Microsoft makes a number of different products, and one line of their products that has proven quite popular is their line of Microsoft optical mice. A Microsoft optical mouse makes use of a light emitting diode along with photodiodes to detect the movement of the mouse. Prior to this technology, mice used small rubber balls to transmit the movement to the computer. These little balls would turn three different little rollers, which in turn relayed signals to the computer. However, dirt, dust, and other gunk often collect on these rollers, making the movement of the mouse jerky. Users would often have to remove the rubber ball and clean the rollers on a regular basis.
With an optical mouse, however, that is not an issue. The diode does not ever have to be cleaned, and there are no rollers to collect dirt. This allows for the mouse to be moved smoothly across the mouse pad all the time. The optoelectric sensor actually takes images of the surface over which the mouse moves. Today’s modern Microsoft optical mouse uses special image-processing chips that allow it to detect many different motions on different types of surfaces. Microsoft optical mice will work without a mouse pad and on a variety of surfaces because of this, although a flat surface is still the best. Glossy surfaces or transparent surfaces, however, do not work as well. A special program called the optical flow estimation algorithm translates the signals sent from the image processor to the computer, telling it where to move the mouse pointer on the screen.
While Microsoft has been making optical mice for the past ten years or so, the very first optical mouse was unveiled by two different, independent inventers back in 1980. These early mice were divided into two different types. Some, like the ones invented at MIT, used infrared LED lights and a predictive algorithm to calculate the mouse speed and direction. The other type of optical mouse made use of a 16-pixel image sensor that had a motion detector integrated on the chip. This tracked the motion of different light dots on the mouse pad. Both were used widely until the modern optical mouse with its optoelectronic sensor became the standard.
Most diodes used by optical mice today are red. Most of the products in the Microsoft optical mouse line use red diodes simply because red diodes were the cheapest when the optical mouse was first invented. However, it is possible to find optical mice with blue, green, or clear diodes, and there are even some that cycle through different colors.
If you’re looking for a Microsoft optical mouse, you’ll find them in just about any computer store. Microsoft sells a variety of different optical mice. Some connect to you computer via a cable, while others are wireless. Microsoft optical mice are also available in smaller versions for laptops and netbooks.