Computer Mouse Definition & Meaning

A mouse is a hand-held device used for directly interacting with a graphical user interface (GUI) by controlling the movement of a cursor or pointer on a computer s display screen. The mouse detects the two-dimensional motion of the operator and translates it into the movement of the cursor on the screen. The most common operations are point-and-click and drag-and-drop.

History

Before the invention of the mouse, computer users could only interact with their computer displays by using keyboard arrows and typing commands. In response to the problem, a computer-technology researcher at Stanford named Douglas Engelbart invented the computer mouse in 1963. The first version of a mouse was a small wooden box that was set on two metal wheels that made contact with the working surface and had a single button on top. The device was named mouse because of the wire s resemblance to a mouse s tail.

By 1981, the ball mechanical mouse had replaced Engelbart s wheeled prototype. Instead of relying on wheels and only being able to move up and down or left to right, the new trackball technology allowed the user to move the mouse in any direction because of the rubber ball within the mouse. Xerox is not only known for copier machines, but also for introducing the mouse to the public when they made it a part of their new personal computer system the Xerox 8010 Star Information System. The mouse didn t become a house-hold product until Steve Jobs partnered with Xerox and added an improved version to his original Macintosh computer in 1984.

Types of computer mice

  • Optical mouse: The optical mouse is the most common type of mouse and replaced the ball/mechanical mouse because of its better quality and increased accuracy. It projects an LED or infrared light onto a surface, takes thousands of images per second, uses those images to track the movement of the mouse, and relays that data back to the computer for seamless movement of the cursor on the display.
  • Laser mouse: The laser mouse is similar to the optical mouse, except that it uses a laser in the place of an LED or infrared light, which causes this mouse to be slightly more accurate than the optical mouse.
  • Trackball mouse:The trackball mouse is a stationary mouse option that has a large ball on top of the mouse that the user can roll in place to move the cursor. There are some thumb-operated trackball hybrid options that incorporate a smaller trackball on the side of an optical or laser mouse.

There are also multiple connection options when it comes to linking your mouse to your computer. Wired mice connect using either USB or ps/2 port, and wireless options connect with USB or Bluetooth.

Abby Dykes
Abby Dykes
Abby Dykes is a newly-graduated writer and editor for websites such as TechnologyAdvice.com, Webopedia.com, and Project-Management.com. When she’s not writing about technology, she enjoys giving too many treats to her dog and coaching part-time at her local gym.

Top Articles

Huge List Of Texting and Online Chat Abbreviations

From A3 to ZZZ we list 1,559 text message and online chat abbreviations to help you translate and understand today's texting lingo. Includes Top...

How To Create A Desktop Shortcut To A Website

This Webopedia guide will show you how to create a desktop shortcut to a website using Firefox, Chrome or Internet Explorer (IE). Creating a desktop...

The History Of Windows Operating Systems

Microsoft Windows is a family of operating systems. We look at the history of Microsoft's Windows operating systems (Windows OS) from 1985 to present...

Hotmail [Outlook] Email Accounts

  By Vangie Beal Hotmail is one of the first public webmail services that can be accessed from any web browser. Prior to Hotmail and its...

Common Business-Oriented Language (COBOL)...

What is COBOL? COBOL stands for Common Business-Oriented Language. It is a 60-year-old programming...

Shared Hosting Definition &...

Shared hosting is a web hosting model in which multiple sites occupy the...

Database Integration Definition &...

Database integration consolidates data from multiple sources to provide businesses with more comprehensive...