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Apple may extend multi-touch to computer mice

post #1 of 50
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Apple Inc. has filed for a patent describing a computer mouse having a touch-sensitive shell capable of accepting multi-touch finger gestures, similar to the surface of the company's iPhone handset.

"The invention relates to a configurable mouse with an extended sensing surface, which provides the mouse a customizable, programmable or adaptable way of generating inputs," Apple wrote in the filing.

A "position detection mechanism" would detect the movement of the mouse along a surface, while "a multipoint touch detection mechanism" would simultaneously gather feedback from one or more objects that are contacting or in close proximity to a substantially large portion of the grippable mouse shell. "The mouse additionally includes a controller for processing signals generated by the position detection mechanism and multipoint touch detection mechanism," Apple explained.

The controller would include methods for obtaining images of a hand as it interacts with any portion of an arbitrarily shaped mouse housing. It would also obtain touch patterns for each image, extract control information from the resulting touch patterns, and control some aspect of a host device based on the control information.

As the filing explains in more detail: an "optical imaging system" could include "an illumination source for illuminating the 3D shaped top shell, an image sensor arrangement for imaging the 3D shaped top shell when the 3D shaped top shell is illuminated, and a wide angle lens assembly that allows the substantially large portion of the 3D shaped top shell to be imaged by the image sensor arrangement."

Apple said the illumination source would include one or more light sources, while the image sensor arrangement would also include one or more image sensors. "The mouse additionally includes a controller operatively coupled to the mouse tracking unit and optical imaging system, and configured to control the operations of the mouse tracking unit and the optical imaging system," the company wrote. "The controller includes a mouse tracking module associated with the mouse tracking unit and an optical sensing module associated with the optical imaging system."



Another embodiment of the invention calls for methods of imaging the entire or substantially large portion of a 3D shaped top shell of a mouse. This method would include mapping the 3D image to flat space, and segmenting the flat space image into one or more features -- each of which represents a discrete touch on the surface of the top shell.

"The method additionally includes calculating contact patch parameters for each of the features," Apple wrote. "Moreover, the method includes sending the contact patch parameters to the host device so that actions can be performed base on the contact patch parameters."



In yet another embodiment of the same invention, the mouse could include a housing forming a grippable surface and a sliding surface, the filing states. This mouse would also include a mouse tracking unit built into the sliding surface, and an input mechanism built into the grippable surface that itself includes a touch sensitive protruding member that is supported by a force feedback unit that is attached to the housing.

"The force feedback unit produces force feedback at the touch sensitive protruding member in response to inputs generated at the touch sensitive surface," Apple explained.

The March 13, 2006 filing is credited to Apple employees Christoph Krah and Steve Hotelling.
post #2 of 50
Might want to merge this with the Multi-Mouse thread to keep things tidy...

 

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Your = the possessive of you, as in, "Your name is Tom, right?" or "What is your name?"

 

You're = a contraction of YOU + ARE as in, "You are right" --> "You're right."

 

 

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post #3 of 50
I have a feeling that the R&D group at Apple sits around saying two things: (1) "What heck is the matter with our competition? Why do we have to do all the envelope-pushing" (2) "Boy, this is like swiping candy from a baby's hands."

PS: You should correct the spelling error in the first sentence ("sensitive", not "sensAtive"). Since AI gets high billing in many places these days (including hi-profile sites such as news.google.com), you want to put forward your best. Indeed, on that point, perhaps it is time you guys hired some editorial/copy-editing staff?
post #4 of 50
This could also be a defensive move.
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post #5 of 50
why not simply incorporate a touch area, ,also glass and maybe a little bit bigger than the iphone into the keyboard?

the multi touch mouse seems overly complex.
post #6 of 50
I'm not sure how much I'd like using all five of my fingers.

Lets hope it's something good.
post #7 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by palex9 View Post

why not simply incorporate a touch area, ,also glass and maybe a little bit bigger than the iphone into the keyboard?

the multi touch mouse seems overly complex.

Hence my comment it may be defensive, just to prevent MS et al doing there usual R&D (i.e. copying Apple any way they can). To them it would be better than nothing. Now Apple is blocking anything they can. ... Just a guess as i agree it would be a bit lame from Apple.
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post #8 of 50
They keep trying to make a mouse more sophisticated, yet they continue to make the worst mice available. I'll stick with my Logitech 3 button scroll mouse.
post #9 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by jocknerd View Post

They keep trying to make a mouse more sophisticated, yet they continue to make the worst mice available. I'll stick with my Logitech 3 button scroll mouse.

My first thought exactly! I mean, is the world really in need of a revolution in mouse technology? Oh well, it will be interesting to see those $200 mice!
post #10 of 50
I've tried many mice and actually have only one on all my Macs now: MightyMouse. don't know what everyone's fuss is with it. Mine have always worked fine and are simpler to use than some of the other mice out there.

The new mouse with a touch screen sounds like a major step forward, and yes, the world needs a revolutionary mouse. Like the multitouch keyboard possibilities, the mouse would work wonders. It could be programmed to respond differently depending on where it was located on the GUI, thus making controls come to life. The entire mouse could be controlled by a finger or two; this could be a miracle come true for some handicapped individuals, not to mention many others.

 

Your = the possessive of you, as in, "Your name is Tom, right?" or "What is your name?"

 

You're = a contraction of YOU + ARE as in, "You are right" --> "You're right."

 

 

Reply

 

Your = the possessive of you, as in, "Your name is Tom, right?" or "What is your name?"

 

You're = a contraction of YOU + ARE as in, "You are right" --> "You're right."

 

 

Reply
post #11 of 50
If it is indeed as revolutionary and easy to use as I imagine, people will be prepared to shell out $100. That is my prediction.
post #12 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

This could also be a defensive move.

I think you're right. Touch screen is a much better interface, and this sounds too complicated to be something Apple would really do. Maybe I'm wrong, but I think we're going to see the end of mice (and possibly keyboards) in the not-too-distant future. This patent seems to be more a protective action than a real product in the works.
post #13 of 50
I don't know why it would have to be a mouse at all. Why not just make a flat sensor? It could sense a spot from your finger and move wherever your finger went. Or, like a graphics tablet, you could simply drop your finger wherever you needed it, and then with a slight move, get to where it needed to be, rather than slide it all the way.

The device could be a small replica og the screen in shape, again, just like a tablet.

Multitouch would work as well.

There are a number of ways to do this.
post #14 of 50
A good use for this would be on a trackpad. Imagine dragging files and folders around by pretty much scrolling in any direction and actually move your cursor in a click and move thing. (click with one finger and drag with the other). Also, imagine the possiblility of hooking up two mice to a computer and instead of them both controlling the same cursor, adding a second to the screen and have them each control one of them. That could provide some interesting possibilities.
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post #15 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bergermeister View Post

I've tried many mice and actually have only one on all my Macs now: MightyMouse. don't know what everyone's fuss is with it. Mine have always worked fine and are simpler to use than some of the other mice out there.

Here are a couple of issues with the Mighty Mouse:

1) If it is set up with different functions for left and right click, the mighty mouse often works erratically if there is more than 1 finger touching the top of the mouse, which is the way most computer users hold the mouse. For example, a left click sometimes becomes a right click. A right click sometimes fails to do anything.

2) The mighty mouse does not support pressing more than one button at a time. On my Logitech MX mouse, I can hold down the side button to activate Expose to show the desktop, drag an icon using the left button, release the side button to make windows visible again, then release the left button to drop the icon onto the window.
post #16 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bergermeister View Post

Might want to merge this with the Multi-Mouse thread to keep things tidy...

or just delete it!
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post #17 of 50
If that diagram with the circles for each finger on the mouse is correct, the mouse would have to be very large (width) because I don't know many people that have hands small enough for them to have index, middle, and ring fingers on the top surface of the mouse and pinky on the side of it, like is shown.

Update: Actually, I tried it again and it seems possible, but it's not very comfortable (the 3 fingers on top are pretty squished together)
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post #18 of 50
I would like to see support for pressure sensitive mouse buttons. This could be useful in Photoshop as well as games.
post #19 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Haggar View Post

Here are a couple of issues with the Mighty Mouse:

1) If it is set up with different functions for left and right click, the mighty mouse often works erratically if there is more than 1 finger touching the top of the mouse, which is the way most computer users hold the mouse. For example, a left click sometimes becomes a right click. A right click sometimes fails to do anything.

2) The mighty mouse does not support pressing more than one button at a time. On my Logitech MX mouse, I can hold down the side button to activate Expose to show the desktop, drag an icon using the left button, release the side button to make windows visible again, then release the left button to drop the icon onto the window.

Your second statement is simply not true. I do the exact same movement on my mighty mouse. I have the centre click set up to move all windows and revel the desktop (expose) and I can then click and drag with the left button to select files, click the centre again to get my windows back and then move files into those finder windows.
post #20 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by jocknerd View Post

They keep trying to make a mouse more sophisticated, yet they continue to make the worst mice available. I'll stick with my Logitech 3 button scroll mouse.

Is there another mouse with 360º scrolling? Because I find that to be incredible.
post #21 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Haggar View Post

2) The mighty mouse does not support pressing more than one button at a time. On my Logitech MX mouse, I can hold down the side button to activate Expose to show the desktop, drag an icon using the left button, release the side button to make windows visible again, then release the left button to drop the icon onto the window.

Are you sure you've describe this correctly? It usually takes one click to toggle Expose. So, if what you are describing is true, that means that your Logitech has both pressing and releasing mapped to the same click event. That would be pretty frustrating if you wanted to just show the desktop and leave it shown.
post #22 of 50
Oh, for crying out loud, Apple. Stop trying to reinvent the wheel! You bought Fingerworks. Put the iGesture pads back into production and be done with it. They're a proven design. The only things I would change are the addition of strain relief for the USB cord and diagonal scrolling a la Mighty Mouse (should be easy enough since the iGesture doesn't recognize four-finger diagonal movements right now). I just can't see it being that easy to use MultiTouch gestures on a mouse shell without accidentally moving the mouse in the process.
post #23 of 50
I'd prefer a touch keyboard over a touch mouse as long as it had a changeable key panel. It wouldn't have to be a display but just have removable printed sheets and you could print your own if you wanted.

I also don't see what's wrong with the current general mouse design that has actual buttons. I really don't like the pill design either as it's not very ergonomic. The finger tips sit lower down than the palm and yet Apple mice put them at nearly the same height.

Why can't they just bundle a nice Logitech mouse with their machines? It wouldn't cost them any R&D so they'd save a whole heap of money and customers would be happier both with the price and the quality.

A suppose a multi-touch mouse would be better than the mighty-mouse but how do you move it without activating the sensors?
post #24 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by nufase View Post

Your second statement is simply not true. I do the exact same movement on my mighty mouse. I have the centre click set up to move all windows and revel the desktop (expose) and I can then click and drag with the left button to select files, click the centre again to get my windows back and then move files into those finder windows.

No, you are not doing the exact same movement. I'm not referring to clicking a button once to show the desktop and then clicking it a second time to bring the windows back. I am referring to holding down the expose button to show the desktop, and while that button on the mouse is held down, you hold down the left click button to drag icons. So at this point, 2 buttons are being held down. Then release the expose button to bring back all the windows. Then release the left click button to drop the icon into the folder window.
post #25 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by meelash View Post

Are you sure you've describe this correctly? It usually takes one click to toggle Expose. So, if what you are describing is true, that means that your Logitech has both pressing and releasing mapped to the same click event. That would be pretty frustrating if you wanted to just show the desktop and leave it shown.

Try this: click on the Apple menu in the menu bar. The menu drops down and stays down until you click it again. Now try holding down the mouse button on the Apple menu. The menu stays down until you release the button.

If you configure a mouse button to Expose and simply click the button, it activates Expose. Clicking the button again deactivates Expose. But if you hold down the button, it activates Expose and stays activated until the button is released.

The mighty mouse can't recognize multiple buttons being pressed at the same time. So you can't hold down one button to activate Expose, and keep that button held down while doing a drag operation using another button. This limitation does not only affect Expose. This also affects other software such as games which use multiple mouse buttons simultaneously.
post #26 of 50
I'm surprised the WoW players haven't been crying about the mighty mouse not being able to hold more than one button - if you only have one hand free for WoW for some reason (you all have dirty minds.), you can hold the left and right mouse button down at the same time and your character will run forwards and moving the mouse turns him/her.

Matt
post #27 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by JupiterOne View Post

My first thought exactly! I mean, is the world really in need of a revolution in mouse technology? Oh well, it will be interesting to see those $200 mice!

When Apple launched the Mac in 1984, there as an onslaught of criticism surrounding the mouse. Unfortunately, we still see it today. Amazing, no matter what Apple applies a patent for, there is this band of asinine idiots that just can't say anything nice about it.

No matter what Steve's position is on the mouse, it still holds true today that most don't use anywhere near the capable functionalities that many companies have designed them to do. In either event, if it weren't for Apple, it is highly doubtful that we would have the options that are available today and I would suggest that it will be Apple that once again provides the innovative impetus to expand further.

I, as a Mac'r through and through am very pleased to leave the innovations to Apple. However, when it comes to getting a mouse, I endorse the likes of Logitech, Macally and even Microsoft to use Apples technology to manufacture and profit from it. Why? Because I look upon the mouse as I would look on a golf, baseball or ski glove(s). What may feel great on one, doesn't always fit or suit another.
post #28 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abster2core View Post

When Apple launched the Mac in 1984, there as an onslaught of criticism surrounding the mouse. Unfortunately, we still see it today. Amazing, no matter what Apple applies a patent for, there is this band of asinine idiots that just can't say anything nice about it.

No matter what Steve's position is on the mouse, it still holds true today that most don't use anywhere near the capable functionalities that many companies have designed them to do. In either event, if it weren't for Apple, it is highly doubtful that we would have the options that are available today and I would suggest that it will be Apple that once again provides the innovative impetus to expand further.

But you miss the point. People aren't complaining about the "mouse" as an entity, they're specifically complaining about the mighty mouse. Two button mice have been around for ages. Yet it took apple 15 years to decide that they themselves should make one, and then they make a really crappy one.

And why is this? Its because Apple decided to create a solution for a problem that didn't exist. I don't recall anyone ever complaining "Damn, I like the concept of a two-button mouse, but the whole idea of having this line right down the middle so I know where the left and where the right button are is really hideous! If only someone would make a one-button mouse that acted like a two button mouse!" Just because Apple does it, or its different, doesn't, by default, make it innovative.

Its just another example of how Apple places style over substance, usability, user-friendliness. Like laptops that don't have easy-to-replace components. Or phones that require that don't have a user-replacable battery. Or a computer (the mini) that requires a putty knife to open (yes, only apple could get away with making such a device and not be blasted for it), and, even after that, is extremely difficult to service.
post #29 of 50
A multi-touch mouse (which I theorized months ago, btw ) could be very useful for navigating in 3D space, for the Z-axis...

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post #30 of 50
I think they should loose mouse all together and develop the technology from the Finger-works gesture pad that they bought. I think using multi-touch on a fat surface, and loosing the mouse all together is a better solution. Then again, what if they are planning on developing both mice, and the touch pad to give us options. That's what I would like to see now that Apple has some spending dough. Have a standard mouse that comes with all their computers, and have two upgrades. That would be sick!
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post #31 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by meelash View Post

Are you sure you've describe this correctly? It usually takes one click to toggle Expose. So, if what you are describing is true, that means that your Logitech has both pressing and releasing mapped to the same click event. That would be pretty frustrating if you wanted to just show the desktop and leave it shown.

It's most likely that his mouse buttons only react to a release when the button is held down long enough, whereas a short tap will only act once, much like a left click on the Dock opens a program, whereas a held-down left click will bring up the contextual menus.
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post #32 of 50
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post #33 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Louzer View Post

But you miss the point. People aren't complaining about the "mouse" as an entity, they're specifically complaining about the mighty mouse.

Where in hell does this article or my comment refer to the mighty mouse?

By the way, only 3 people made any specific comments against the Mighty Mouse and an equal number defended it. So what is your problem.
post #34 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by JupiterOne View Post

My first thought exactly! I mean, is the world really in need of a revolution in mouse technology? Oh well, it will be interesting to see those $200 mice!

How about just a touch sensitive mouse pad with iPhone gestures. I think that would be cool.
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post #35 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by meelash View Post

Is there another mouse with 360º scrolling? Because I find that to be incredible.

I admit I have only tried the Mighty Mouse for a little while, but scrolling horizontal and vertical at the same time didn't really seem seamless. It wasn't so far from the mice that have horizontal scrolling through sideways-tilting scroll wheel.
post #36 of 50
hey cool....... with this technology they could get rid of the nipple on the mighty mouse! i want the sleekness of the old pro mouse with the optional scroll capability but without a physical nipple sticking out like on the mighty mouse,which gets in my way,which is why i am holding onto dearly to my blue tooth pro mouse!!!!!
post #37 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gon View Post

I admit I have only tried the Mighty Mouse for a little while, but scrolling horizontal and vertical at the same time didn't really seem seamless. It wasn't so far from the mice that have horizontal scrolling through sideways-tilting scroll wheel.

I have a Mighty Mouse and I have never actually scrolled horizontally. Usually if I maximize/zoom the window, I no longer have any need (or even ability) to scroll horizontal. Hell, there have been times when I couldn't scroll down because the device is getting gunked up. I really miss my Microsoft Wireless Intellimouse Explorer with the two extra side buttons, not to mention that it was an actual ergonomic shape. I miss having that side button to use to activate the Back button while web browsing (sadly the last iteration of the Intellimouse moved the second button too far away for me to easily push). I suppose I could configure the scroll ball button function to activate Back, but it's so small I don't think about it being a button. The side buttons on the Mighty Mouse are useless; the mouse is so badly shaped I find impossible to easily push both buttons to get it to activate nor can they be programmed to work independently (I sort of remember reading that there's a 3rd-party app that will let you do that). And as someone else stated, getting the right button to work is problematic because you can't have a finger resting on the left side when you click on the right; I think I've trained myself now but it was a frustrating start.

Anyone have any recommendations on a nice, multi-button Bluetooth mouse?
post #38 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gon View Post

I admit I have only tried the Mighty Mouse for a little while, but scrolling horizontal and vertical at the same time didn't really seem seamless. It wasn't so far from the mice that have horizontal scrolling through sideways-tilting scroll wheel.

If I recall correctly, by default, 360º scrolling is not turned on for some reason; You have to go to system preferences and turn it on. Otherwise you just have separate sideways and up and down scrolling. (I'll admit that I used mine for a few weeks without even knowing it was there :embarass

It's very useful in column view in Finder, in Itunes browser, PDF documents, etc.
post #39 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Haggar View Post

No, you are not doing the exact same movement. I'm not referring to clicking a button once to show the desktop and then clicking it a second time to bring the windows back. I am referring to holding down the expose button to show the desktop, and while that button on the mouse is held down, you hold down the left click button to drag icons. So at this point, 2 buttons are being held down. Then release the expose button to bring back all the windows. Then release the left click button to drop the icon into the folder window.

ok, im using a mighty mous right now

i click AND HOLD centre button, all my windows are gone
while holding centre button, i make a left click and drag to select files
i then LET GO of centre button, all my windows are back.

i then drag the selected files into a window

you CAN press mroe than one button at a time.

maybe your mouse is broken
post #40 of 50
I'm happy with my current mouse. A medium small Logitech. I don't like Apple's mice, too big and cumbersome feeling. Smaller mouse just fitss my hands better and seems more nimble to move around.

What I REALLY want is a Powermac WITH NO FANS! or an iMac WITH NO FANS!

Apple needs to solve the HEAT and FAN issue once and for all. I'm so tired of my 747 jet plane (Powermac G5) taking off every time I open an application, surf the web, watch a QT movie or just breath!http://forums.appleinsider.com/images/smilies/1hmm.gif
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