Optical mouse based scanner

optical mouse

Ever wonder what your desk surface looks like up close? No. No one has. Not even [Sprite_tm], but upon disassembling his optical mouse and discovering its 18×18 CCD he decided to put it to use (well, a different use). The optical chip outputs serial information to the USB chip in the mouse. [Sprite_tm] wired the optical chip to a parallel port and wrote a simple program to interpret the data. Not really useful, but it does generate some interesting pictures. Program provided, natch.

Comments

  1. Very nice.. Very nice. I had always been wondering if this was possible, and now it is. Maybe someone can mod up a little robot that can drive around and scan a whole page.

  2. steel maverick says:

    now if i only had a spare optical mouse lying around…..

  3. Jeffrey says:

    I had this idea back in school, I even rendered a mock up and wrote a report on it. Although my idea was to have a color ccd, that would capture the surface and alow you to paint with it in Photoshop. So if you wanted to make a texture in photoshop you could just find somthing in real life and use your mouse on it. I mean its easy enough to take a picture of an object and use the stamp tool but this would have been quicker. Anyways I think this is very cool.

  4. Isuo says:

    Excellent! Just wondering though, would it be possible to change the CCD into a higher res one, without causing too many problems?

  5. mdip says:

    hmm… next thing to try is an optical mouse/barcode reader. eh?

  6. Wonko the Sane says:

    Wow – this is strange – at a site http://www.techtales.com you get stories about people doing silly things and there is a story in October 2005 – How NOT to scan a photo – “So he tried to scan … by putting the photo under his optical mouse!”… and now someone has made it posible!

  7. CaptSnuffy says:
  8. squarehappy says:

    reminds me a lot of the fly pen (http://www.flypentop.com/) out now. it’s the toy that would make kids of five years ago say “i wish we had toys like that when i was a kid”.

    i also recall seeing but utterly failed to look up a printer in pen form that would follow the location of the pen as you scribbled it over the paper and apply the necessary ink/pressure at the right time. we’re just one step from an all-in-one printer/scanner/copier/fax machine in a pen. all of that and it’ll even modify your handwriting to something legible.

  9. fragglestick says:

    very cool. surprised you usual hater a55bags dont have a problem with it

  10. tamzarian says:

    Well, this is cool. But is is useless, I don’t need to scan small things…

  11. Heh, we just had a chat about this a day or two ago. I figured it wouldn’t work very well because of the small sensor and accumulation of positional error especially from rotation of the mouse. Perhaps a really smart system could be made that would not only correlate consecutive frames, but also other overlapping frames.

    It seems to me that the lighting is not very even. this could be quite easily compensated for.

  12. Heh, we just had a chat about this a day or two ago. I figured it wouldn’t work very well because of the small sensor and accumulation of positional error especially from rotation of the mouse. Perhaps a really smart system could be made that would not only correlate consecutive frames, but also other overlapping frames.

    It seems to me that the lighting is not very even. this could be quite easily compensated for.

  13. Wrzl says:

    Some visual information about optical mouse technology:

    http://www.ida.net/users/oe1k/OpticalMouse/

  14. Dave zatz says:

    CueCat!

  15. MrNGm says:

    go dutchies! :)

    this guy comes from holland and studies at a university in the east of the netherlands. never met him but he does really cool things.
    like adding a usb port to a cheap router (sweex LB000021)

    http://sprite.student.utwente.nl/~jeroen/projects/lb000021/usb_tutorial/

  16. Dustin says:

    Somebody posted this on slashdot. :/ http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/01/08/1536200

  17. This is a GREAT idea!

    A company should take this on, and start buying people’s old optical mice for, say

  18. JLsoft says:

    Nice, this instantly reminded me of http://www.atarimagazines.com/v3n12/digitize.html which I wanted to build ever since I read the article back in high school :)

    (There were also some commercial products based on the same idea:

    http://www.atarimagazines.com/v7n6/easyscan.html

    http://www.atarimagazines.com/startv4n6/stpictascan.html )

  19. CmdrTaco says:

    Thanks for the article guys, we can’t come up with our own stuff anymore.

  20. Bert says:

    Very nice. Nice spy tool.

  21. alkzy says:

    some of the best stuff ive seen in awhile!

  22. Dan says:

    what foler do I put that dll in? I don’t have a “winnt” folder in my system32…

  23. artbird309 says:

    can i have the Program it look’s fun to play with.

  24. john says:

    What about using a Laser Mouse instead of just an optical? wouldn’t that give higher resolution?

  25. Wim L says:

    that rules! The Agilent datasheet describes some other fun stuff that can be read out from the sensor chip (nothing quite as cool as the image itself though).

    The next step is to replace the mouse’s probably-OTP usb interface with a MC68HC908JB8 or PIC16C745, so you can read stuff out over the normal USB connection, and add some motors also controlled by the

  26. cold_ion says:

    The scanner was just a fun demonstration of the technology. What

  27. golmaal says:

    Hi,
    Can it be modified to become a barcode scanner?
    It would be grand!

  28. artbird309 says:

    can i have the software or what is a link to it thanks artbird309 [at] gmail [dot] com.

  29. artbird309 says:

    can i have the software or what is a link to it thanks artbird309 [at] gmail [dot] com.

  30. artbird309 says:

    can i have the software or what is a link to it thanks artbird309 [at] gmail [dot] com.

  31. jajoah says:
  32. Tim says:

    ?!?!?! Absolutly pointless but cool. Can u put a better CCD in it? It is really crappy quality. Do you guys not mod anything? Whats next a bluetooth toilet? With a usb 4 charging your ipod?

  33. papalatiolais says:

    wow! simple yet pretty cool. i decided to open up an old optical mouse i had lying around the house. it’s a microsoft intellimouse and has a 16 pin chip. i’m a noob at this stuff but decided to give it a shot anyway to see what results i could get. i’m just having trouble finding info on the chip to figure out the pins and their relativity to the ones in the guide. if anyone has a suggestions send to papalatiolais@hotmail.com. thanks in advance.

  34. ian says:

    Nice project. Wondering if it be possible to combine this with some OCR software and access to an online dictionary to make a cheap handheld translator. I have seen translator pens like that see http://www.wizcomtech.com/ but they are quite expensive.

  35. bigjermini says:

    WHY DOES EVERYBODY SAY THE SAME THING ABOUT THIS HACK/MOD?
    “Its useless, might be good for bots, why would you want to?” or some other electronic/computer related saying or put down. ive seen this same guy with the same mod on different sites. i tried it and let me tell ya i personally got an astonishing amount of detail by scanning my skin i didn’t even know could be done with 15 bucks. so noww somebody else think MEDICAL PURPOSE! 100points to sprite_tm!

  36. Donald says:

    I’ve been looking at it from useful standpoints. First, it can be used as a means to measure the speed of a rotating shaft. I’ve also seen it used already in robotics (scanning the ground) to determine motion and position. I also was thinking about using it for medical purposes. If a bright LED is shone through one’s finger, and the point of focus is set under the skin, I suspect this part may have a focal point under the skin. If I could get a cross section of a blood vessel and then if the autocorrelation function can detect the motion of blood through the vessels, it might give both cross section and blood velocity (might need to use audio to detect that with autocorrelation). However, it might be possible to get both the mechanical waveform of the heart (from which it might be possible to extract the ECG from the heart) and it might also be possible to measure blood pressure. Imagine a single finger attachment that gives you pulse-ox, ECG AND blood pressure. Now the medical community would love nothing better than to never have to use a pressure cuff again or to have to attach electrodes to someone’s hairy chest. If you’ve ever had to spend time hooked up to an automated pressure cuff, you know how hard it is to sleep with it on. Definitely a medical breakthrough. Worth experimenting with.
    -D

  37. Paul d\'Aoust says:

    what folder do I put that dll in? I don’t have a “system32″ folder in my /usr/lib…

  38. elias deeb says:

    hello guys
    does any one know how to use an optical mouse to measure the speed of the surface? please let me know if you can. thanks

  39. lchvdlch says:

    The original link is not available (404), but I guess I found the new one here http://spritesmods.com/?art=mouseeye

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