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Invention Of The Computer Mouse


The first commercially available computer mouse was for Apple's Lisa computer and it was based largely on the Xerox PARC designed mouse. The Xerox PARC was the beginning of the mouse driven Graphic User Interface (GUI) that Apple and Microsoft modeled their operating systems after.


Technology Moves Forward


The first mice were using a mechanical ball. Mechanical ball mice had a small ball in the bottom that communicates the mechanically via small rollers which are turned as you move the mouse. Then optical mice were introduced which had no moving parts and offered more precision, Optical mice utilize a light-emitting diode and photodiodes to detect movement. The colour of the optical mouse's LED can vary, but red is the most common and least expensive to manufacture. Other colours can be used and I’ve used blue LED mice. In 1998, the laser mouse was invented and became mainstream by 2004. Laser mice utilize a laser for even more accuracy and makes for excellent gaming mice. Now Microsoft offers BlueTrack mice which combine optical and laser technology to work on almost any surface with great accuracy.

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Evolution Of The Computer Mouse


  • The Apple DE-9 Serial Connector was the connection used by Apple for the Lisa introduced in 1983 and was with Apple's early Macintosh systems until 1986.   
  • Connection: Male (plugs into female socket)    Shape: D    Pins: 9   
  • The Atari Standard Connection DE-9 was developed by Atari for their 2600 gaming system in 1977. It wasn't used as a mouse port until 1985 when Atari introduced their ST computers and Commodore also came out with their Amiga systems. The GEOS (Graphic Environment Operating System) was a new OS that breathed life back into the Commodore 64 and 128 computers. To compliment the new GUI, Commodore offered the 1351 mouse. To some extent the Atari standard connection is still in use today. 
  • Connection: Female (plugs into male socket)    Shape: D    Pins: 9   
  • The PC Serial RS-232C connection was the first connection used for PCs in the early 1980s and was used until PS/2 connections were introduced in 1987.   
  • Connection: Male (plugs into a female socket)    Shape: D    Pins: 9   
  • The Apple ADB (Apple Desktop Bus) was introduced in 1986 and offered two different models for the Mac models and IIgs until the introduction of the colourful iMacs in 1998.   
  • Connection: Male (plugs into female socket)    Shape: Round    Pins: 4   
  • The BUS (Microsoft InPort) mouse connection was used for PCs and required a dedicated interface card. It was used in the 1980s until PS/2 connections were introduced. As PCs didn't commonly use mice, it was not very common. It was more commonly found on SUN computer systems and the NEC PC-98 family of computers in Japan.   
  • Connection: Male (plugs into a female socket)    Shape: Round    Pins: 9   
  • The PS/2 connection was introduced in 1987 with IBM Personal System/2 computers and is still in use today, although not as common since the introduction of USB.   
  • Connection: Male (plugs into female socket)    Shape: Round    Pins: 6   
  • In 1996, a hot pluggable connection was introduced named the USB (Universal Serial Bus). Almost all mice today are made to function with the USB 1.1 standard and can be plugged into the newer USB 2.0 ports found on today’s computers. USB 3.0 was introduced in 2008 and is starting to show up as a fast connection for external hard drives. Below is a summary of USB standards;   
  • USB 1 introduced in 1996 with one speed of 12 Mbit/s   
  • USB 1.1 introduced in 1998 with twos speeds of 12 Mbit/s and a slower 1.5 Mbit/s for mice & joysticks   
  • USB 2 introduced in 2000 with a speed of 480 Mbit/s   
  • USB 3 introduced 2008 with a potential throughput 5 Gbit/s   
  • Connection: Type A    Shape: Flat Rectangle (plus smaller connections for other devices)    Pins: 4   
  • Wireless mice have been available for some time and communicate by radio to a USB or PS/2 connected receiver.
  • Bluetooth is a newer short distance wireless technology that was created in 1994 and is built into almost all computers manufactured today. If your computer has Bluetooth, you do not need a small connector/dongle to communicate with your mouse.


Measuring The Speed Of A Mouse


The computer industry often measures mouse sensitivity in terms of counts per inch (CPI) or dots per inch (DPI). When comparing mice, you can compare CPI and DPI directly as it is the same measurement. Mouse speeds by technology below;   

  • Mechanical Mice 100-400 CPI/DPI   
  • Optical 800-1600 CPI/DPI   
  • BlueTrack 4000 CPI/DPI   
  • Laser Mice 100-5700 CPI/DPI