Mouse (computing) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Written by Admin, Published on June 26th, 2015

In computing, a mouse is a pointing device that detects two-dimensional motion relative to a surface. This motion is typically translated into the motion of a pointer on a display, which allows for fine control of a graphical user interface.

Physically, a mouse consists of an object held in one's hand, with one or more buttons. Mice often also feature other elements, such as touch surfaces and "wheels", which enable additional control and dimensional input.

The earliest known publication of the term mouse as a computer pointing device is in Bill English's 1965 publication "Computer-Aided Display Control".[1]

The online Oxford Dictionaries entry for mouse states the plural for the small rodent is mice, while the plural for the small computer connected device is either mice or mouses. However, in the use section of the entry it states that the more common plural is mice, and that the first recorded use of the term in the plural is mice as well[2] (though it cites a 1984 use of mice when there were actually several earlier ones, such as J. C. R. Licklider's "The Computer as a Communication Device" of 1968[3]). According to the fifth edition of The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language the plural can be either "mice" or "mouses".[4]

The trackball, a related pointing device, was invented in 1946 by Ralph Benjamin as part of a post-World War II-era fire-control radar plotting system called Comprehensive Display System (CDS). Benjamin was then working for the British Royal Navy Scientific Service. Benjamin's project used analog computers to calculate the future position of target aircraft based on several initial input points provided by a user with a joystick. Benjamin felt that a more elegant input device was needed and invented a ball tracker[5] called roller ball[6] for this purpose.

The device was patented in 1947,[6] but only a prototype using a metal ball rolling on two rubber-coated wheels was ever built[5] and the device was kept as a military secret.[5]

Another early trackball was built by British electrical engineer Kenyon Taylor in collaboration with Tom Cranston and Fred Longstaff. Taylor was part of the original Ferranti Canada, working on the Royal Canadian Navy's DATAR (Digital Automated Tracking and Resolving) system in 1952.[7]

DATAR was similar in concept to Benjamin's display. The trackball used four disks to pick up motion, two each for the X and Y directions. Several rollers provided mechanical support. When the ball was rolled, the pickup discs spun and contacts on their outer rim made periodic contact with wires, producing pulses of output with each movement of the ball. By counting the pulses, the physical movement of the ball could be determined. A digital computer calculated the tracks, and sent the resulting data to other ships in a task force using pulse-code modulation radio signals. This trackball used a standard Canadian five-pin bowling ball. It was not patented, as it was a secret military project as well.[8][9]

Independently, Douglas Engelbart at the Stanford Research Institute (now SRI International) invented his first mouse prototype in the 1960s with the assistance of his lead engineer Bill English.[10] They christened the device the mouse as early models had a cord attached to the rear part of the device looking like a tail and generally resembling the common mouse.[11] Engelbart never received any royalties for it, as his employer SRI held the patent, which ran out before it became widely used in personal computers.[12] The invention of the mouse was just a small part of Engelbart's much larger project, aimed at augmenting human intellect via the Augmentation Research Center.[13][14]

Several other experimental pointing-devices developed for Engelbart's oN-Line System (NLS) exploited different body movements for example, head-mounted devices attached to the chin or nose but ultimately the mouse won out because of its speed and convenience.[16] The first mouse, a bulky device (pictured) used two wheels perpendicular to each other: the rotation of each wheel translated into motion along one axis. At the time of the "Mother of All Demos", Englebart's group had been using their second generation, 3-button mouse for about a year. See the image of that mouse at Picture showing 2nd G mouse (A public domain version of this image would be nice.)

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Mouse (computing) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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