Fiberoptic Mouse Prevents Stray Magnetic Fields

[Ben] needed an input device that would operate where electrical signals and magnetic fields wouldn’t be tolerated, so he ended up running fiberoptics instead of electricity to a mouse.

[Ben] ran some glass fiber from the mouse to quadrature encoders to get the x and y velocity. Mouse clicks are read by modifying the existing buttons with a small shutter to block light from shining through the button frame. This isn’t the first time [Ben] adapted fiberoptics to an input device. Last year, he also built a fiberoptic joystick using the same principles.

We covered [Ben]’s DIY Electron Microscope last month, and we’re wondering if these two projects are related. His project log said he was getting distorted images from the electric field coming from his cooling fan and heater. Maybe he solved that problem and is now just tracking down every last unwanted electromagnetic emission.

Video of the mouse after the break.


20 thoughts on “Fiberoptic Mouse Prevents Stray Magnetic Fields

  1. wow, that’s stunning – brilliant! that looks like a totally patentable idea, as well.

    so, it’s a ball mouse? what about using an optical mouse and some aligned fibers? it would cut down ok the number of fibers needed.

    also, perhaps multiplex the signals with colors?

  2. Nice.
    But, is it really necessary to have 6 light sources?
    Since they are all on all the time, surely you can use just one fiber and distribute it trough for instance a piece of acrylic?

  3. @therian – Yes, but now you never have to think about that again. Also, the fiber is a lot thinner than properly shielded cable. And can be run for loooooooong distances easily, because of the interconnects.

    And, who here can HONESTLY say they have a laser mouse? Only one man.

  4. What interests me most is thinking of what kind of environment would require this. MRI sounds like a good guess, but there are a few things that would need attention. A mouse ball is typically rubber of steel (ever had one thrown at you?), so that might need to be replaced. The screws and springs inside the mouse seem like the last bits of metal that might need attention.

  5. There are also certain industrial specifications when working around volatile materials and explosives to have no electrical equipment because of the possibility of an electrical discharge.

    So, no it’s not overkill.

  6. In a computer magazine Mi Computer №119, April 1986, there was an article about a computer called Conquer Chestnut that was to have mouse and keyboard attached by optical cables. I believe there was no reason for this, other than being futuristic. I don’t think the computer reached the market, though.

  7. Guys. This has been done before. Check out NATA Technologies. They have a bunch of products based on fiberoptic technology. Apparently they have a mouse thats capable of 1200dpi with an optical cable.

  8. Wow what an stupid ass idea. . . .

    MM Fibre to power a ball mouse should have just converted a Laser mouse converted its signal to light to be picked up by the reviver at the base station and converted for use with the PC/MAC/what ever.

    its like a 600 dollar shitty mouse.

  9. This is Great. I was about to embark on a similar project myself. There is a Growing market for low electro magnetic computer peripherals and I though this would be the easiest place to start. Please contact me if you would like to colaborate on getting this to market. If not I will start from scratch Or you could get it made youself.

    1. I would be really interested in purchasing a fiber optic mouse for an affordable price. I want to collaborate with you and possibly others to get it to the market. The fiber mouse from NATA technologies is 2400 dollars which is out of reach for most people

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