Apple invents a mouse that knows how hard you're hitting 'Send'

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Mice are dumb. When you think about it, it’s just up, down, on, off, right, left. I want a mouse that can tell when I’m doing one of those mouse clicks that means “BOO-ya!!” Like when I finish a devastatingly funny/snarky tweet that the world needs to see RIGHT NOW.

Looks like somebody’s finally figured it out. Some smarties at Apple have been granted a patent for a pressure-sensitive mouse that can tell how much force is behind a click. A more serious/real use of this might be in a game where you’re telling the character to “jump” but also want to indicate the height of the jump.

Apple’s Force Sensing Mouse is not a product yet, but the technology could end up in a new line of smart mice in the future. The variable pressures might be used to communicate different functions, too. For instance a soft push could mean “cut” and a hard push could mean “paste.” Or whatever.

A new mouse using the technology could also talk back. Using haptic feedback, the mouse would buzz gently under your hand to acknowledge a click or press or communicate some alert from the computer.

The technology connects the top surface of the mouse to a cantilever beam inside, which can “train, twist, flex, and/or otherwise alter its configuration,” according to the patent. The cantilever is attached to a “strain gauge,” which outputs a variable voltage as it “deforms.”

The patent discusses only the most obvious applications for the new mouse. It can tell how hard I’m banging the Send button at the end of a angry/stressy email salvo, but why not drop a sensor in there so that it can tell me how high my blood pressure is, too?

More information:

Apple designs and markets consumer electronics, computer software, and personal computers. The company's best-known hardware products include the Macintosh line of computers, the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad. Apple software includes t... read more »

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