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Mouse Dynamo

Alternative power source
  (+6, -5)
(+6, -5)
  [vote for,

This idea is based on the fact that a mouse (that isn't optical) has a ball that turns, and that a dynamo relies on a coil of wire rotating in a magnetic field.

If you look inside your bog-standard Microsoft IntelliMouse, you'll see it has 3 moving parts - the two black bits that register movement, and the little white wheel that holds the ball in place. If we could rig these moving parts to a dynamo using a complicated system of cogs, we could use the dynamo to generate power that could be dispatched to various sources, e.g: • It could replace batteries in a cordless mouse; • A cable atattched alongside the mouse cable could run power to a USB port or perhaps a small desktop lamp, etc.

There is, of course, a space concern as most mice nowadays are so small, but the same principle could be applied to other, larger peripherals and parts, such as the rotation of the hard disk, a joystick, or basically anything around your PC that moves. Including your swivelly chair.

NickTheGreat, Jun 06 2002

Movement characteristics of force feedback mouse http://www.yorku.ca/mack/IJHCS2.html
Without feedback, mouse requires about 0.8N force to move. [pottedstu, Jun 06 2002, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Dynamo Mouse http://neighbourhoo...ws/dynamomouse.html
Ann De Keersmaecker and Ken Langenakens, Human Powered Object Workshop, Belgium, 2007 [jutta, Mar 02 2007]


       nicely halfbaked, but the fact that the mouse generates energy means that the equivalent (and more, as it won't be 100% efficient) input energy needed will make the mouseball harder to move: quite possibly you'll need to make the mouse ball considerably heavier.   

       It would be pointless doing this for hdd rotations for the same reason: you'll just be (badly) recuperating energy you needn't have used in the first place. Joysticks are a better bet.
yamahito, Jun 06 2002

       Phew. Luckily I mentioned joysticks... I was just plucking components out of the air. So to speak.   

       Oh, and I may have an idea for the mouse ball aspect: couldn't we do something about the surface as well? Like.. I don't know.. make it out of felt, like a card table, so the mouse ball could get a better grip and so not slide along the table? Or will that make it worse.. this was never my strong suit.
NickTheGreat, Jun 06 2002

       well, yes, but you can't force someone to use a given surface - better to change the texture of the mouseball itself.   

       Also, although I don't have any figures to hand, the amount of power you'll produce will be tiny. You might possibly be able to replace the batteries in a cordless mouse (you need enough to send a signal and power two leds, pretty much), but you certainly wouldn't be able to power a lamp...
yamahito, Jun 06 2002

       How about if we supply the surface?   

       A very small lamp? Maybe if we set it up on a trackball thingy, which is bigger, we could get a bigger coil/magnetic field and thus generate more power.
NickTheGreat, Jun 06 2002

       Hey, I think the swivel chair idea is great, with a little modification; use pneumatic pressure on a piston to drive a generator (most decent chairs already have one). The seat slowly sinks, using the pressure bleed to spin up the generator, until the person stands up, allowing it to reset for more gravity-assisted dynamo spinning. Good exercise for a computer jocky, too!
ddickie, Jun 06 2002

       Won't that really annoy the sitter though, as they will gradually lose altitude and it shall become increasingly difficult to reach the keyboard. I was thinking more of the aspect of the chair that turns, so that those of us who like to spin round while thinking about JavaScript can generate power while doing so, perhaps also producing some delightful whizzy noise in the process.
NickTheGreat, Jun 07 2002

       Hrm, I remember that there are people out there who have prototyped a battery-less radio "clicker" that sends out an encoded signal. They were planning on developing these things as the end-all-be-all for remote access. (garage door openers, car alarm fobs, TV remote controls, doorbells - anything where you expect something to happen elsewhere when you push a button.) Obviously, the wearable computer/PDA-as-lifestyle-suppository crowd is all over this idea. Everyone wants a wireless keyboard that never runs out of juice.
bear, Jun 07 2002

       [bear]: not to dump on your annotation, but I don't see what the heck that has to do with the invention in question.   

       [Rods Tiger]: Perhaps you could sell them to some mass suicide cult.
NickTheGreat, Jun 10 2002

       I thought he meant real live mice...I had visions of endless rows in wheels, pretty much like hamsters, turning dynamos..
senatorjam, Jun 12 2002

       *consults animal rights division* Yes, we could do that. How about we do some monty python-esque thing vaguely resembling the mouse organ and malet sketch where we command the mice to run in various directions, pulling the computer's mouse with them.
NickTheGreat, Jun 12 2002

       "using a complicated system of cogs...There is, of course, a space concern." I dunno, the mental miage I get of a small mouse with a 9-inch wide, cast-iron flywheel somehow coming out of its side looks pretty cool. Probably woulnd't be too efficient, though.
nick_n_uit, Jun 12 2002

       I think you should first estimate the amount of energy you would get from the mouse ball rotation. I think it's very little and insignificant. However the same idea may be applied to other situations.
jcridea, Jun 12 2002

       Great idea... any volunteers??
NickTheGreat, Jun 16 2002

       Y'know I'd love to go and look up the stats but it appears that [pottedstu] has already done it, damn.
kaz, Jun 16 2002


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