optical mouse is an advanced computer pointing device that uses a light-emitting
diode (LED), an optical sensor, and digital signal processing (DSP) in place of
the traditional mouse ball and electromechanical transducer. Movement is detected
by sensing changes in reflected light, rather than by interpreting the motion
of a rolling sphere.
optical mouse takes microscopic snapshots of the working surface at a rate of
more than 1,000 images per second. If the mouse is moved, the image changes. The
tiniest irregularities in the surface can produce images good enough for the sensor
and DSP to generate usable movement data. The best surfaces reflect but scatter
light; an example is a blank sheet of white drawing paper. Some surfaces do not
allow the sensor and DSP to function properly because the irregularities are too
small to be detected. An example of a poor optical-mousing surface is unfrosted
In practice, an optical
mouse does not need cleaning, because it has no moving parts. This all-electronic
feature also eliminates mechanical fatigue and failure. If the device is used
with the proper surface, sensing is more precise than is possible with any pointing
device using the old electromechanical design.
This is an asset in graphics applications,
and it makes computer operation easier in general.
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