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The Evolution of Computer Mouse: Design, Market Needs, and Manufacturing Process

Jun 15, 2023 | 0 comments

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Jun 15, 2023 | Essays | 0 comments

A mouse is a computer hardware input device that controls cursor movements on the screen of a computer (Price, 2011). It is a tiny object that is rolled along a flat and hard surface to control the pointer on the screen. The name was derived from its size since it resembles a mouse and it has also a long tiny wire that resembles the tail of a mouse. The computer mouse moves the cursor on the screen in the same direction to which the user moves it. Mice composed of at least one button and at most three buttons each with dissimilar functions depending on the program it runs. The advanced mice also have a wheel that is used for scroll the pages up and down in the documents (Burnett-Stuart & Taylor, 2001).

Bardini (2000) indicated that Douglas Engelbart, a researcher in the Stanford Research Center invented the first mice in 1963 and was later pioneered by Xerox in 1970s. The three basics types of mice include; mechanical which hasa metal ball or a rubber underneath that roll at 360 degrees. It is fitted with mechanical sensors that automatically detect the direction of the ball and in turn move the cursor as directed by the user. Secondly, the optomechanical mouse resembles the mechanical mouse but detect the direction of the cursor by use of optical sensors. Lastly, there is the optical mouse that detects the direction of the cursor using laser. Unlike others, the optical mouse has got no mechanical moving parts and they are quicker than the opto-mechanical and mechanical mice (Price, 2011).


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Market need and Product Design Specification.

The market need of the computer mouse is very dynamic with the bulging technology. However, before a consumer makes a purchase, there are various factors to consider. Firstly, it is comparative to consider the item’s price, condition and the purchasing purposes. There are variety of options that a client can chose from incase of a purchase is to be made. In the old days, before the GUI, computer was operated through text commands. Therefore, to use a computer by then, one needed to have a computer programmer. The Apple GUI discovery allowed the user to enjoy the unparalleled productivity improvements. Currently, the new interface provides the user with easy time and fewer sills to work with a computer (McCarthy & Perreault, 1990).

However, the market demands of the mouse are on the rise with the advancements on the technology. According to the report by XXX and YYYY, there is a 41% rise in computer mouse unit sales from the month of May 1998 to May 1999. It indicates that more than 3.2 million mice were bought separately exclusive of those fixed with the new computer systems. This represented over $60 million dollars. Presently, Microsoft enjoys 22.8 % of the mouse in the market while Logitech and Kensington having 21.3 % and 6.6 % respectively (Cusumano & Selby, 2005). The rest is controlled by other manufactures worldwide.

The Product Design Specification can be categorized into two broad characteristics.

Operational and Physical Characteristics

Performance requirements- the device must permit the user to access the computer fully at least 8 hours daily. It must also require least movements of the parts. The input device and thearm support must both function efficiently without unnecessary adjustments.

Safety- both the arm support and the input device should not irritate the user’s skin.

Accuracy and reliability-the cursor must move to where the client directs it while displaying extreme sensitivity.

Ergonomics- the device for arm support must have height than gets adjustable.

Size and weight -the mouse must fit the hands of the client proportionally and the weight must not strain the user for at least 8 hours daily.

Product Characteristics

Quantity– only one device is needed.

Cost of production- efficient budget of one unit is sufficient.

The mouse systems are currently improving with new products being manufactured. The use of the mouse is normal and fairly simple. When the mouse is powered, it runs through the calibrator.

Connection of the mouse to the computer.

The mouse is connected through the plug inn port that already exists in the computer or into the RS-232 interface box. To connect, the user must plug the 25-pin connector to the computer and the other end plugged into the interface box.

Mouse use.

The mouse works best when aligned within 45 degrees from the normal orientation. However, most users place their wrist on the surface of the mouse and grasp it using their little and thumb finger. The mouse is potable and can be lifted and its position changed. Therefore, the cursor on the screen can always appear anywhere on the computer screen even without moving the wrist (Mouse (Computer, 2012).

DIP switches.

The deep switches of a mouse use various tools, for example, the paper clip. The orientation of the pad can be adjusted on the desk space and fit accordingly. At 90 degrees, the mouse is hardly sensitive compared to its original position.

Opening the mouse.

The device must always be opened to change the DIP settings of the switch. To open, one removes the twin screws bellow the mouse when on the table and finally the top is removed. The mouse consists of four parts namely; two lenses, rubber light shield and a PC board. The LEDs and the mirror are extremely fragile and should not be touched. The LEDs are positioned funnily to illuminate the paper efficiently (Burnett-Stuart & Taylor, 2001).

Power-cycling the mouse.

To power cycle the mouse, its advisable to take at least 5 seconds before plugging it back. This will permit adequate duration for the micro compressor to reset the capacitor and discharge it.

Calibration sequence.

Bardini (2000) pointed out that the circuit and the micro compressor are verified anytime the mouse is powered. The mouse the attempts to calibrate each lead in sequence through selection of the internal DIP switch. The calibrated LEDs are then turned on and since the IR LEDs cannot be seen, when the button is pressed both the red LEDs to function. This shows that the mouse is powered and calibration goes on.However, any button should not be pressed when the mouse is still calibrating.

Moreover, the mouse must always be moved constantly with comfortable speed for proper calibration of the LEDs. The IR LEDs are responsible for detecting the crossing green lines while the red LEDs detect the blue lines crossing over. Additionally, it is advisable to move the mouse with wide circles to complete the calibrations. Otherwise, the mouse only calibrates on high contrast ratio surfaces like the mouse pad. When the one LED is on it shows that the calibration process has been finalized and there exists no difference when the button switch is pressed and the cursor on the screen of the computer will start moving. On non-rotatable mode, the mouse only shows one red LED on while in rotatable, both LEDs are on (Price, 2011).

Advanced surface material

Most recent mice use infrared imaging to locate specific points where the hand meets the surface of the mouse. Advanced materials are applied to each zone to improve the durability and comfort. Additionally, to take care of heat and moisture that is built up, durable hydrophobic coating is added in the area around the palm. In case of heavy zones of contact, coating that are fingerprint-resistant are put on the bottom of the mouse.

Light weight design.

The mice are designed with lightest weight possible. This allows the user to hold and rotate the mouse more comfortably without using much energy. Ideally, the mouse should be used for at least eight hours daily without causing fatigue to the user.

Manufacturing of the mouse parts.

To manufacture a mouse, various procedures have to be followed simultaneously to make the units of the mouse. Firstly, the printed circuit board gets cut from the material and prepared. This is a resin-coated, flat sheet of considerable amount of surface. The surface-mount version has to be assembled by the machine (McCarthy & Perreault, 1990). Thereafter, the computer controlled sequencer which is always automatic is used to place the ­­­­­­­­­­­electrical components on the board in a proper manner depending on the pattern.

Furthermore, the encoder mechanism is assembled in a separate unit. Plastic parts are manufactured through injection-molding considering the specific model required. Then, the unit gets assembled, fastened to the PCB by use of screw. At this stage the board is completely assembled and therefore goes to the electronic tests of quality control (Mouse (Computer), 2012).

The tail of the mouse is manufactured using electrical wires, rubber cover and shielding. It has strain relieve devices that assists in the prevention of the cable from detaching from either the mouse or the plugging port.

Additionally, the outer shell is inspected by electrical experts after molding, surface treatment and trimming just before the assembly. The outer covering is assembled in four stages: PCB and encoder are inserted at the shell bottom and finally put together using automatic screw drivers (Brown, 2002).

Final performance and electronic inspection is done when the assembly is complete afterwhich rubber is pre applied on the added side of the mouse.

The process of manufacturing a mouse is short but requires competence of high level to achieve. Scholars have foreseen that advanced mice is yet to be produced with manufacturing firms currently working on it.


Bardini, T. (2000). Bootstrapping: Douglas Engelbart, coevolution, and the origins of personal computing. Stanford, Calif: Stanford University Press.

Brown, D. E. (2002). Inventing modern America: From the microwave to the mouse. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.

Burnett-Stuart, N., & Taylor, L. (2001). The Magic computer mouse. Genoa: Black Cat Pub.

Cusumano, M. A., & Selby, R. W. (2005). Microsoft secrets: How the world’s most powerful software company creates technology, shapes markets, and manages people. New York: Free Press.

McCarthy, E. J., & Perreault, W. D. (1990). Basic marketing: A managerial approach. Homewood, IL: Irwin.

Mouse (Computer). (2012).

Price, M. (2011). Computer basics. Southam, U.K: Easy Steps Limited.

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