Computer Mouse: Consumer Driven Innovation
The computer mouse controls the pointer on a computer screen, allowing a user to navigate throughout programs, websites, etc. The mouse is moved around a surface by the user’s hand in order to translate that movement to the pointer on the computer screen. Computers were only invented shortly before the earliest mice were developed, and there were very few computers around. There was little demand for an invention like this, but before the mouse was invented computer users could use joysticks to control the on-screen pointer. Before the mouse was invented user’s wanted a more efficient way to navigate around a computer screen. The problem to be solved was that the method of navigating pointers onscreen was slow and tedious so a more elegant method was wanted. There were competitions between designs which exploited different body movements and the hand powered mouse came out on top. Customer’s concluded that it was much easier to move their hand around to control a pointer than another body part. Keep in mind this still only applied to a small amount of people who had access to early computers. The customer’s did have ideas similar to the current product but they did not have the technology to develop it right away. They wanted more comfortable ways to maneuver the pointer. So the main factor that may have come into play was decreasing the size to fit into someone’s hands.
In the last two decades the mouse has evolved into a product that is widely available and widely used by the public. Since computers themselves were becoming smaller, cheaper, and more common in households, it allowed mouse developers a reason to dedicate more resources to innovate the product. During this time there were many different prototypes being produced that more directly addressed the problems of the time compared to initial developments of the product. For example, some of the first commercially sold mice made use a rubber ball to facilitate movement as compared to the previous method of movement that did not allow movement in two directions at the same time. The Lisa (Local Integrated System Architecture) was the among the first commercially sold mice produced by Apple Inc. that incorporated a steel ball instead of the more common (at the time) rubber ball. The ball prototype was originally developed during World War 2 for fire-control radar but was later incorporated into the everyday mouse. The roller ball as opposed to the wheels from before addressed the issues in the previous development looking at the unmet needs of the time (including how many buttons, how loud the clicks should be, and how fast the movement should be, etc.) making it easier and more intuitive to use. For nearly 20 years the design remained unchanged. However, as computers became more prevalent, advancements in the mouse followed. One example was the jump from the standard one button mouse to the two button mouse as computers became more powerful and had more functions that a mouse would have control. The optical mouse (which was first developed in the early 1980s, however was too expensive for most to own as the technology was not there yet) became more popular at the end of the 20th century. The optical mouse eliminated the issues that the rubber and metal ball mice had, as they would accumulate dust and dirt over time and optical mice would not. Another bonus was the optical mouse had no moving parts compared to the ball mouse, making it more durable and dependable. Up until recent years, the traditional corded, 3 button, wheel-based, optical mouse has dominated the industry. However, today the marketplace is has shifted towards the newly developed wireless mouse. In today’s fast moving world, the added portability of a small wireless mouse is very beneficial, according to Kevin Thompson (age 58). There was a need for a mouse to not have to be constantly bound to the computer, therefore their existed a need and that...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document