How Computer Mice Work

Mouse Innovations

As with many computer-related devices, mice are being combined with other gadgets and technologies to create improved and multipurpose devices. Examples include multi-media mice, combination mice/remote controls, gaming mice, biometric mice, tilting wheel mice and motion-based mice. To learn more about innovations in mouse technology, let's start with multi-media mice and combination mice/remote controls.

­Multi-Media Mouse and Combination Mouse/Remote


These types of mice are used with multimedia systems such as the Windows XP Media Center Edition computers. Some combine features of a mouse with additional buttons (such as play, pause, forward, back and volume) for controlling media. Others resemble a television/media player remote control with added features for mousing. Remote controls generally use infrared sensors but some use a combination of infrared and RF technology for greater range.

Gaming Mice

­ Gaming mice are high-precision, optical mice designed for use with PCs and game controllers. Features may include:

  • Multiple buttons for added flexibility and functions such as adjusting dpi rates on the fly
  • Wireless connectivity and an optical sensor
  • Motion feedback and two-way communication

Motion-Based Mice

Yet another innovation in mouse technology is motion-based control. With this feature, you control the mouse pointer by waving the mouse in the air.

The technology patented by one manufacturer, Gyration, incorporates miniature gyroscopes to track the motion of the mouse as you wave it in the air. It uses an electromagnetic transducer and sensors to detect rotation in two axes at the same time. The mouse operates on the principle of the Coriolis Effect, which is the apparent turning of an object that's moving in relation to another rotating object. The device and accompanying software converts the mouse movements into movements on the computer's screen. The mice also include an optical sensor for use on a desktop.