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Virtual Mouse

Mousepad with upward staring IR camera provides user with virtual mouse input.
 
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The input device appears to be a mousepad. In the center of the pad is an upward staring IR camera and LED (invisible to human eyes--using the same IR LEDs as remote controls). This camera tracks the texture of the user's palm for mouse motion.

The bottom area has some pressure sensors, which tell the device whether the virtual mouse is "on the ground" or "in the air". When in the air, the mouse pointer doesn't move.

The upper area has two large clicky buttons stealthed under the surface, and a second upward staring sensor in the middle. Those two clicky buttons are the left and right mouse buttons. The third mouse button is emulated by pressing both buttons simultaneously. The central upward mouse sensor is the mousewheel.

Thus, the user has full functionality of a wheel mouse without the mouse itself.

The virtual mouse may be useful for mobile computing, since the thin flat mousepad is a more convenient shape than a mouse.

IJK, Mar 19 2007

It's in the oven... https://phys.org/ne...le-mouse-video.html
[2 fries shy of a happy meal, Jan 20 2019]

[link]






       So, how would this be better than a touch pad?
jutta, Mar 19 2007
  

       Touchpads don't provide the kind of precision and responsiveness a mouse can provide. For example, whether playing an FPS or painting an image, the mouse is good because it relies upon the motion of the entire hand.   

       A touchpad simply isn't as good as a mouse, which is why you rarely see people using them in favor of mice on a desktop system.   

       The virtual mouse is almost as good as a normal mouse, making the computing experience more pleasant, especially for people who despise touchpads.
IJK, Mar 19 2007
  

       I think the problem with touchpads (assuming you mean the kind on laptops) is that they are much smaller than a mousemat, not that they are less accurate.   

       I think a large touchpad would be fine, especially if you could make it use the heel of the hand for movement, detect finger taps and scrolling finger drags and differentiate between fingers for right clicking or maybe use 2 finger clicking.
marklar, Mar 19 2007
  

       That's essentially the idea, except that a touchpad wouldn't be good at figuring out the motion of the hand's heel since it's spread over a huge irregular area. An upward staring mouse sensor using invisible IR light solves that problem.   

       Also, I don't like the "feel" of just using a pressure sensitive pad for button presses. There's a reason why even touchpads are supplied with buttons that physically move downward. It gives you tactile feedback that you've "clicked" something down.   

       By the time a large touchpad is turned into something useful, it becomes my virtual mouse concept.   

       Note that if you just make a large touchpad that operates the same way as current touchpads, you end up forcing the user to hover his hand above the surface. That's not good.
IJK, Mar 19 2007
  

       the buttons in your idea mean that you would have to lift your hand up when your pointer was in the correct place and move to the buttons, hence your idea also requires the user to hover his hand above the surface.   

       Also, how will you upward facing mouse sensor see anything which isn't directly about it? ie, the heel of a hand.   

       I think your idea is halfway to emulating the UID from Minority Report, which has been baked, it uses 2 cameras mounted on either side of the monitor. You can use it as you would a traditional mouse and keyboard using paper printouts or you can grab stuff as in the film.   

       The only way I can think of to provide tactility in these kind of systems is to have a gloves that clicks your fingers, but then you may as well use the glove as the sensor mechanism too.
marklar, Mar 20 2007
  

       This has given me an idea (not the gloves, though that's not a bad idea, [maklar]) - I think I'll post it sometime
TheLightsAreOnBut, Mar 20 2007
  

       You don't need to lift your hand to operate the buttons because the buttons are very large (like maybe an entire quadrant of the pad).   

       I'm thinking of a relatively small mousepad, so that there will always be part of the palm over the sensor. For a larger mousepad, you'd need multiple sensors. That increases the cost and complexity of the device.
IJK, Mar 20 2007
  

       [link]   

       Apple's multitouch trackpads are easily good enough for gaming. You don't get as many buttons for quick actions as on a fancy mouse, but the only disadvantages I've found relative to a basic mouse are that you can't easily right-drag or scroll while aiming/pointing.
notexactly, Jan 20 2019
  
      
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