Modular Mouse Packs Features

Not only do console gamers complain about the use of a mouse, but PC users themselves often don’t have kind words to say even about some of the higher-end options. Granted, their gripes aren’t about game experience or balance, they’re usually about comfort, features, or longevity of the mice themselves. So far we haven’t seen many people try to solve these problems, but [benw] recently stepped on the scene with a modular mouse that can fit virtually any need.

Called the RX-Modulus, this mouse has been designed from the ground up to be completely open source from hardware to software. Most of the components can be 3D printed to suit an individual’s particular grip style by making adjustments. The electronics can be custom fitted as well. Users can swap out mouse buttons and wheels in any number of positions, and replace them when they wear out. To that end, one of the goals of this project is also to avoid any planned obsolescence that typically goes along with any current consumer-level product.

While [benw] currently only has a few prototypes under his belt, he’s far enough along with the project that he’s willing to show it off to the community. His hopes are that there are others that see a need for this type of mouse and can contribute to the final design. After all, there are all kinds of other custom mice out there that would have been much easier builds with [benw]’s designs at hand.

26 thoughts on “Modular Mouse Packs Features

  1. Awesome project!

    I’ve been working on a custom trackball and hope you sell an electronics kit.

    Got electronics/guts I’ve been using these cheap Perixx trackballs (I have a preference for wired devices which cuts down my options):
    For ~$27usd it’s nice deal. The optical sensor and scrollwheel are on separate circuit boards, as are two of the buttons, all connected to a main board with JST connects (4 circuit boards in total). This makes it easy to swap in your own switches, put things where you need them to be, without having to do too much de-soldering (it still leaves two main switches and the two resolution adjustment switches on the main board).

    1. Thank you, I’m the same as you and prefer a wired mouse. Good luck on your project it certainly sounds good. You are more then welcome to help create an trackball module of this project of you fancy it :P At some point I’ll make a joystick module as well. So much to do on my end haha

  2. That’s some heavy design work, good job!
    I’m wondering about the final weight (as it can be an issue).
    And what about shell enclosure? It’s a bit too T-1000 like for me.

    Also, as usually one don’t adjust button position daily, mechanisms are an extra burden: why not having a parametric mouse: a main controller board and connectable button/interface with a 3D CAD package to customize the final shell to be printed? (with correct pegs for interface).
    You could even have 3D scanned commercial mouses for reference so you know what to adjust before printing.

    1. Haha I have heard that it looked like a T-1000 by a few people. The mouse images shown on the blog are of the bare bones structure of the mouse. There will be a shell or panels to define the shape. Just haven’t developed that too much as my freeform model is very weak.

      Your sugguestion is certainly a good one and I have toyed with the idea for some time now. To make that happan I would certainly require some help :P it’s 100% doable and a great fit for this project.

      As for weight I’ll keep everyone posted on as I haven’t built everythink yet. I’m sure the prototype mouse we be alittle on the heavy side. But I can address that after the prototype :)

  3. “Not only do console gamers complain about the use of a mouse, but PC users themselves often don’t have kind words to say even about some of the higher-end options. ”

    Though this is a wonderful effort , rather than build a better version of something that is intrinsically problematic, why not push towards a human interface device that is intrinsically better? IMHO the only reason mice are still common is that they’re cheap enough to be nearly disposable so they’re included with new desktops, and very intuitive to use so that’s what people continue to use.

    Touchscreens are problematic for large monitors but laptop users have been reasonably happy with touchpads, and these are available on keyboards as well. I haven’t used a mouse on my mainstream machines in decades and have literally worn the paint off my trackballs since they don’t move and don’t really wear out. They also offer the advantage of not having to move through a cluttered workspace.

    So how about a challenge: Cheap, durable, unobtrusive, and works intuitively and with ever-larger screen spaces.

    1. I just can’t get used to a trackball. I’ve tried, and it just doesn’t work for me. Trackpads are a terrible way to input fine control. Their only advantage is that their compact and well sealed, which makes them ideal for the laptop application. A pen/drawing tablet can sort of work in some situations but doesn’t always work well either. I keep going back to mice, as they just work well enough in almost all situations.

      1. While I agree trackballs take getting used to if you grew up with only a regular mouse I personally love ’em now. For me they are faster and more precise than a normal mouse now and I can have 3 mice on my desk (so no need for fiddling switch gear) and still have more room left on the desk for other junk than the space needed to run one conventional mouse…
        Trackpads are not inherently flawed its the execution more than anything else that hurts them – if you have a steam controller you know those trackpads make excellent trackball/joystick/button pads (again with a learning curve but at least its ergonomic). They just need to be situated in the right place to be user friendly which in laptops they never are.

        For me however I think a graphics tablet with pen is probably the ‘best’ for accessibility and working across large screens (as long as the tablet has the sensitivity to map large screen travel to small pen motions effectively. Even youngsters of today know how to handle a pen/stick like object and there are many options in how you grip it should you lack normal flexibility in your hands. I’ve had something like 6x the screen area to a very cheap small graphics tablet I bought to test the idea out with well over a decade ago now and it was superb (though ate AA batteries rather quick with its active pen – something that can be avoided with WACOM style passive pens easily enough today).

        1. Is It a common gripe that mice Are inherently flawed input mechanism? I’m interested because personally I haven’t had any issues with them what so ever. I’m a graphic designer and a gamer so I would call myself a power user. I have a surface laptop with pen and touchscreen and of course trackpad, and a wacom tablet, yet still my preferred tool Is the mouse (though it has to be nice one). Never tried a track all though….

    2. >reasonably happy with touchpads

      It’s a travesty that more laptops don’t come with trackpoints. Touchpads are very awkward to use for anything: dragging and dropping is difficult, middle click is difficult, middle click and track is impossible… etc. all the different modifiers that are available in games and other software, like pressing the right button while scrolling, are relegated to “gestures” which don’t work reliably at all. As an input device, it’s like tying your other hand behind your back and gluing your thumb to your palm.

      A trackpoint at least gives you simultaneous control of the three buttons while moving the cursor, so you get some of the control back, and scrolling is possible on the touchpad with the thumb – although MS removed the CW/CCW scrolling gesture from W10, and they’ve generally tried to cripple the trackpoint by hiding the settings so you have to hack them back.

      If you only have a touchpad, you have to carry a wireless mouse to do much.

      1. So effectively, if you want to replace the mouse, you really need to think of an input device that moves a cursor while having 2-3 possible modifiers and 2-5 actions and at least three axis of movement (X-Y and scroll) which can be affected by the modifiers.

        Think of an imaginary CAD program for example: left button selects or draws, right button picks a tool or special option, scrolling zooms, left+drag selects objects, middle+drag orbits the view, right+drag pans the view, double middle click centers the view… etc. you have a ton of different possible functions at your fingertip to manipulate the program.

        If your needs are simple – that you’re happy slowly clicking through web pages or just pointing and clicking at icons – then you can do with as simple as a touch screen, but for productivity it’s really difficult to beat the computer mouse.

  4. Although I find the design and CAD job amazing, I doubt this would be a delight to use.
    I love the ideas that have been put into this (TFT on buttons, haptic feedback).
    Any chance benw would share CAD files ? Just for curiosity.

  5. I recently saw a mouse (Logitech, I think) that stands on edge, so you don’t have to twist your wrist. It felt really nice in the store–but as I alternate using both hands, I’d need to have two of them, and at a hundred bucks a pop….

    1. Yeah I’ve seen those and been curious but not at that price, even more so as I am happy with my trackball collection.

      I don’t see why the top contouring making the edge mouse can’t be slip on and off so you just need to fit the mirrored top to use your other hand. But does seem like those of us that are Lefties or Ambidextrous do tend to get ignored or catered to only be bespoke super inflated price left hand versions.

    2. They’re called a “vertical mouse” you can get them for $20 from generic chinese manufacturers. Obviously build quality and features will match the price, so – choose wisely.

    1. Multi-zone touch points per pad area with the capacitive touch component, and the screen can show where those zones are. The image above shows 3 colored areas, could be made separate functions.

      Could also show things like click configuration state. Shows one dot normally, but when a modifier is toggled it shows 3 dots when set to perform 3 100ms clicks rapidly with one press.

      Idle state can do all the pretty rgb action those types of keyboards and mice do today too.

      This is the beauty of a modular design in anything. Just because you don’t want that module doesn’t mean the module must not exist.
      It can be swapped out with a single momentary button if that’s what you’d prefer.
      It can even be swapped with a multi button module that packs buttons in a tighter grid with feedback by way of being actual buttons you can feel. I hear some of the MMO people love that.

  6. The Posturite Penguin mouse is vertical and ambidextrous. I’ll never go back to a flat mouse. I don’t switch hands a ton, since my left hand is less adept, but I do take advantage of it a few times a day when reading news. Check it out!

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