O'Reilly logo

PC Hardware in a Nutshell, Second Edition by Barbara Fritchman Thompson, Robert Bruce Thompson

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

Mouse Characteristics

Here are the important characteristics of mice and trackballs:

Mechanism

Mice are available that use the following mechanisms:

Mechanical

Mechanical mice use a rubber-coated ball that contacts the mouse pad. Moving the mouse causes the ball to move, which in turn causes one or both of the internal cylindrical rollers with which the ball is in contact to move. These two internal rollers are oriented at 90° to each other, which allows one to respond to horizontal mouse movement and the other to vertical mouse movement. Connected to the end of each roller is a wheel with many small notches around its circumference. As the wheel rotates, these notches alternately pass or block light from an LED aimed to impinge on a sensor. The rate at and duration for which the sensors see the light flickering correspond to how fast, how far, and in what direction the ball is moving. Most mice and all trackballs are mechanical. Modern mechanical mice are inexpensive and reliable, but require frequent cleaning.

Optical

Early mechanical mice provided limited resolution, were relatively unreliable, and required very frequent cleaning. Manufacturers addressed these problems by introducing optical mice, which substituted an optical sensor for the mouse ball. Reducing the number of moving parts greatly increased reliability. Because the optical mouse was a sealed unit, cleaning was needed much less often. The sole drawback was that the sensor of an optical mouse required a special mouse ...

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required