Apple files patent for a multi-touch mouse

July 6, 2007 at 12:17 Leave a comment

A recent patent filing by Apple gives us a possible glimpse into Apple’s future tech for their Mac computer lineup. More specifically, Apple has filed to patent a multi-touch system for their mice’s shells. The application states that, “The invention relates to a configurable mouse with an extended sensing surface, which provides the mouse a customizable, programmable or adaptable way of generating inputs.”

Now, if you’re wondering how this relates to mobile tech, we’re going to justify our coverage of Apple’s mousing technology with the logic that multi-touch originated from the Apple iPhone. There, it’s kinda mobile, you happy now?


Anyway, the patent application goes on to outline a system by which the outer, plastic shell of the mouse will become a programmable sensing surface – using multi-touch inputs like those seen on the iPhone.

Apple patent for multi touch mouse

Like a normal mouse, the multi-touch mouse will include a more traditional tracking mechanism. But, the trick thing here is the use of the “multipoint detection mechanism” that effectively transforms the outer, grippable shell of the mouse into an extended sensing surface. “The mouse additionally includes a controller for processing signals generated by the position detection mechanism and multipoint touch detection mechanism” – which allows for a combination of mouse movement and finger touch-input to affect control of the interface. Moving the mouse simultaneously with a particular finger gesture might result in a specific command – while the same movement without a finger gesture would affect a different command.

Apple patent for multi touch mouse

Furthermore, the patent provides for “an illumination source for illuminating the 3D shaped top shell, an image sensor arrangement for imaging the 3D shaped top shell when the 3D shaped top shell is illuminated, and a wide angle lens assembly that allows the substantially large portion of the 3D shaped top shell to be imaged by the image sensor arrangement.” We hope this means that the outer shell of the mouse will be turned into a virtual canvas, where interacting with portions of mouse shell will directly affect the corresponding portion of the desktop image.

[Via: Apple Insider]

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Entry filed under: Technology.

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