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Input Devices Hardware

New Logitech Dark Field Mice Operate On Glass 225

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the data-goes-in-here dept.
Slatterz writes "Logitech has introduced new mice that use two lasers rather than one to work on a variety of previously unusable surfaces. The first laser picks out imperfections in the surface of a tabletop while the second laser focuses on microscopic imperfections highlighted and uses those to direct the cursor. The technique, dubbed dark field microscopy, allows mice to be used on almost any surface, including glass (as long as it is more than 4mm thick)."
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New Logitech Dark Field Mice Operate On Glass

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  • by ruinevil (852677) on Friday August 21, 2009 @07:18PM (#29152361)
    It can also detect the spirochetes that cause syphillis, Treponema palladium.
    • by greenguy (162630)

      You overestimate the power of the dark field!

    • by Dachannien (617929) on Friday August 21, 2009 @07:45PM (#29152559)

      In case anyone cares, "dark field" refers to an imaging technique which uses a light beam to illuminate a surface, but positions the sensor such that specular reflections (i.e., direct reflections which occur when light strikes a fairly smooth surface) are not picked up by the sensor. Instead, scattered (diffuse) reflections are picked up by the sensor, which highlights bumps and nicks in the surface.

      Compare this to "bright field" which refers to a technique where the specular reflection is received directly by the image sensor. The specular reflection is typically much brighter than any diffuse components which also happen to strike the sensor, so a simple threshold is able to filter out the diffuse components.

      Both techniques are used in, e.g., inspection of objects for defects, such as integrated circuits and masks, PCB soldering, etc.

      • by deglr6328 (150198) on Friday August 21, 2009 @08:03PM (#29152649)

        also, it doesn't have shit to do with using "two lasers", the story writer at PC Authority is just retarded. In addition, if I might editorialize, is this really necessary? How hard is it to just grab a piece of paper or something and use that, or, GASP, use a mousepad! What's Logitech going to come out with next, a raman scattering microscopy, mid-infrared quantum cascade utilizing wireless mouse, for those times when you simply must do your mousing on an atomically pure, sub-angstrom microroughness telescope mirror in a class 1 cleanroom? cmon now.

        • by Dahamma (304068) on Friday August 21, 2009 @09:03PM (#29152951)

          Well, they do use two lasers. No, it doesn't REQUIRE two for technique of "dark microscopy" itself, and the article's description of their use doesn't make much sense at all... it's just to provide more than one angle to bounce off any imperfections.

          Still, I don't see anything wrong with a mouse that tracks so well it will work on glass. It's not like it is designed for glass ONLY, it just means it will work even better on any surface you have. It's just the stupid blogs and reviews that have to go rub it on everry glass surface they can find - Logitech's marketing just says "Experience extreme accuracy and flawless tracking on virtually all surfaces."

          • by Atario (673917)

            Besides that, this sounds pretty promising to me -- at work, I even use a mouse pad and still end up with the cursor flying off across the screen for no reason at least once every ten minutes.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by owlstead (636356)

              Either the wires are broken or there is a small piece of hair lodged in the hole with the laser and optical sensor. If the reflecting hair moves around the "camera" will try and track the movement. Mouse pads are brilliant in gathering dust and particles, which is the reason I don't use them any more, I'm using a very smooth desktop instead.

              On a more humorous note: especially small curly types of hair seem to be good at lodging themselves in, so this may also be a good indicator of a specific type of intern

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by Blue Shifted (1078715)

            some retail stores would setup their demo PCs on white shiny enamel coated shelves, with no mouse pads. there would be a row of people trying to play with these display units, while being frustrated by the mice not working.

          • While it is easy to say "Oh just get a surface the mouse works on," well that kinda ignores the point of an optical mouse. One of the major reasons to want them is that you don't need a dedicated mouse pad. You just drop them on a table and they work. However, you discover that isn't the case on some surfaces, and it isn't always predictable. Some surfaces that look smooth to you may have plenty of imperfections for it to track. Other that are "less perfect" can in fact be unusable because their patterns ar

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by Dachannien (617929)

            It's just the stupid blogs and reviews that have to go rub it on every glass surface they can find

            Wait.... we're still talking about mice here, right?

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Jarik C-Bol (894741)
          that being said, the tactile response of using a mouse on surfaces other than a cloth mouse pad always feel 'wrong' somehow to me.
          call me old fashioned, but i just prefer the way a mouse moves on a mouse pad vs. the surface of my desk, a textbook, a sheet of paper, or the top of a pizza box.
          in fact, i find that the cheep, blank, generic cloth mouse pads they sell in my local wannabe-walmart do just the trick. fancy shmancy double laser dark field gyro stabilized nuclear sub-harmonic mouses be damned.
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          also, it doesn't have shit to do with using "two lasers"

          Thank Jebus! I thought sharks with lasers were bad enough, but now mice? Anyone else see a problem here?

        • Actually, I'm looking forward to a mouse that I can use on any surface - should be useful for in the train to work etc. j:)

    • by rattaroaz (1491445) on Friday August 21, 2009 @08:03PM (#29152647)

      It can also detect the spirochetes that cause syphillis, Treponema palladium.

      Yes, but maybe you should just see the doctor instead of waiting for the mouse to come to market.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by AHuxley (892839)
      Unless in hospital or prison where would your average Slashdot reader get syphilis from? Now nterococcus faecium (VRE), methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and Pseudomonas aeruginosa might be on their keyboards and be fun to detect.
  • by Lemming Mark (849014) on Friday August 21, 2009 @07:18PM (#29152363) Homepage

    This tech sounds awesome in an evil way. Or evil in an awesome way, I guess.

    • by oldhack (1037484)
      Why yes, sounds suspiciously like the evil HHGG v2, the bird...
    • by quenda (644621) on Friday August 21, 2009 @08:34PM (#29152809)

      The first laser picks out imperfections in the surface of a tabletop while the second laser...

      Sound familiar? This sounds to me like it could be the start of a Gillette vs Schick style pissing contest, the absurd current state of which was foretold by The Onion. [theonion.com]

      Let me go on record as predicting Microsoft will bring out a 3-laser mouse within 12 months. With an ergonomic grip and lubricating strips on each end.

      • First off I wouldn't give the Onion too much credit for "foretelling the blade count war", because, every teenager and pre-teen has been making 22 blade razor jokes probably since they first made twin blade razors. It's not a big deal

        Secondly, five bladed razors are better. The five blade Gilette Fusion is a wonderful razor. Having to use an old twin blade compared to the fusion is just terrible. In fact, my wife routinely steals mine (and a fresh blade), in order to do her legs. Lady's twin blade razors in cute little pink and white packages do not work as well as a good old five blade ultra sharp kick butt razor.

        Bottom line is, if Gillette's research arm comes up with diamond tipped blades, or some sort of a ten bladed razor, then they've got my interest. Paying extra for a razor may seem like a waste to some, but after twenty or thirty years of shaving with crappy razors, those few extra bucks are money well spent. A good razor is worth it, and honestly, I could see a good mouse being worth it too.

        • by iYk6 (1425255)

          The first razor I ever liked was the original Mach 3, and I haven't switched yet. I might try out the 5 blade version sometime soon. Twin bladed razors suck ass in comparison. I don't think people are really criticizing Gillette per se, they just like to make fun of things, and extrapolate from short patterns in ridiculous ways.

  • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot AT hackish DOT org> on Friday August 21, 2009 @07:23PM (#29152411)

    This is pretty much the selling point for Microsoft's BlueTrack [microsoft.com] (video at Amazon [amazon.com]) as well. Theirs appears to be based on a blue LED and some optics picking up / processing the scattering, rather than dual lasers, but since they're more or less aimed at the same problem and claim similar success, I'd be curious how they compare.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Trepidity (597)

      Replying to my own post, it looks like BlueTrack specifically disclaims working on glass. However, a different mouse [royche.co.kr] already claimed to work on glass [gizmodo.com] two years ago.

      I suppose what I most want is a bit of an overview of what current mouse tech we have and what they're good for.

      • by Shadow of Eternity (795165) on Friday August 21, 2009 @07:58PM (#29152621)

        And people wonder why i still have a ball mouse. Periodically I find it useful to have something that works even on dirty windows.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by MBGMorden (803437)

          Eh - to each his own. With my optical mouse I can sit it on the leg of my jeans (even on the side if I feel like it) and use my mouse wherever I want. Or on the actual surface of my couch. Ball mice tend to not work so well on fabrics.

          • by KillerBob (217953)

            Eh - to each his own. With my optical mouse I can sit it on the leg of my jeans (even on the side if I feel like it) and use my mouse wherever I want. Or on the actual surface of my couch. Ball mice tend to not work so well on fabrics.

            And with my trackball, I can do all of the above, and not have to move the mouse around physically to do it. Plus, because the ball is a fixed entity, the lasers/pickups can be optimized for it (and it can be designed for most efficiency too). So not only do I not have to move

            • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

              by MBGMorden (803437)

              Or perhaps we could stop with the pissing match and saying how mine's better than yours, and agree that it's a question of personal preference, and that people will choose what they want to choose?

              Perhaps you never learned the meaning of "to each his own", which I explicitly prefixed my comment with?

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by TheGreenNuke (1612943)

          Periodically I find it useful to have something that works even on dirty windows.

          See now I'm just confused. Is there a clean version of Windows that I wasn't aware of?

  • Umm... (Score:5, Informative)

    by adolf (21054) <flodadolf@gmail.com> on Friday August 21, 2009 @07:25PM (#29152429) Journal

    Didn't Logitech make a mouse that worked on "any surface" about five fucking years ago [slashdot.org]?

    *puzzle*

  • by jjeffries (17675) on Friday August 21, 2009 @07:27PM (#29152435)
    >The first laser picks out imperfections in the surface of a tabletop while the second laser focuses on microscopic imperfections highlighted and uses those to direct the cursor.

    Anybody doing retail sales has surely encountered couples like this. I'll bet the second laser demands a discount for the imperfections that the first laser found.
  • More than 4mm thick (Score:4, Informative)

    by Hadlock (143607) on Friday August 21, 2009 @07:33PM (#29152479) Homepage Journal

    What consumer glass tables are more than 4mm thick? Yeah designer stuff and commerical furniture that has glass surfaces use 5-10mm glass, but this will still be useless on consumer grade furniture. Chances are, if you're a consumer using a consumer grade mouse, you'll be using it on consumer grade glass furniture.

    • by MrEricSir (398214) on Friday August 21, 2009 @07:39PM (#29152527) Homepage

      So you're saying this mouse doesn't work on windows?

    • by maxume (22995) on Friday August 21, 2009 @07:43PM (#29152551)

      Any time I have ever encountered anything resembling a glass table, it has always been a freaking slab of glass, not 4mm of it.

      • by MBGMorden (803437)

        No joke. Maybe the original poster is confusing mm and cm or something, because 4mm is pretty darned slim. Almost everything I've seen would run more like 10 or 12mm in thickness.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by quenda (644621)

      What consumer glass tables are more than 4mm thick?

      All of them. 4mm is the thinnest glass you will find in a house - e.g. windows, cabinet doors.
      Coffee tables around here use 5mm, and larger tables are thicker.
      Unless you mean supported glass, like a mirror or a glass sheet over a wooden table-top.

    • If your glass table top is less than 4mm thick, you might run into other issues. Especially after becoming very frustrated with the subpar performance of your new mouse...

      On the bright side, however, you'd have 2 companies that you could milk for tort money for your slashed fists: Logitech, and the maker of your flimsy glass table top!

  • by l3ert (231568) on Friday August 21, 2009 @07:34PM (#29152487)
    Fuck Everything, We're Doing Five Lasers...
    • It certainly says something about the current state of humanity, when the "news" reported by The Onion often eventually becomes true.

  • Field Mice (Score:3, Funny)

    by Kratisto (1080113) on Friday August 21, 2009 @07:34PM (#29152489)
    So how does the field mouse tell the Logitech Mouse where the imperfections in the surface are? Presumably Logitech has decoded the language of the tiny mammals.
  • I normally hate when people comment about prices, but come on... $80 or $100 for a mouse? I guess I'm a hypocrite, but that seems ridiculous. I'll be sticking with my regular laser mouse that works on *almost* any surface...
    • Obviously, this is aimed at the same retards that call themselves audiophiles and spend obscene amounts of money on wooden stand offs because it makes the noise sound "warmer".

      That said, I'm going to order two. :p I can't help it if I've got a thing for mice and stationary.

    • by MBGMorden (803437)

      All depends on what your priorities are (or how much disposable income you have). Buying the best of anything will generally seem irrational to people not really into that area. Hell I paid over $100 for my last remote control. Sure there's universal remotes over at Walmart for $8, but those can't be programmed over USB . . . :)

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by maharb (1534501)

      When you use the same mouse for 7+ years I think its a worthwhile investment. It's one of few pieces of hardware that can travel through endless computer upgrades. It's also the most precision based input device. I believe that it is very worthwhile to buy the best mouse you can then use the hell out of it. You are going to be touching it every day and if it has any imperfections you are going to be pissed every day.

      I have the G5 and have been using it for around 6 years. For less than $10 a year I got

  • by m.mascherpa (687120) on Friday August 21, 2009 @07:48PM (#29152581)

    I'm so glad we figured this out.
    It was unacceptable that we weren't able to use mice on glass.
    My productivity will increase dramatically.

    • by paintswithcolour (929954) on Friday August 21, 2009 @08:20PM (#29152747)
      Dear sir,

      We are delighted to hear of your most recent mouse developments. For too long has there been a line of segregation between those who work inside the office, and those that work outside. Before down, we only understood the concept of Internet time-wasting (an oft mentioned topic on Slashdot) in theory. Finally, we will get to surf porn at work and play flash games, with the same freedoms are everyone.

      Many Thanks,

      The Window Cleaners Union

  • by BagOCrap (980854)

    I, for one, welcome our new dark field mice overlords!

  • Trackball (Score:5, Funny)

    by MrMista_B (891430) on Friday August 21, 2009 @08:06PM (#29152659)

    Use a trackball: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Trackball [wikimedia.org]

    Specifically, I use this Logitech trackball: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Logitech-trackball.jpg [wikimedia.org]

    After using that, using a mouse feels like my response time and accuracy is that of the old-style slow and stupid zombies.

    • by MBGMorden (803437)

      Trackballs just aren't for everybody. I tried them many times back when they were more popular (ie, about 8 years ago). I found one by Kensington that was much better than the rest I tried, but even it was only "tolerable". Nowhere near as quick or comfortable as a mouse for me. And I learned a long time ago that if I have to work at liking something, that I probably don't really like it anyways.

  • dammit (Score:2, Funny)

    by JeanBaptiste (537955)

    I _knew_ I shouldn't have gotten that desk made out of 3mm glass.

  • Analysts keep suggesting that the mouse is nearing obsolescence [switched.com], and that in less than five years, it'll look about as natural in your hand as a buggy whip. However, I remain unconvinced.

    That said, if and when Toyota or anybody else figures out how to port their brain-controlled wheelchair tech [geek.com] to the PC, the mouse may indeed become one of those things your future grandkids will see in photos and ask, "Did you really ever use one of those things?! It's so weird looking!!!"

    Until then, a laser mouse tha
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Lumpy (12016)

      For art? yes. a tablet +pen is far more useful. and touchscreen tech is still artificially high priced so that will not be common until companies pull their heads out of their arses and start putting it on all LCD's.

      Outside that, mice work for what they are intended, and are dirt cheap.

      cant beat dirt cheap.

  • by pushing-robot (1037830) on Friday August 21, 2009 @08:38PM (#29152833)

    For all the things they've been able to get mice to track on, it still sucks to move a mouse on anything other than an engineered mousing surface. This new sensor may be a good feature for notebook mice that will be used on who-knows-what, but buying a premium gaming mouse for it's ability to track on crappy surfaces makes about as much sense as buying a Formula One car for its off-road handling.

    And if anyone says "but it's better!": Today's well-made mice track fantastically well on a proper surface. They're already, for practical purposes, perfect. Yes, admittedly, there are people whose Logitech or Microsoft mice track poorly. But those people fall into two groups: (a) those who aren't using a pad at all, and (b) those who are using a horrible made-when-men-were-men-and-mice-had-balls pad they had lying around. Logitech and Microsoft would be better off just throwing in a proper mouse pad—and there are some excellent, relatively cheap cloth pads—than endlessly making slightly better sensors just so that people's cursors jump a bit less while they're scraping their mice back and forth on horrible surfaces.

    (And if Microsoft and Logitech had half as much innovation in materials as they do in optics, their mice would move like air hockey pucks by now.)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by amRadioHed (463061)

      What is wrong with you people complaining about logitech improving their product? I don't get it. My logitech mouse works on most of the surfaces I've tried it on, but not everything. Would I like it to work everywhere? It would be nice. I can't imagine why anyone would be opposed to that.

      Also, no I don't use a mouse pad and I don't want to need one. Talk about pointless.

      • His point was this mouse is aimed to gamers for uber precision. But the feature is useless to gamers buying this mouse since they already have 50$ mousepads and do not need to use it on glass... What he is missing is that it is about the technology trickling down to everyday mice which will be usefull in the future even if not for the market they are targeting atm the tech is valuable.
      • I don't have a problem with innovation. I have a problem with companies that spend all their time on "penis envy" products rather than creating anything particularly new and innovative.

        Remember the "muscle car" era? When innovation and safety took a back seat (cough) to squeezing out a few more horsepower than the competition? We seem to be going through the "muscle mouse" era, where companies are focusing on evolutionary change at the expense of revolutionary change.

        Think about what's happened with mice

    • by Idiomatick (976696) on Friday August 21, 2009 @09:28PM (#29153057)
      "mice would move like air hockey pucks by now"
      Is that patented?..........A bit noisy but....
  • by thewils (463314) on Friday August 21, 2009 @08:47PM (#29152879) Journal

    My mouse will work with Windows?

    Finally!

  • $100 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Junior J. Junior III (192702) on Friday August 21, 2009 @09:48PM (#29153143) Homepage

    Not surprisingly, the mouse costs a lot more than I'd be willing to pay. My 3-button, scroll-wheel USB Intellimouse Explorer 3 is close to celebrating it's 10th birthday, and is still going strong, and still feels to me like the best mouse I've ever used. Microsoft sure knew how to put their name on quality hardware back then.

    • Oops, forgot to mention I paid something like $7 for it, too, back when pricewatch.com was actually good.

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      I paid that 5 years ago for my Logitech MX laser cordless and it's the best mouse I have ever had. works great, feels better than anything else and still holds a charge for 4 days straight. I've worn finger patterns into the paint. Dont knock a high end mouse till you try one.

  • I would hate to be the one using a mouse on a glass surface less than 4mm thick. It would probably break very easy. Some specs are kind of useless. Like linux supporting thousands of processors hehe.
    • by cheros (223479)

      "Some specs are useless"

      You're supposed to use it on a table, not on your reading glasses. Duh. :-)

  • Cool and Bummer (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Friday August 21, 2009 @11:03PM (#29153449) Homepage

    I hope it does not reduce the number of plain old LED optical mice out there because those are a GREAT source for machine vision for robotics. the basic 32X32 pixel cameras in a mouse works GREAT for a small robot for machine vision.

    I even have an arduino bot using one to avoid objects.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jamesh (87723)

      Got any links to projects that use those? I'll almost certainly never get around to it but it would still be fun to read about others doing it

  • I've been using optical trackballs ever since they came on the market. All of my computers are currently outfitted with the Microsoft optical trackball (I know it's hard to believe given the brand, but it is really quite well-designed and built). A trackball is especially useful with my laptop. The total amount of space taken up by the device is fixed (the device's size). No extra room is needed since it doesn't need to be moved like a mouse. They work on any surface they can be placed on, rough or smo
  • If you find they work for you, great, but there's a reason that most people use mice, and why laptops no longer have trackballs on them... it seems that most people just aren't comfortable using them. I've tried, I've had several trackballs, and while they work great for very small precise movements or for massive spin-the-ball videogame action they're just too hard for me to drive the mouse 500 pixels over and click on a word in a document.

    On the other hand carrying a thin mousepad between the screen and keyboard of a closed laptop so it's always there and convenient to use is a hell of a lot cheaper than a dark field mouse.

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