocell. The photocell is mounted in the mouse and is composed of a lens which helps to magnify the reflected light. As a result, the mouse is able to respond to the hand movements of the user. The mouse has a chip which recognizes the pattern of reflected light changes thus figuring out the direction of your hand. An optical mouse also comes with a wheel whose movements are processed by the chip. For the left and right mouse button, micro switches detect when one presses the buttons and the chip processes the commands accordingly. Instructions are conveyed to the computer via a USB cable.
5. Common computer mouse types
In the early 90s, the computer mouse was connected to the computer via a PS/2 port. Today, the optical mouse is connected to the computer via a USB port. The first version of a USB computer mouse was designed by Apple, Inc. Unlike the trackball mouse where the x and y wheels were controlled by a trackball, the optical mouse relies on the light. This made it easier to operate the mouse without the need for a mouse pad.
A wired computer mouse especially one with a USB does not need a special application to work with any computer because it’s plug and play.
The wireless mouse can be connected to any computer without the need for cables. This type of mouse has become very popular among gamers since it provides room for moving. For this mouse to connect with a computer, it comes with a USB wireless module which must be inserted in the USB port.
There are models which require the installation of special software to ensure communication with the device is seamless. Since the mouse itself is optical, it can be used without a mouse pad. Today, there are laptops that come with infrared ports which enable the use of a wireless mouse without the need of the USB module.
A vast majority of travelers love working while on the move. For those who prefer to work on their laptops, they usually rely on the tracking pad that comes standard with all laptops. Just as the name suggests, the tracking pad is pressure and touch sensitive. A circuit has been embedded beneath the cover and works by detecting the touch of the finger.
As a result, the chip will read the movement and mimic it on the computer monitor via the cursor which means, users can now perform the same functions as if they were using a traditional mouse. Two buttons – left and right are made available just below the tracking pad.
Using the traditional computer mouse for several hours in front of the computer can have a detrimental effect on your wrist. To eliminate such problems, it’s wise to use a computer mouse that offers better support. This means you need to buy an ergonomic mouse. Unlike the traditional mouse, it comes in a design that eliminates the strain common among people who use the mouse for a long period.
While a lot of gamers have come to love the wireless computer mouse for its flexibility, several companies have designed computer mice specifically for gamers like Logitech. Unlike the traditional mouse that comes with two buttons, the gaming mouse is fitted with two additional or more buttons.
These buttons are usually fitted on the left side of the mouse where the gamer can easily access them. Other gaming mice designed for certain games have special buttons fitted for performing specific tasks in the game.
6. Best and famous computer mouse brands
In 2009, Amazon launched an in-house brand called Amazon Basics. The new brand became a way for Amazons to not only sell its branded products but at a lower cost than products from other manufacturers. Today, it has over 1,500 products listed on Amazon basics that range from cables, mouse and plugs among others.
If you are in search of a wireless mouse, the Amazon Basics Wireless mouse that comes with a nano receiver is the best for you.
As a renowned Swiss provider of mobile and PC accessories, Logitech was founded in 1981 by Pierluigi Zappacosta, Giacomo Marini and Daniel Borel. The first mouse to be made by Logitech was in Le Lieu. Later on, manufacturing plants were established in Hungary, Ireland, USA and Taiwan before being moved to China specifically, Suzhou. In 2008, the company announced that it had manufactured over 1 billion computer mice since 1985. The company is also renowned for pioneering the manufacture of the gaming mice.
Top 3 Logitech mice include:
Founded by Steven Yang in 2011, Anker is a brand of Oceanwing and renowned for manufacturing power banks and mobile charging cables. Named after the German word for the anchor, the company has more than 24 million users.
Top 3 Anker mice include
Founded in 2012, VicTsing Technology Ltd is renowned for manufacturing and supplying home appliance and consumer electronic products. This includes mobile accessories, audio and humidifiers. Its mission has been to provide innovative and practical products with competitive price. As one of the world’s favorite brand, the company boasts of $75 million in annual sales.
VicTsing best mice includes:
The company was founded in 1976 by Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs, and Ronald Wayne. Its first product was the Apple I which was built by Wozniak. The computer had a motherboard that included a CPU, RAM, and basic text-video chips. The Apple II was built in 1977 by Steve Wozniak and had an open architecture but lacked a mouse. Apple built the Macintosh in 1984 which featured a graphical interface. As a result, it came with a mouse. Today, the company is renowned for its MacBook laptops, iPhones and iTunes among others.
Since Apple manufactures its own devices, it sells the Apple iMac and other products together with the Magic Mouse 2.
The company was founded in 2005 and since then, it has grown to be a global brand and award-winning hardware manufacturer – gaming peripherals and laptops among others. It has a global footprint with 9 offices spread around the world. Currently headquartered in San Francisco, the company has built the world’s best gamer-centric ecosystem.
Its top 3 mice include:
Razer DeathAdder Elite – Chroma Enabled RGB Ergonomic Gaming Mouse
Founded in 1935 by David Packard and William Hewlett both graduates of Stanford University with engineering degrees, HP’s first establishment was in a garage located in Palo Alto. They started the company with an initial capital of $538 and in 1939, they formalized their partnership. This was followed by the incorporation of the company in 1947 before going public a decade later. Its first product was a precision audio oscillator before moving to personal computer and accessories in the 70s which has remained its product line until today.
Its top 3 mice include:
Started by childhood friends, Bill Gates and Paul Allen, Microsoft was founded in 1975 with Gates as the CEO. The company entered in the operating system business with its first product, the XENIX but it was MSDOS which made the company popular during its early years. Today, the company is renowned for its Windows operating system, Xbox gaming console, Surface devices, Outlook.com and HoloLens among others.
Top 3 Microsoft mice include:
Founded in 1994 by Don Lieberman, John Beekly and Andy Paul, the company was first named Corsair Microsystems. It first started by developing Level 2 cache modules for OEMs before changing its focus to DRAM modules and today, it produces computer cases, usb flash drives, solid state drives and computer mice.
Top 3 Corsair mice include:
Having been founded over 35 years ago, Kensington is renowned for manufacturing IT products – from security to desktop and mobile products. The company is currently headquartered in San Mateo, California. Its products have empowered people to be creative and productive in different sectors.
Top 3 Kensington mice
As a consumer electronics company, Belkin was founded in 1983 by Chet Pipkin. In 2013, it was acquired by Cisco Systems. Over the years, it has been a leading manufacturer of wireless charging pads, cables, charge dock stations, routers and PC accessories.
The Best Belkin computer mouse is the Wired USB Ergonomic Mouse.
Founded by Stan Shih, his wife Carolyn Yeh and other people in 1976, the company was started with a capital of $25,000. It started out as a primary distributor of electronic components as well as being a consultant on the use of microprocessors. Today, it’s renowned for being a PC vendor and producer plus a producer of wearable devices and other gadgets.
- Wireless Optical Mouse, Black
The company was formed in 2001 and since then, it has worked towards meeting the needs of hardcore gamers. It started by introducing a glass mousepad called the Icemat before introducing the first gaming keyboard, headset, and mouse among other innovation.
Today, it continues to build products that push professional gaming further.
Top 3 Steel Series Mice