In relation to computing, a mouse is a pointing device that operates by detecting two-dimensional motion that is relative to the surface that supports it. Typically a mouse is an object held under the user’s hand. It may have one or more buttons or wheels which allow the user to perform operations or other features that provide more control or dimensional input. The mouse’s motion generally translates into the motion of a cursor on a display.

The first mouse prototype was invented in 1963 by Douglas Engelbart. As time went on, several other experimental pointing devices were developed for Engelbart’s Online System. The first mouse was a rather bulky device that used two gear-wheels perpendicular to each other. The rotation of each wheel translated into motion along an axis. Simultaneously, the German company Telefunken had developed and published its own mouse. Over time, the models have changed and developed with technology.

There are several different types of mice. Mechanical mice resemble an inverted trackball and became the dominant form used with personal computers. It replaced the external wheels with a ball that could swivel in any direction. Perpendicular chopper wheels housed inside the mouse’s body sliced beams of light on the way to light sensors to detect the motion of the ball. It also has two freely rotating rollers to detect forward”“backward motion and left”“right motion. The ball inside the mouse has a steel interior with a spherical rubber exterior. Analog mice use potentiometers instead of encoder wheels and are usually designed to be plug-compatible with an analog joystick. An optical mouse uses a light-emitting diode and photodiodes to track movement relative to the surface below, rather than moving some of its parts as in a mechanical mouse. Inertial and gyroscopic mice do not require a surface to operate. Instead, they use a tuning fork to detect movement. They also consume less power than optical mice, and offer heightened sensitivity, reduced weight and easier use. Three dimensional mice usually operate through ultrasound and provide at least three degrees of freedom. It is tracked in three dimensions by a base station. However, it was ultimately discontinued because it did not provide sufficient resolution. Tactile mice contain small actuators that make the mouse vibrate. It has the ability to augment user-interfaces with haptic feedback. Finally, cordless and wireless mice transmit data via infrared radiation. The receiver is connected to the computer via USB.

While there are many different kinds of mice, they all generally follow a basic operation method. A mouse controls the motion of a cursor in two dimensions in a graphical user interface. Clicking or hovering can select files and icons to open them or perform an alternate action. The drag-and-drop method allows users to move icons. It consists of the user pressing the mouse button while the mouse cursor hovers over an object. Then, still holding the button, the user moves the cursor to a different location, and releases the button, therefore relocating the item.

Mouse buttons are microswitches that can be clicked in order to select or interact with an element of a graphical user interface. The three-button scrollmouse has become the most commonly available design. Generally, users utilize the second button to bring up a contextual menu in the computer’s software that contains options customized to the specific interface element.

Mouse speed and sensitivity are generally measured in terms of counts per inch. The CPI depends on how the mouse is designed; the higher the CPI, the faster the cursor moves with mouse movement. However, software can alter the mouse sensitivity, thus making the cursor move faster or slower than its CPI. Basically, when the mouse starts to move, the software will reckon the number of counts received from the mouse and will move the cursor across the screen by that number of pixels.

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