Apple Patents A New Kind Of Mouse With Force Sensors, Haptic Feedback
As shown in the biography-movie about Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, Pirates of the Silicon Valley, some graduate students invented the idea of simple mouse and took the idea to Xerox Research Centre in Palo Alto. To the students’ disappointment, Xerox executives ridiculously rejected their idea saying: “You want to use computers with something called mouse?”
Steve Jobs had another appointment with Xerox on the same day, and he saw the students carrying a small mouse fretting. He asked them to tell him about their idea, and that’s how Apple introduced a mouse in their desktop computers.
But that was back in 20th century. Apple has recently filed a new patent application titled “Force Sensing Mouse,” which is about a new kind of mouse having more features like force sensors and haptic feedback. The mouse varies its output on the basis of force exerted on the buttons and provides feedback accordingly.
The mouse utilizes sophisticated hardware and sensors to learn how hardly the button is pressed. This is done by using cantilever beam and strain gauge that input the amount of voltage according to the force exerted by the user. This voltage then generates a particular control signal.
Haptic feedback is provided by using an electromagnet inside the mouse’s body such that it hits the top button when it is activated. In some embodiments, embedded vibration motors or other feedback mechanisms are placed in more than one positions to provide more personalized feedback.
This mouse eliminates the double-click concept. To select a folder or an icon, the user exerts a small force by moving the cursor over the icon. By exerting the second level of force, the user can open the app or folder while getting feedback in line with the force exerted. So the user is able to select, navigate and open folders or applications with one-button press.
Moreover, the mouse also senses where the button is pressed. A button press is divided into three categories, namely “left force,” “right force” and “middle force.” The user can press (exert force) on the left, right or middle of the button performing different operations for each press.
Apple gave the example of flight simulator in which the left, right or middle forces are used as plane’s directional controls — pitch, yaw and roll, while the amount of force applied determines the speed or amplitude of movement.
It is unknown whether Apple is working on a new mouse or not. This mouse seems more interesting than the simple mice we use. It also provides greater control and helps in multitasking. But getting constant feedback for every click can be a pain. We can judge more about the mouse once it is released.