How can I improve my mouse technique?

Computer mouse

The computer mouse is an input or control device for operating software. In December 1968, the computer mouse was first demonstrated as a pointing device by engineer Doug Engelbart of the Stanford Research Institute at a conference in San Francisco. To this day, the computer mouse is used to operate the graphical user interface of a computer. Only the touch-sensitive surface of a touchscreen is now more popular.

The computer mouse consists of a housing the size of a cigarette packet, a connection cable (or radio unit), several buttons and usually a scroll wheel. The computer mouse is used to control the virtual pointer (cursor) that is displayed on the computer screen. The buttons are used to perform actions based on the position of the pointer on the screen. And with the scroll wheel you can move the content of windows vertically.

Mobile computers, such as notebooks, can do without a mouse. A touch-sensitive surface with which the mouse pointer can be moved is attached below the keyboard. This is different with tablet PCs or tablets. Here the entire screen surface is touch-sensitive. The graphical user interface is operated with the finger on the so-called touchscreen.

Mouse interfaces

PS / 2 connectionUSB connection

The mouse is connected to the computer via a connection cable. The connection type is serial (COM), PS / 2 or USB. Sometimes it is also cordless and transmits its signals by radio. A receiver is connected to the PS / 2 or USB here. But there are also Bluetooth wireless mice.


real mouse

Three button mouse

Mouse with scroll wheel

optical mouse

Mouse with trackball

Mechanical mouse

The central element of a mechanical mouse is a ball that protrudes from the underside. If the mouse is moved over a flat surface, the ball rotates with it. Inside the mouse there are two rollers that are arranged at a 90-degree angle to each other. These rollers touch the ball and rotate with every movement. A role reacts to the lateral movements from the left or right. The other role reacts to the movements from above or below. At the end of each roll there are wheels with metallic spokes. Two metal contacts are attached to each of the spokes and generate electrical signals with every movement. The direction of movement, speed and distance are determined from the signals.
In another type of mechanical mouse, the ball drives small shafts to which perforated disks are attached. The direction of rotation of the perforated disks is queried by light barriers. Here, too, electrical signals are generated and direction, speed and distance are determined.
In the computer, the information for the movement of the pointer (cursor) is converted on the screen. Pressing the mouse buttons also triggers signals that are sent to the computer. Depending on the location of the pointer and the number of keystrokes (mouse clicks), an action is carried out.
The mechanical mouse has a significant disadvantage. The ball transports dirt inside, which causes deposits to form on the shafts. They have to be removed regularly, otherwise the cursor jerks when using the mouse. However, mechanical computer mice are no longer used.


The trackball is a mouse replacement and, in principle, an inverted mechanical mouse. Instead of the bottom, the trackball's ball protrudes from the top of the housing. The ball is significantly larger and can be moved with your thumb or fingers. The case itself remains on the table. It is not moved. This is a great advantage when there is little space required.

Optical mouse with standard LED

The first variant of an optical mouse was an absolute innovation. The proportion of mechanics decreased compared to the mechanical mouse. The ball and the shafts of the mechanical mouse have always caused problems.
Compared to the mechanical mouse, the optical mouse is maintenance-free. At the point where the ball sits in the mechanical mouse, there is a red light-emitting diode and a phototransistor (sensor) in the optical mouse.

With the help of these two components, the mouse scans a grid on the surface. The mouse recognizes the direction of movement and the speed of movement. This information is sent to the computer.
However, the sensor can hardly measure differences in movement on very smooth, bright or reflective surfaces. The motion detection does not work properly here. The mouse pointer wobbles and then trembles uncontrollably on the screen. But the electronics in optical mice got better and better and more energy efficient over the years. The use of optical mice is absolutely problem-free today.

Optical mouse with laser diode

Highly reflective surfaces such as marble and glass have always been a problem for optical scanning electronics. Therefore, all further developments are aimed at increasing the precision and improving the optics in such a way that more surfaces are possible without any problems.
With a laser diode, the precision was considerably improved. An angled sensor records the light reflected from the surface directly. But clear glass and mirrors are still a problem for this technology.

Optical mouse with BlueTrack from Microsoft

To improve precision even further, Microsoft developed a technique called BlueTrack. As the name suggests, the higher precision comes from a wide-spread blue LED. In addition, BlueTrack works with improved optics and revised image processing.
With BlueTrack, the mice also work on marble, grained wood and even carpeted floors.

Optical mouse with Darkfield from Logitech

As a specialist in mice, keyboards and joysticks, Logitech is at the forefront with its Darkfield technology. This technique can handle practically all surfaces. Also with glass plates and reflective surfaces. The technology behind it is known from dark field microscopy. The name Darkfield is derived from this. The trick was to shrink this technique to the size of a mouse.
And this is how it works: Two differently polarized LEDs in the infrared range (850 nm) shine at a common point with a slight offset. This point is recorded by an overlying sensor. A filter in front of the sensor only lets through the infrared frequency. The second LED is only switched on when required.
There are still a few restrictions, however. The glass plates must be at least 4 mm thick. And if the glass is cleaned too cleanly, the sensor cannot see enough details. You can remedy this by wiping your hand over the surface. Fat fingers do not look good, but the sensor can handle the better surface prepared in this way.

Other related topics:

Everything you need to know about computer technology.

Computer technology primer

The computer technology primer is a book about the basics of computer technology, processor technology, semiconductor memory, interfaces, data storage devices, drives and important hardware components.

I want that!

Everything you need to know about computer technology.

Computer technology primer

The computer technology primer is a book about the basics of computer technology, processor technology, semiconductor memory, interfaces, data storage devices, drives and important hardware components.

I want that!