Could Your Next Mouse Be a Shape Shifter?

A new Apple Patent points to a customizable Magic Mouse

Why This Matters:

Aside from the keyboard (and maybe touch screen), the mouse is your most persistent point of computer contact. Ergonomics matter and there’s never been a one-size-really-fits-all mouse. Apple might try to change this.

A new Apple patent uncovered by Apple Insider lays out plans for a possible shape-shifting mouse, one that can reconfigure to your hand.

Magic Mouse 2
Courtesy of Apple

The details: The patent details a new Magic Mouse with actuators inside that let the top and sides adjust to fit the user’s hand. According to the patent abstract, changing the contours of the mouse could be used to “optimize the ergonomics of the mouse and/or deliver tactile feedback to users.”

A lot of parts: The patent describes the use of magnets, electromagnets, and even a pump to make the parts move and stick together. There might almost be a flexible membrane covering the whole thing. It almost sounds like a tiny robot mouse.

New Apple Mouse
A pair of images from the Apple patent showing how the shape of the Magic Mouse could change.  Apple / USPTO

Reality check: Apple files hundreds of patents each year. Some are filed simply to protect a novel idea that may never become a commercial product. Others are filed to protect technologies in products already in the marketplace.

Bottom line: Roughly 74% of Americans still use desktops and laptop computers, with most of them connected to a Bluetooth mouse. We choose these mice based on price, design, and functionality, but mostly we care about how they feel. This is one Apple patent that could have a very big impact if it ends up as a real product and Windows mice manufacturers copy the technology.

 Via: Apple Insider

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