Wall Wart Computer Mouse


This rather bulky looking wall wart is actually a computer mouse. Sure, it may cause your hand to cramp horribly if used for any length of time. But some would say it’s worth that for the hipster value of the thing.

The rather odd shape is somewhat explained by the fact that this was sourced from Ikea. After gutting the transformer found inside the plastic case he had plenty of room to work with. He drilled a hole so that the sensor from a Logitech USB optical mouse can pick up the movement of the mouse. He also got pretty creative when it came to the buttons. The two prongs of the wall plug pivot horizontally to affect the momentary press switches inside.

After the break you can see a quick demo of the project. [Alec] doesn’t consider it to be complete. He wants to make a couple of improvements which include adding weight to make it feel more like the original wall wart, and finding a way to hide the hole he drilled for the sensor.

92 thoughts on “Wall Wart Computer Mouse

    1. Filler? This guy turned a /wall wart/ into a /mouse/!!! What is not both awesome and hacky about that?

      If it doesn’t trip your trigger that’s fine, no need to tell the world you don’t enjoy enjoyable things.

      1. Ooooooooooh! A case mod!

        This guy’s super-legit. I mean what next?
        A computer in a ‘fridge? A laptop in a cardboard box? A car in a garage?
        I get excited just thinking of what a guy who puts things in slightly bigger things is capable.

        I hate hipsters.
        A better mod would be putting a large capacitor in the block such that it permanently incapacitates whoever uses it. [i]permanently[/i]
        2 metal buttons are the perfect delivery method.

          1. I think he was aiming at expressing italics in good ol’ plain text. Same as *this* means bold or emphasis, and _this_ is underline. And there’s more!

            Maybe BBcode or something works on this site. But we don’t need it, we’ve got plain text!

          1. Oh my God… I’m shocked about how many people are disappointed about wasting their time reading a post they consider useless. So disappointed that they keep wasting their time letting others know about their disappointment.

            This was a nice build! Just from looking you can’t figure that it is a mouse. It was supposed to be like this. And it was not supposed to be used by anyone, so no problems with safety or stuff like that. And to craft those buttons it was required some skill. Congratulations to [Alec]!

            And everyone else, be happy! =)

        1. That’s pretty much what I was thinking, case mods aren’t all that impressive in my opinion unless they are of extremely high quality, this is just gutting something and throwing a mouse into it.

      2. I suppose the site’s not useful-a-day. But I have to agree, putting a mouse into a case thereby making it completely unusable as a mouse and with no other purpose isn’t really in the spirit of the best hacks.

        To disguise the hole, one could see if the sensor works with infra-red, then find some white plastic that’s transparent to infra-red. Or glass or some other material. Even a bit of dark plastic would be better than nothing.

    2. As the guy who made this project, XOIIO, allow me to gently, gently point out that you’re insulting the creative work of a total stranger. I’m not charging you admission. There are other much more complicated projects on my site that might be more your taste.

      1. That’s what happens when one submits one’s idea to the Internet, people opine. If you wanted praise I suppose you could show it to your friends and family, tho I doubt even they see the point of it.

        I dunno who submitted this to HAD, but maybe you should submit one of your better ones.

        1. “you’re insulting the creative work of a total stranger”

          LOL – new to teh interwebs eh?

          Next time try BoingBoing instead of HaD – they luv hipster/steampunk nonsense.

          1. vonskippy, I’m not new here; I’ve had maybe 10 projects posted on HaD. They’ve gotten a variety of responses but I’ve never seen so much random “don’t waste my time / go hurt yourself” before and it’s ugly. Is it because Mike’s write-up mentioned hipsters and there is a popular anti-hipster backlash? Because frankly I don’t know what hipster means in this context.

    1. That was my thought, this could easily be mistaken as a USB charger even though it has a male rather than female end. A layperson wouldn’t think about that small fact until after the thing bursts into flames.

      1. The prongs are totally isolated. I’d like to work a little more on the way the pins pivot to make sure one doesn’t get stuck in the outlet but aside from that it’s safe. (Adding a screaming sound for when it does get plugged in would be a nice touch, though.)

        1. Instead of the sound of screaming when plugged into the wall, how about…

          “This device will self destruct in 10 seconds.
          9 seconds.
          8 seconds.
          7 seconds.
          6 seconds.
          5 seconds to self destruct.
          4 seconds.
          3 seconds.
          2 seconds.
          1 second.

    1. Jim, good thought — lots of room for a 555-based touch circuit, and it would preserve the conceptual function of the terminals — but on the other hand I like the “click” of a real switch too.

      1. It isn’t like you are going to be using the thing (if you intend to, make sure your insurance covers carpel tunnel)…holding back on the conceptual part of a purely conceptual idea just to give good feel to something that will never feel good…the guy on the corner that wears a tin foil hat to prevent Frank Sinatra from steeling his thoughts would call that crazy!

        Go all out…3 buttons with touch sensors, using normally open relays powered by the USB…that way, you could set it up to plug into the wall and be a USB charger too! Now that’s pointless to the extreme!

          1. I like Sven’s point of using a third prong as the middle button. Capacitive touch would be good too, but if you like the feel of the click (as I do), give it some feedback with a relay clicking or solenoid of some type. The added parts might just add to the weight too.

            Oh and forget the negative people. I think it’s worthy of HaD. It’s not like we’re limited to the number of links we can have or projects we can ignore if we don’t like them. I believe there is room for all kinds of hacks. From a project to do in a couple hours, to a year long build. For one I don’t care for the HAM hacks, but I don’t complain that they are all “1930’s”

            Looking across my desk, I see a timer switch I built using the auto-brew timer out of an old coffee pot hooked up to an outlet. Now I have an outlet that I can have come on at a certain time and automatically shuts off in 3 hours. Someone might look at that and says, “cool.” Someone else will just say, “why didn’t you just by a timer?” Because I had the parts that I didn’t want to throw away, instead reuse/recycle/repurpose. And, because I could.

    1. It’s not a bad hack. Maybe it doesn’t deserve it’s own post but neither does it deserve being bashed.

      It’s a fun idea to do to waste some time, everything doesn’t have to be liquid nitrogen cooled laser 3D printed arduino controlled robots.

        1. I really don’t get the Arduino bashing. There’s very few projects with it posted here, especially considering how popular and useful it is.

          As much as anything, it’s just a microcontroller with less soldering and a nicer programming method than assembly or C.

          I think it’s just a trend here, and I really don’t get it.

          1. “Few projects?” Look at the dropbox to the right, under the header “Categories”. There are currently 1028 Arduino hacks. Only “misc hacks” and “news” have more posts!

          2. Yeah but aren’t most of them (I haven’t specifically looked, but from what I remember over the months) actually a good use of an Arduino? To do something useful with it?

            You may as well moan people are using too many printed circuit boards or resistors. While there are plenty of stupid things you can do with an Arduino, the stuff here’s usually interesting.

            And it’s not like all Arduinos only do one thing, they’re used in many ways in many projects. Like PCBs and resistors. In fact, yeah, it’s just a component! A versatile and easy one. No wonder they’re popular.

  1. You can have a piece of plastic with a weight and a spring cover the hole, maybe more than one if anal about it. And if you shorten the metal plugin bits, use insulating/ stiff material, you can make it into an actual USB charger as well, thanks to small usb chargers becoming common place, just attach the plugins from an actual charger to the “Buttons” and have a one way diote for power connecting to the usb cable/ spliced in. Just make an adapter for female to female usb and you have two things in one.

  2. A somewhat functional item was created by combining two very unrelated items,why is this not a hack? Really doesn’t matter if we don’t like it or aren’t likely to duplicate it. Perhaps those who seem to be PO’d about the small stuff, not to sweat have had their own submissions, rejected by hackaday?

    1. Hacks are supposed to make things MORE useful, using ingenuity! To get an advantage for free using one’s amazing technical insight and geek skillz to do something that ordinary mooks have to pay money for, or do the hard way. To cheat nature and logic itself, as once again man triumphs over nature!

      This is kind of the opposite, which makes it “art”.

      1. Says who? Anyway, there’s been a good few art installations etc. posted on HaD, too, and plenty of pointless, but entertaining things, like the Useless machine. It is what it is. if you don’t find it interesting, ignore it. it’s not like it’s existance offends you, is it?

  3. This reply thread is a great resource for highlighting who the real commentard sdaehkcid and stiwkcuf are. Mind you, to be honest it’s just the usual suspects. Again.

      1. a/ “backwards” is another description of these peoples attitudes
        b/ to avoid any censoring system there may be
        c/ to make the bastards work a little for their insult
        d/ all of the above

  4. I see this coming handy in an office env, to keep others from “quickly looking something up” on your pc if you step away and you forget to lock the pc…
    I use already for years a trackball on all my pc’s , in the day’s I was still working in an office i had also one there, most people stayed away from my computer because “that weird mouse doesn’t work properly”.. :)

    1. I have disabled the touchpad on my laptop and use only the touchpoint, it confuses people even worse than trackballs.

      Add to this that the buttons on the touchpad are also disabled so you have to use the other buttons halfway up the armrest (standard thinkpad design), and people usually go get their own computer rather than try to navigate mine :P

    1. I’m wondering the same thing. Was it a full moon? Was it something in the water? The sheer volume of hate is overwhelming, and I can’t recall seeing it get this bad on HAD ever (and I’ve been reading from year 1). It really made me sad to see how some folks chose to act on this thread.

      1. Nobody hates anybody. There’s just been a large expression of unimpressed. We’re not questioning his parentage or his mother’s morals. Just commenting on the hack, the subject of the article, and how it’s not very good.

        Good hacks get plenty of praise. What’s the problem?

  5. Dumb pointless hack. I’ve got a better idea: fit the mouse into a stuffed porcupine.
    Other ideas for people who think that this hack was awesome: a food processor in a grandmother clock, a lawnmower in a couch, and a pen drive into a space rocket. You’re welcome, and yes, I know I’m a awesome hacker too since I can come up with the great idea of putting into the case of . Of course, since the latter is much larger, the execution of the idea is not the real challenge.

  6. Wow, what is up with the rediculous levels of hate in this thread? I don’t get it. Everybody complaining about it being useless, go back and look at the numerous “useless machine” hacks hackaday has had over the years. I hate to burst all your hateful bubbles, but around here, the more useless the hack, the more awesome! This is a site about “because you can”, not “because it helps me to get more work done”. If you don’t like it, keep your mouth shut.

  7. I think HAD need to look at it’s be nice commenting policy again. I thought we went through this a while back.

    As someone who make lot of (mostly pointless) things, some of which have been on here, I have always found that of all the commenters on my projects who critisise what I have done or say they could have done it better or say they would have done it different, etc, not once has anyone ever actually proven this by doing it themselves.

    Actual constructive critisism from someone who knows what they are talking about and can demonstrate it is an exceedingly rare thing online. This is a real shame since as someone who wants to learn from the things I make I would welcome helpful suggestions.

    These days I find I am actively dissuaded from submitting my projects to sites like this just to avoid the streams of mindless, unhelpful comments. I still post online to my own blogs, mainly for friends to see what I am doing and for my own documentation purposes.

    I am breaking my own rule of only commenting on things when I have something useful to say but this thread, as others have pointed out, really shows how bad this problem is becoming.

    This is a nice little project Alec. I enjoyed reading about it. Don’t let the haters get you down!


    1. I agree with you, I like the content that hackaday posts. I’m not interested in everything that they post but that’s more taste than criticism. This post really is getting the most negative feedback that I’ve seen. What is really unusual is they are so basic it’s almost like a child has posted it.

      Greenaum is the best example, makes numerous comments for hack he finds useless??? Why do you keep filling up the comments with something you find useless and your definition of hacking is incorrect, may I suggest a dictionary.

      The project itself is interesting, because of its size I think adding some features is a must. Here’s an idea, because of the amount of excess room, making it able to change shape for comfort would be nice. It would be a “transformer wall wart mouse”.

      Alec, I hope this unusual amount of negative feedback doesn’t make you stop posting here. Unfortunately that is just how things are on this site, even with the attempts at reducing the pointless negative comments.

      1. Thanks for the constructive feedback — and to others who posted it as well.

        I’ll keep submitting to HaD because it’s been around forever, brings in a lot of traffic, and often leads to other coverage. For me, that’s worth the trouble. There’s already one commenter here who says he’s avoiding posting, though, and you can bet that means there are many more. HaD is already missing opportunities because of threads like this one.

        This project was an afternoon’s work and I had fun building it. It was fairly trivial but had a few interesting twists — having to cut the PCB, for example — that I thought made it worth sharing. The parts are cheap, plentiful, and often considered disposable, so it’s a good example for beginners. It’s pretty hard to argue that HaD has no place for it.

        If you do think this shouldn’t be on HaD, then your beef is with the editors, not me. I think it was Mike’s mention of “hipster value” in the write-up that really awoke the trolls, though, and the trolling has even spilled over into neighbouring threads where the same commenters are trying to stir up more negativity.

        Riling people up as an anonymous commenter is a cheap thrill but it sabotages the community. As http://dashes.com/anil/2011/07/if-your-websites-full-of-assholes-its-your-fault.html points out, it’s a solved problem, but it means work for the editors and their time is much better spent working with content.

        1. That’s good that your attitude about it is positive. Sorry that it is spewing over onto other sites.

          I gave more thought on making the mouse modular. It would neat if some well placed hinges will make the mouse more comfortable to use. I think it “transforming” would be awesome. Maybe add the transformers sound effect from the animation to it :) Not sure how much room you have.

      2. Why do I comment? Same reason people climb mountains. Why several different comments? I have several responses to several posts. The comments thread, that’s how it works.

        A dictionary is of limited practical use when actually speaking your native language. That’s why people use their brains instead. Metaphor, shades of meaning, circumstance. That sort of thing. Rigidly defined languages are for computers.

        I’ve commented plenty on this site over however long. I ask questions, I point out things I think might be helpful. I’ve said plenty of good things about good projects. I actually like asmecher’s Phonetendo, whoever it was should’ve submitted that.

        I think combining a mouse and a wall-wart like this makes something that’s no use as either, or as anything else. Tell me why it’s a good idea? In any way you like?

        Humans, as a race, don’t just think nice happy thoughts all the time. If [alec] goes off and kills himself because people didn’t like his mouse-wart, I’ll offer a symbolic apology to his family. Although I won’t actually mean it. I stand by my right to dislike things. A, I bullying him? Has anyone made any personal comments, or anything that’s crossed a line of politeness or decency?

        People simply don’t think much of a project. It happens. That’s why the highways aren’t full of Deloreans and Edsels. Most grown-ups have dealt with enough criticism in their lives that they can take it. They don’t need coddling, hand-holding, and people pretending to be offended on their behalf. It’s fine. Worse things happen at sea. I don’t think I’m a bad person for disliking mouse-wart. I don’t think a single bit of harm has come from this entire thread. Or even the website as a whole. We’re not the bleeding Samaritans.


        1. It’s not me who singled you out, Greenaum. I can handle ad hominem (there’s plenty above from a variety of posters) because I’m confident about what I’m doing and I know not everyone is going to “get it”. If this were my first foray into tinkering, however, I might well stop here. That is the *polar opposite* of hackaday’s reason for existing and it’s a risk they’ve already identified.

          Community-building is hard. Everyone here already understands the difference between constructive criticism — for the editors or for me — and personal attack. But if the best you can say about your contributions is that they probably didn’t contribute to a hypothetical suicide, I say aim higher.

        2. But your comments are not useful, in any way. And yes, harm has come from this thread. I won’t post my projects here anymore, I am sure others aren’t posting either. You’ll probably just say fine, no loss. Fair enough.

          But people need to think before they comment. No one cares if you don’t like something. Honestly, we don’t give a shit. So why bother saying it? Do you randomly haunt other forums just to say you don’t like things? Do you randomly approach people on the streets and say ‘Wow, your bum looks really fat in those’ or ‘I really hate that jacket you’re wearing’ or ‘that haircut does nothing for you, you should cut it like this”. I am guessing not so why do it on the Internet? Think to yourself, would I say this to this person personally. And what would their reaction be. If you approached me, said you didn’t like what I had done fine, I won’t debate it with you, I’d ignore you and talk to someone interesting instead.

          As for the constructive comments, well, generally they aren’t. Most often people make comments when they obviously haven’t read the articles. Or they make comments that are not helpful at all. Or they make massive assumptions about projects that were done obviously just for fun such as this one. You think the person who made or did whatever didn’t think about all these things themselves? It amazes me that people read about things, suddenly consider themselves an expert on whatever it is and immediately have to share their generally wrong opinions about something. What makes people think they know better than the person who made the thing in the first place?

          You can pick out those who honestly have something to add and I know in my own projects I will then often follow up with them personally. But 99% of the comments are no use at all. Why don’t you try saying nice things to people and, if you don’t have anything nice to say, try saying nothing. We won’t miss your negativity.

          I’d prefer an aggregation site with no comments to be honest. If people want to comment they can comment on my blogs directly to me and I then decide which comments are useful enough to publish. Unfortunately I know this won’t happen as it’s comments that drive traffic to sites like this.

          But perhaps it’s time for some sort of moderation system so we can at least filter out the least useful and hateful comments.


        3. I don’t like getting into arguments over semantics, but if you’re using a different definition of a word that is not known by others then it does make it harder to communicate. This would be the use of dictionaries.

          I shouldn’t have pointed you out exclusively, so I apologize for that.

          If you don’t like an article then contacting the web admins, as mentioned in the HaD article below, this would be more effective way of complaining about content. This method would make it so that others that want to discuss the project can (a little wishful thinking). There are people stating that they don’t want to be featured here because of the amount of negative comments. This is making HaD readers miss out on content.

          Yes some of the comments people were writing were directly targeting the person and not the project.

          Re-purposing an object is hacking, what Alec did was repurposed an old power supply into a mouse and HaD felt it was worthy of sharing. To be honest I originally just scanned the article and moved on. It was until another article’s comment section was attacking this hack that I read the comments.

          For a person that feels this is unworthy you put a lot of comments here that should be directed to the web admins or a start of a thread on a forum, as it has more to do with the delegation of HaD and not this hack.

          1. As the one who said I won’t be posting my projects here anymore I’d like to explain why. I also emailed the editors to explain my reasons to them.

            I can handle hateful comments. They don’t worry me. I post things I think people will like to see and find useful. And I want to help people who might learn by the things I do and the mistakes I make. If people have actual questions to ask me about something I want to be able to answer them. Luckily most people ask directly. But these comments should also be a place to provide additional information, answer questions and so on. When the thread is full pointless, hate filled comments it makes it very difficult to do this.

            Just like in real life it’s hard to have meaningful discussions when you’re continually interrupted by people telling you they don’t like something.


    1. @M4CGYV3R
      It was in the article and in the comment section that the pins are isolated.

      I could see a person doing that in a more public, situation(the users in the office would definately do that) but I don’t see that happening for the person that did this hack.

      Why all the hipster comments, this qualifies as a hack. The people that find interesting cases for the Raspi don’t get berrated like this and it is the same concept.

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