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A mouse is a small device that you use with your hand to control the movement of the cursor on a computer screen. It allows you to move and select folders, text, files and icons on your computer. You need to place it on a hard flat surface in order to use it. When you move the mouse, the cursor moves in the same direction on your screen. The name “mouse” comes from its small size and its shape resembling that of a mouse. The wire connecting the mouse can be visualized as its tail. Some mice also have additional buttons that can be programmed with various commands. The invention of the mouse is considered one of the most significant advancements in computing as it reduces reliance on keyboards.



What is a Mouse?

A mouse is a hand-held pointing device used with computers, allowing users to control the movement of a cursor on a screen. It typically has buttons for clicking and a scrolling wheel for navigation. Mice are essential for interacting with graphical user interfaces by moving the cursor and performing various actions.

Who Invented the Mouse?

The mouse was invented by Douglas Engelbart in 1963 while he was working at Xerox PARC. However, it wasn’t until later when Apple Lisa computer gained popularity that the mouse became widely used.
In the past, mice for computers were connected using cords or cables. However, modern mouse devices utilize optical technology, where cursor movements are controlled by a light beam that can be either visible or invisible. Nowadays, many models offer wireless connectivity options through different wireless technologies like Bluetooth and radio frequency. A mouse can perform various functions on a computer.

Parts of a Computer Mouse

Different components contribute to the smooth functioning of a computer mouse. Below, you will find a breakdown of these components and their respective functions;


In today’s era, most mice are equipped with two buttons; left and right. These buttons enable users to manipulate objects and text on the screen. In the past, computer mice typically had only one button. For example, early Apple computer mice were designed with just a single button. When a user clicks one of the mouse buttons, it communicates with the computer to execute an action on the screen. The left and right buttons allow users to provide distinct input to the computer by clicking either button. The configuration of your mouse driver determines how the computer interprets whether you clicked on the left or right button.

Ball, Laser or LED;

Mechanical mice employ a ball and rollers for tracking movement, while optical mice utilize lasers or LEDs. These components enable the mouse to track its movement in both horizontal (x axis) and vertical (y axis) directions and consequently move the cursor on your screen.
A circuit board is situated within the housing of a mouse and it serves to transmit various signals such as clicks and other user instructions. This board consists of electronic components like diodes, registers, capacitors and more. It receives input in the form of electronic signals whenever a user interacts with the mouse by clicking buttons or scrolling, among other actions.

Mouse Scroll Wheel

In today’s computer mice, there is an additional feature called the scroll wheel. This wheel allows you to smoothly navigate through your documents by scrolling them up or down.

Wired and Wireless Connectivity

When it comes to mice, you have two options; wired or wireless. A wired mouse connects to your computer using a cable and plug. On the other hand, a wireless mouse requires a USB receiver to receive signals wirelessly, which can be achieved through technologies like Bluetooth, Infrared or radio signals.

Microprocessor Functionality

Essential to the functioning of a mouse is its microprocessor. This component acts as the brain of the mouse and is responsible for enabling all other parts to work harmoniously together.

Additional Mouse Components

While some components mentioned earlier may not be necessary for laptop users, they are commonly found in desktop computers. For instance, laptops often incorporate touchpads that do not rely on balls, LEDs or lasers for tracking movement. Other extra features may include buttons placed conveniently on the side for easy thumb access, nubs (used primarily with laptop mice) and trackballs.
Different Mouse Types
When it comes to choosing a mouse for your computer setup, there are various types available. One of the most popular ones nowadays is the optical mouse used with desktop computers that connects via USB port – often referred to as a USB mouse.
The touchpad is the most commonly used type of mouse for laptops. Here is a list of different types of mice;
  1. Optical
  2. Joystick
  3. Mechanical
  4. Cordless (Wireless)
  5. Footmouse
  6. Touchpad (Glidepoint)
  7. Trackball
  8. TrackPoint
  9. J Mouse
  10. IntelliMouse (Wheel mouse)
  11. Laser Mouse
  1. Optical Mouse: Among these, the optical mouse stands out as an advanced computer pointing device, which was initially introduced by Microsoft on April 19, 1999.An optical mouse utilizes a laser or LEDs to track movement. It captures numerous microscopic snapshots of the working surface every second. Instead of relying on a rolling sphere, it detects movement by sensing changes in reflected light. The best part is, it doesn’t require any cleaning as it lacks moving parts.
Before Microsoft introduced their mouse in 1999, various companies and inventors had already invented optical mice. In the 1980s, both Steve Kirsch and Richard Lyon developed their own versions of an optical mouse, which required a special surface for proper functioning (to move the cursor).
All optical mice are available in both wireless and corded versions. These types of mice use optic technology to analyze movement.

How does an optical mouse work?

An optical mouse utilizes a tiny low resolution camera to capture over a thousand images per second. The camera’s sensor, known as CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor), sends signals to a digital signal processor (DSP).First, the digital signal processor (DSP) analyzes the patterns of all images and variations in light. After that, the mouse pointer moves across the screen.
  1. Joystick:  The joystick is an input device used to control a machine or symbol in a computer program. It functions similarly to a mouse, but unlike a mouse, when you stop moving the joystick, the cursor also stops.But when using a joystick, the pointer keeps moving continuously in the direction pointed by the joystick. To stop the pointer, you need to return the joystick to its upright position. Most joysticks have two buttons known as triggers.
In 1926, C.B. Mirick invented and patented the first joystick at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory. It was initially designed for remotely piloted aircraft and resembled the two axis electronic joysticks still in use today.
Currently, most joysticks connect to computers via USB ports. There are various types of ports that can be used to connect a joystick, such as Bluetooth, Serial Port, USB and Game port.
  1. Mechanical Mouse; This type of computer mouse is also known as a ball mouse. It features a rubber or metal ball on its underside that contains sensors. When a user moves the mouse in any direction, these sensors detect the movement and move the mouse pointer on screen accordingly. However, optical mice have replaced mechanical mice and became widely used for computer interaction in the 1980s.
Moreover, a mechanical mouse shares a similar shape and functionality, except instead of relying on a ball, it utilizes optical sensors for enhanced reliability.
  1. Cordless (wireless) Mouse: A cordless (wireless) mouse is an input device that connects to a computer without the need for any wires. Typically, mice come with cords to establish the connection with the computer.
Wireless technology gained popularity in the early 2000s and wireless mice began incorporating Bluetooth, infrared radio waves and radio frequency technology. Typically, a USB receiver is used to connect the computer with a wireless mouse. This receiver is plugged into the computer and receives signals from the wireless mouse.
The Logitech Metaphor was invented in 1984 as the first wireless mouse. Wireless mice require batteries to function, which can be AAA batteries, AA batteries or rechargeable options like Li ion or NiMH batteries. If a mouse is rechargeable, it needs a base station to charge the batteries. By the turn of the millennium, popular brands such as Logitech and Apple started manufacturing cordless mice using radio frequency (RF) and Bluetooth technology.
  1. Footmouse; It is a type of computer mouse that allows users to control the mouse pointer or cursor using their feet. The purpose behind developing this type of mouse was to enable users to keep their hands on the keyboard while using a mouse simultaneously. This means that users can use both keyboard and footmouse without interrupting their hand movements. The Hunter Digital company serves as an example of developing footmouse technology.
Moreover, it offers added advantages for individuals who have disabilities or those who experience discomfort in their neck or upper back regions.
  1. Touchpad; This is a smooth control surface, alternatively referred to as a glide point, glide pad, trackpad or pressure sensitive tablet. It allows users to navigate the cursor using their fingers.
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