David Kirkpatrick

July 14, 2010

Cool computer technology — an invisible mouse

Via KurzweilAI.net — um, what’s to say here. This is just amazingly cool. Can’t say the tech is totally there from a user standpoint — one commenter mentioned the lag time would be disconcerting at this stage of technology — but the proof-of-concept is utterly amazing.

An invisible computer mouse

MIT Media Lab researchers have developed Mouseless, an invisible computer mouse that costs about $20 to build.

It uses an infrared (IR) laser beam and an infrared camera. The laser beam module creates a plane of IR laser just above the surface the computer sits on. The user cups their hand, and the laser beam lights up the hand that is in contact with the surface. The IR camera detects those bright IR blobs using computer vision. The change in the position and arrangements of these blobs are interpreted as mouse cursor movement and mouse clicks.

More info: Fluid Interfaces Group | MIT Media Lab

Here’s a video of the no-mouse mouse in action (feel free to ignore the attempt at cleverness with the Tom and Jerry cartoon intro.)

December 16, 2008

Happy 40th to the computer mouse

Filed under: Business, Technology — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:43 pm

An appreciation from CIO.com.

From the link:

Notable Moments in Mouse History

 

1963: Bill English constructs first mouse prototype based on Douglas Engelbart’s sketches. This mouse uses two perpendicular wheels attached to analog potentiometers to track movement. The first mouse has only one button, but more are to come.

1968: Douglas Engelbart gives a 90-minute demonstration on December 9 at the Fall Joint Computer Conference in San Francisco. Among other things, it showcases a refined SRI mouse with three buttons.

1972: Jack Hawley and Bill English, inspired by Engelbart’s work, design a digital mouse for Xerox PARC. This new mouse does not require an analog-to-digital converter but instead sends digital positional information directly to the computer. It also contains the first mouse ball, a metal ball bearing pressed against two rollers to track movement. A similar tracking design (albeit with a few drastic modifications), would be used in most mice for the next 27 years.