Posts with «mouse» label

Custom Mouse-Making: Clay Is the Way

For something that many of us handle all day long, it sure would be nice if mice came in more sizes and shapes, wouldn’t it? Until that day, we’ll just have to find something passable or else design and build a custom-shaped mouse from scratch like [Ben Makes Everything] did.

First, [Ben] played around with some modelling clay until he had a shape he was happy with, then took a bunch of pictures of it mounted on a piece of wood for easy manipulation and used photogrammetry to scan it in for printing after cleaning it up in Blender. About six versions later, he had the final one and was ready to move on to electronics.

That’s right, this isn’t just mouse guts in an ergonomic package. Inside is Arduino Pro Micro and a PMW 3389 optical sensor on a breakout board. [Ben] was going to use flexible 3D printed panels as mouse buttons, but then had an epiphany — why not use keyboard switches and keycaps instead? He also figured he could have two buttons per finger if he wanted, so he went with Kailh reds for the fingers and and whites in the thumb.

Speaking of the thumb, there was no room for a mouse wheel in between those comparatively huge switches, so he moved it to the the side to be thumb-operated. [Ben] got everything working, and after all this, decided to make it wireless. So he switched to an Adafruit Feather S3 and designed his first PCB for both versions. Ultimately, he found that the wireless version is kind of unreliable, so he is sticking with the wired one for now.

Via Hackster

Latency Meter For Accurate Gaming

The gaming world experienced a bit of a resurgence in 2020 that is still seen in the present day. Even putting aside the effects from the pandemic, the affordability and accessibility has arguably never been better. Building a gaming PC can have its downsides, though, and a challenging issue to troubleshoot is input lag or input latency. This is something that’s best measured with standalone hardware, and if this is an issue on your setup you may want to take a look at this latency meter.

Unlike other measurement devices that use the time between a mouse button input and the monitor’s display of a bullet or shooting event, this one looks at mouse movement and the change in the scene instead. This makes it much more versatile than other methods since it’s independent of specific actions, and can be used in any game without any specific events needed to perform the measurement. A camera is placed on the monitor’s top edge and the Arduino-based device sends mouse commands to the computer while measuring the time between those commands and the shift in the image on the monitor.

The project is open source, so with the right hardware it’s possible to build one to troubleshoot latency issues or just to learn more about a particular hardware configuration’s behavior. Arduinos and other microcontrollers have been doing all kinds of things by pretending to be human interface devices like this for a while now. One of our favorites of late was this effects pedal that replicates musical effects on mice and keyboards.

Mechanical Keyboard Is Also a Mouse

The mechanical keyboard community is a vibrant, if not fanatical, group of enthusiasts determined to find as many possible ways of assembling, building, and using as many high-quality keyboards as possible. With so many dedicated participants, most things that can be done with a keyboard already have been done. So when something as unique as this split keyboard that also doubles as a mouse pops up, we take notice.

The keyboard is a custom build from [Taliyah Huang] which uses a pair of Arduinos, one in each half of the keyboard, to communicate key and mouse information to a third Arduino which is plugged in to her laptop. The right-hand half of the keyboard also includes the circuitry from an optical mouse, which gets powered up when the caps lock button is held down. When activated, this allows the keyboard to be used as a mouse directly. It also includes support for most Mac gestures as well, making it just as useful as a trackpad.

While there were some problems with the design, including being slightly too tall to be ergonomic and taking nearly 24 hours of soldering to complete, the prototype device is an interesting one especially since it allows for full control of a computer without needing a dedicated mouse. For other unique mechanical keyboard concepts, we recently featured this build which takes design and functionality cues from the Commodore 64.

Mouse Enjoys Its Freedom

Although it took a little while to standardize on the two-button-with-scroll-wheel setup, most computers have used a mouse or mouse-like device to point at objects on the screen since the 80s. But beyond the standard “point and click” features of the mouse, there have been very few ground-breaking innovations beyond creature comforts. At least, until the “Space Mushroom” mouse from [Shinsaku Hiura] hit our tips line.

This mouse throws away most of the features a typical mouse might have in favor of a joystick-like interface that gives it six degrees of freedom instead of the usual two — while still being about mouse-sized and held in the hand. It doesn’t even have a way of mapping motion directly to movements on the screen. Instead, it maps each degree of freedom to a similar movement of the mouse itself using these three joystick sensors physically linked together, with some underlying programming to translate each movement into the expected movement on the screen.

While this might not replace a standard mouse for every use case anytime soon, it does seem to have tremendous benefit in 3D modeling software, CAD, or anything where orienting a virtual object is the primary goal. Plus, since there’s no limit to the number of mice that can be attached to a computer (beyond USB limitations) this mouse could easily be used in conjunction with a normal mouse much like macro keyboards being used alongside traditional ones.

Thanks to [Rez] for the tip!

Accessible Arduino Mouse Helps

We enjoy access to cheap stuff because of the mass market for things like mice, keyboards, and cell phones. But if you need a device that doesn’t have mass appeal, you will have to pay a lot more if you can find it at all. However, with modern techniques like 3D printing and Arduino-like microcontrollers being cheap and simple to use, you now have the option to build that special one-of-a-kind device. Case in point: [Davy’s] mouse for people who have brain or nervous system disorders. This particular device is helping a 6-year-old who can’t manipulate a normal mouse.

The device uses an Arduino Pro and an MPU-6050 accelerometer and gyroscope. The original design uses machined aluminum, but 3D printing should work, too. There’s something wrong with the link to the design files in the post, but it is easy to find the correct link.

If you do 3D print a similar enclosure, you might consider using heat-set threaded inserts instead of tapping the holes. They work great, are easy to install, and seem to be a bit more robust than trying to thread plastic. Then again, threaded plastic isn’t as bad as you might think.

There are, of course, many ways you could make this work, and besides, every special user will be a little different. But what a great feeling to help someone be able to do what most people take for granted.

This Old Mouse: Building a USB Adapter for a Vintage Depraz Mouse

When [John Floren] obtained a vintage Depraz mouse, he started out being content to just have such a great piece of history in his possession. But if you’re like him, you know it’s not enough to just have something. What would it be like to use it?

To find out, [John] embarked on a mission to build a USB adapter for his not so new peripheral.
Originally used in very early terminals with a Unix GUI, the Depraz mouse utilizes an unusual male DE9 connector rather than the more familiar female DB9 used in RS232 serial mice. Further deviating from the norm, he found that the quadrature encoders were connected directly to the DE9 connector.

Armed with an Arduino Pro Mini and some buggy sample code, he got to work. The aforementioned buggy code was scrapped and a fresh sketch for the Arduino Pro Mini gave the Depraz mouse the USB interface it lacked. [John] also found that he wasn’t the first hardware hacker to have modified the mouse for their use. Be sure to read to the end the article to find out about the vintage surprise lurking in the mouse shell itself! A demonstration of the mouse in action can be seen in the video below the break.

Looking for a fun mouse hack? Perhaps you’d like to use your more modern USB mouse on a retro computer, or try your hand at recreating an early Apple mouse for use in modern computers.

MIDI Mouse Makes Marvelous Music

It’s an old misconception that digital musicians just use a mouse and keyboard for their art. This is often far from the truth, as many computer music artists have a wide variety of keyboards/synths, MIDI controllers, and “analog” instruments that all get used in their creative process. But what if one of those instruments was just a mouse?

Well, that must have been what was going through [kzra]’s mind when he turned an old ps/2 roller ball mouse into an electronic instrument. Born out of a love for music and a hate for waste, the mouse is a fully functional MIDI controller. Note pitch is mapped to the x-coordinate of the pointer, and volume (known as velocity, in MIDI-speak) is mapped to the y-coordinate. The scroll wheel can be used as a mod wheel, user-configurable but most often used to vary the note’s pitch. The mouse buttons are used to play notes, and can behave slightly differently depending on the mode the instrument is set to.

Not satisfied with simply outputting MIDI notes, [kzra] also designed an intuitive user interface to go along with the mouse. A nice little OLED displays the mode, volume, note, and mouse coordinates, and an 8×8 LED matrix also indicates the note and volume. It’s a fantastic and versatile little instrument, and you’ve gotta check out the video after the break to see it for yourself. We’ve seen some awesome retro-tech MIDI controllers before, and this fits right in.

Thanks to [midierror] for the tip!

Hack a Day 18 Jul 18:00

Control a Motor With a Touchpad

There are a surprising wealth of parts inside of old laptops that can be easily scavenged, but often these proprietary tidbits of electronics will need a substantial amount of work to make them useful again. Obviously things such as hard drives and memory can easily be used again, but it’s also possible to get things like screens or batteries to work with other devices with some effort. Now, there’s also a way to reuse the trackpad as well.

This build uses a PS/2 touchpad with a Synaptics chip in it, which integrates pretty smoothly with an Arduino after a few pins on the touchpad are soldered to. Most of the work is done on the touchpad’s built in chip, so once the Arduino receives the input from the touchpad it’s free to do virtually anything with it. In this case, [Kushagra] used it to operate a stepper motor in a few different implementations.

If you have this type of touchpad lying around, all of the code and schematics to make it useful again are available on the project page. An old laptop in the parts bin is sure to have a lot of uses even after you take the screen off, but don’t forget that your old beige PS/2 mouse from 1995 is sure to have some uses like this as well.

Hack a Day 11 Jun 06:00

Turning A Car Into A Computer Mouse

[William Osman] and [Simone Giertz] have graced our pages before, both with weird, wacky and wonderful hacks so it’s no surprise that when they got together they did so to turn Simone’s car into a computer mouse. It’s trickier than you might think.

They started by replacing the lens of an optical mouse with a lens normally used for a security camera. Surprisingly, when mounted to the car’s front bumper it worked! But it wasn’t ideal. The problem lies in that to move a mouse cursor sideways you have to move the mouse sideways. However, cars don’t move sideways, they turn by going in an arc. Move your mouse in an arc right now without giving it any sideways motion and see what happens. The mouse cursor on the screen moves vertically up or down the screen, but not left or right. So how to tell if the car is turning? For that, they added a magnetometer. The mouse then gives the distance the car moved and the magnetometer gives the heading, or angle. With some simple trigonometry, they calculate the car’s coordinates.

The mouse click is done using the car’s horn, but details are vague there.

And yes, using the carmouse is as fun as it sounds, though we still don’t recommend texting while driving using this technique. Watch them in the videos below as they write an email and drive a self-portrait of the car.

A perhaps safer but equally fun approach is to turn your car into a game controller by tapping into the car’s CAN bus and converting the steering wheel, peddle and other messages into joystick commands.

Hack a Day 19 Feb 03:00

Mouse Mis-Clicking? We Got You.

A mouse with malfunctioning buttons can be a frustrating to deal with — and usually a short leap to percussive maintenance. Standard fixes may not always last due to inferior build quality of the components, or when the microswitch won’t close at all. But, for mice that double/triple-click, will release when dragging, or mis-click on release, this Arduino-based hack may be the good medicine you’re after.

Instructables user [themoreyouknow]’s method cancels click malfunctions by latching the mouse’s controller switch trace to ‘on’ when pressed, keeping it there until the button normally closed contact closes again completely. Due to the confined spaces, you’ll want to use the smallest Arduino you can find, some insulating tape to prevent any shorts, and care to prevent damaging the wires this process adds to the mouse when you cram it all back together.

Before you take [themoreyouknow]’s guide as dogma, the are a few caveats to this hack; they are quick to point out that this won’t work on mice that share two pins between three buttons — without doing it the extra hard way, and that this might be trickier on gaming or other high-end mice, so attempt at your own peril.

Speaking of gaming mice, we recently featured a way to add some extra functionality to your mouse — cheating optional — as well as how to stash a PC inside an old Logitech model.

Filed under: hardware, how-to
Hack a Day 30 Aug 09:00
arduino  click  debounce  hardware  how-to  mouse  nano  repair