The most popular pointing device. Called a "mouse" because the cord resembled a mouse's tail, most mice today are cordless. Graphical interfaces (GUIs) are designed for mice but key commands for equivalent functions in business applications are often available as an alternative. However, CAD and imaging applications demand a pointing device. On a PC, the mouse connects to the PS/2 or USB port (see PS/2 connector).|
After years of use, it is now known that mice can be hazardous to your health. Hours of clicking and dragging put a strain on the wrist (see carpal tunnel syndrome).
Relative Vs. Absolute
Mouse movement is relative. The cursor moves from its existing location. The mouse could be moved across your arm, and the screen cursor would move as well. The mouse-like object on a graphics tablet, which is correctly called the "tablet cursor" or "puck" is often not relative. It contacts the tablet with absolute reference. Placing it on the upper left part of the tablet moves the screen cursor to the corresponding location. See pointing device, scroll mouse, mechanical mouse, optical mouse, Magic Mouse and mickey.
Invented by Doug Engelbart in the early 1960s at Stanford Research Institute (SRI), it used two moving wheels 90 degrees apart. Most mechanical mice were made this way, but the wheels were inside, and the ball moved the wheels. (Image courtesy of The Bootstrap Institute.)
Contour Design makes mice that come in many sizes for a perfect fit. They also put less strain on the "clicking finger." (Image courtesy of Contour Design, Inc., www.contourdesign.com)
All kinds of mouse designs have come and gone over the years. (Image courtesy of Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), Brian Tramontana, Photographer.)