What is Computer Mouse?

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types of computer mouse

A computer mouse is a hardware input device which controls the movement of the cursor on the computer screen. It allows users to select text, icons, files and folders on a computer. It is a hardware device which needs to put on a hard-flat surface to use. As you move the computer mouse, the cursor on the computer screen moves in the same direction. The computer mouse is called mouse because it is small in size, corded and elliptical shape device that looks a bit like mouse. A connecting wire of a mouse closely resembles a mouse’s tail. Moreover, some of the mouse has many other features like extra buttons, which may be assigned and programmed with commands.  A mouse is generally used to minimize the use of keyboard.

Invention of mouse

Douglas Engelbart invented the mouse in 1963 when he was working at Xerox PARC. But, due to the lack of success of Alto’s, the Apple Lisa computer widely used the first application of the mouse. Older mouse devices had connected wires or cables to connect to computer but modern computer mouse uses the optical technology, and visible or invisible light beam controls the cursor movements. Many models provide wireless connectivity features to connect through Bluetooth and radio frequency.

Uses of a Mouse

A mouse has various uses which are as follows:

  • Movement of cursor on computer screen: The primary focus of computer mouse is to move the mouse pointer / cursor on the screen in desired direction.
  • Select objects on screen: A mouse can be used to select the icons, folders, files, text and any other thing visible on the computer screen. For example, if you want to copy multiple text/files together then you can do and paste all of them in desired location.
  • Drag – and – drop: A computer mouse can be used for selecting the objects as well as to move the objects to any other location and this is called drag and drop function. In this function first you need to highlight the file or object that you want to move and then, move this file while pressing the mouse button and drop it on the desired location.
  • Open or execute the program: You can open a folder, file, icon or any other object by a computer mouse. You have to move the cursor to a file, icon, folder or the target object and then double click to open or execute it.
  • Hovering: When you move the cursor to any object that is called hovering.
  • Scroll up and down: If you want to view a very long document and wants the screen’s scroll bar to move up or down then you can do so by moving the mouse’s scroll button otherwise you can also click and drag the scroll bar by moving the mouse up or down.
  • Playing Game: A mouse provides users an option to play various games like chase games, in which a mouse is used to select any particular objects.
  • Open hyperlinks: A computer mouse can be used to click the hyperlinks and move to a new web page. Ctrl + Mouse click can be used for the hyperlink in new windows.

Parts of the Computer Mouse

There are different parts of a computer mouse which is used to work smoothly. The parts of the mouse are given below with their functions:

Buttons:   

Buttons on a mouse are used to send triggers to computer to perform an action such as selecting the file or move the cursor to a certain line in document etc. In the starting computers mouse included one button only but in modern computers mouse comes with two buttons, left and right. Using two buttons, user can input different commands or messages to the computer. The computer system understands the left or right clicks according to the configuration of mouse driver.

Circuit board:

Circuit board of a mouse contains the electronic components like diode, register, capacitor, etc. located inside the mouse chassis. These components work together to transmit the input from user to the computer system.  This input is in the form of electronic signals which are generated when user performs any action such as clicking the mouse buttons, scrolling etc.

Mouse wheel:

Modern computers also include a wheel that is used to scroll the visible large document page up or down.

Ball, laser, or LED:

Mouse can be mechanical or optical depending on the parts used in mouse to track the movement of mouse pointer on screen of the computer. A mechanical mouse uses a ball and rollers whereas an optical mouse uses Laser or LED to track position of mouse pointer on x-axis and y-axis direction on the screen.

Cable or Wireless Receiver:

A mouse can be attached to the computer using a cable or it can be wireless. When connected using a cable mouse has the cable with a plug that can be connected to a port in computer. If the mouse is wireless, then it needs a USB receiver to connect with the computer and receive signals from the mouse using Bluetooth, Infrared, or Radio signal and give the input to the computer.

Microprocessor:

Microprocessor is the brain of the mouse. It is embedded on the circuit board. Without the microprocessor all the components of the mouse are not able to work.

Touchpad/ Ball:

Laptops do not need some of the parts mentioned above. Laptops include a touchpad that does not use a LED, ball, or laser to track the movements of pointer. Some mouse may also include extra buttons located on thumb side of the mouse for additional commands or signal configured to laptops etc. In addition to this, a trackball mouse uses a ball instead of touchpad.

Types of Computer Mouse

There are different types of mouse according to the components used in it. Several such types of mouse can be listed as follows:

  • Optical Mouse: It is an advanced pointing device. It tracks movement by using a laser or light emitting diodes (LEDs). This type of mouse use optical technology for movement of cursor on the computer screen. An optical mouse can be both wireless and wired.
  • Joystick:  It is a hardware input device which can move in all directions and controls a machine or a symbol in a computer program. It is like a mouse, the cursor moves with the movement of joystick. Joystick is different than mouse in a sense that the cursor does not stop if you stop moving joystick, it will move continuously in the direction the joystick has pointed.  You need to return joystick to its upright position for stopping the pointer or you can also use triggers given on joystick.
  • Mechanical Mouse: It is also called as a ball mouse. It has a rubber or metal ball on its underside. It contains sensors, which senses the movement of the mouse and moves the pointer in the same direction. An optical mouse is replaced the mechanical mouse as you already know optical mouse uses optical technology to move the cursor which is more reliable.
  •  Cordless or Wireless Mouse: It is a type of computer mouse which connects to a computer without any wire. Basically, it contains cords to connect the computer. In early 2000s, the wireless technology became popular and started to include Bluetooth, infrared radio waves, and radio frequency technology. Generally, a USB receiver is used to connect the computer with a wireless mouse, which is plugged into the computer and accepts signals from the wireless mouse.
  • Footmouse: A user can control this kind of mouse with their feet. The reason behind developing this kind of mouse is to enable user to use the keyboard with their hand and mouse with their feet. It means user can use both mouse and keyboard at the same time without interrupting their hands with the feetmouse. It is especially for those people who are disabled.
  • Touchpad: It is a flat control surface, also known as a glide point, glide pad, trackpad, or pressure sensitive tablet. It is primarily found on laptops where user can move the cursor with his/her finger.
  • Trackball: It is a kind of mouse which includes a movable ball on the top that allow user to move the cursor in any direction. It is designed like an upside-down mouse, which needs less arm and wrist motion as compared to a regular mouse. Because, rather than moving the whole mouse, you are only required to roll the moveable ball until with your hand to generate motion input. Although trackballs are mainly used with computers, you can also find it in other electronics, like self-serve kiosks, mixing boards, and arcade games.

Wrap Up

A computer mouse is used to move the cursor in the computer screen, it can also be used to select, drag and drop, and open the files, folders, icons, pictures in the computer. There are several types of mouse available in the market such as optical mouse, joystick, touchpad, mechanical mouse, feetmouse etc. 

Any thoughts on why computer mouse is called mouse?

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