Home Made Rollerbar Mouse

4003919989_f0f0c6cd65 (Custom)

[Judyofthewoods] has hacked together this rollerbar mouse. We’ve heard people talk about these in a positive way, going on about how comfortable they are. We haven’t really experimented with one much to verify. This one looks surprisingly nice considering it is made from scrap. The image above is showing it without the cover that hides the hot glue and optical sensor. There isn’t much of a writeup, but as you can see from the picture, there isn’t much necessity for one either.  She seems to have done a great job stating that it is fairly smooth with only minor jittering.

20 thoughts on “Home Made Rollerbar Mouse

  1. @make
    you move the rollerbar (rolling + sliding) instead of the mouse-sensor itself.
    It is like moving the mousepad instead of the mouse ;)

    I guess you get a bit more precision of direct movement on the axes compared to normal freehand operation.

  2. interesting.
    i’ve been a trackball user for a long time and i’d never go back.
    what i don’t understand though is if (and how) you’d have to recalibrate the thing (let’s say the bar is at the most left position but the cursor isn’t).
    this seems to be inevitable after some use.

  3. @kikkoman,
    There’s usually a button that freezes the cursor, like lifting the mouse to reposition. In this case, she probably has to slide a piece of paper in there and reposition.

    your cursor would move if the shaft was depressed.

  4. My father has one of these at work to treat RSI. According to the advertising fluff, they’re quite popular in the Scandinavian countries

    If your bar hits the left side of its track before your cursor hits the left side of the screen, just slide the bar all the way to the right, and back. The cursor will “stick” on the right side of the screen while you take up the slack.

    The commercial product has switches under for a one-handed click, and at the edges for other things.

  5. Just found from my Flickr stats where all the views came from :-). Anyway, thanks for all the interest. Some of the questions have already been answered, but I’ll just add a few extra bits.

    It is a very basic mod using basic tools and equipment. I wanted to make a cheap ergonomic mouse as I have RSI, but also show how one could make one without soldering and electronic wizzardry. If you search for trackbar/rollerbar, or ergonomic mouse you can find several models online, some show how they work. Sprucing it up was another consideration, and what could be more steampunk than some copper and brass piston?

    The screen edge issue was not too bad, actually. I worked out the width of the travel relative to the cursor movement, and made the bar long enough for that travel. If you start off with the pointer in the right position, you don’t have to reposition too often. I also had a normal mouse plugged in which I could use occasionally to reposition. I’ll be working on another version, where the bar slides on top of some bearing, and can be simply picked up like a mouse to reposition.

    I am also working on a write-up for my website, which will include a nine-button mouse mod. Useful if you want to vary your hand position or if you share your computer with a squid.

  6. PS – @ macegr – I love the torus idea! Watch this space. @ Dan, hm the Kline bottle sounds interesting but needs a little bit more thought. Ah yes, there are some plastic milk jugs around the place with molded hollow handles. With a pair of scissors, some duckt tape….

  7. The benefits are supposed to be: no need to grip and no need to move your arm ‘off-axis’ like with a mouse. I was just reading up on the contour rollermouse last night – seems like it might be neat, but something you have to try first (especially since the one I found was about $200).

  8. I have used a RollerMouse Pro for a very long time. Expensive, but the best money I ever spent. No more wrist pain.

    The faster you move the bar horizontally, the farther the pointer will move, which means there is less chance of bumping into the ends before the pointer hits the edge of the screen. There are contacts at either end, which means that if you do hit the end of the bar before the pointer hits the edge of the screen, giving the bar that one last push horizontally to click either of those buttons will quickly move the pointer to the edge of the screen. This means that there are no problems using it with a multi-monitor setup.

    Note that this type of mouse is almost useless for the purposes for which you would normally buy a gaming mouse – although it can be used just fine with slower games like Puzzle Bobble.

    It is also not ideal for working with image processing programs like Photoshop and the kind, although basic (rectangular) cropping tasks can be performed without any problems – just do not try any lassoing selections.

    Another possible disadvantage is that you really should have a keyboard with a straight front edge, so if you are used to having a really curvy, ergonomic keyboard which – perhaps – even has its own built-in wrist rest, such a keyboard might not be the ideal partner for the RollerMouse Pro.

    For all your daily point-and-click operations, I have never found a more ideal device. For the few times when you do need a bit more precision, you can always leave a normal mouse connected to another USB port and leave that sitting to the right or left of your keyboard so you can switch whenever you need to. Windows will happily let you have two mice connected at the same time.

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