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Input Devices Technology

Mouse Uses RFID Instead of Batteries 208

ValourX writes "NewsForge (part of OSTG, like Slashdot) has a review of a mouse that is powered by RFID (and yes, it works with Linux). It's cordless and uses no batteries -- you just have to keep the mouse within 2 inches of the mousepad for it to work. What else could be powered by RFID?"
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Mouse Uses RFID Instead of Batteries

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  • s/RFID/Induction (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fatboy ( 6851 ) * on Saturday May 28, 2005 @05:31PM (#12666353)
    s/RFID/Induction
  • by richardoz ( 529837 ) * on Saturday May 28, 2005 @05:31PM (#12666354) Homepage
    The statement that the mouse is powered by RFID is a bit of a misnomer. It may be RF that transmits the mouse movement, but it is actually Inductive Coupling. The mouse pad has a coil that transfers power to a coil in the mouse using magnetic flux. This transfer of power is limited to short distances. Passive RFID uses radio frequency to transmit the power to the tag and relay the information back to the "server". I think that using inductive coupling for Mouse power is a great idea! Anything to reduce consumption of batteries that wind up in a landfill.

  • Wireless? lol (Score:3, Insightful)

    by eyeye ( 653962 ) on Saturday May 28, 2005 @05:31PM (#12666355) Homepage Journal
    So you have to keep it within 2 inches of the mat, and where does the mat get its power from? It either has batteries or is cabled.

    I'll stick with my real wireless mouse thanks very much, no batteries just charge it once a week (or when I remember to put it back in its cradle).
    • by Scrameustache ( 459504 ) on Saturday May 28, 2005 @05:42PM (#12666436) Homepage Journal
      no batteries just charge it once a week

      And, since there's no battery, you're charging... magical gnomes? ;-)
    • Re:Wireless? lol (Score:3, Informative)

      by brunes69 ( 86786 )
      The main reason people buy a wireless mouse and is not so that they can cart their stuff off to a remote chair 30 feet away at will ( why would you ever do that? Could you even see the screen??? ), it is simply because a wireless mouse means no more fighting with the cord when you are dragging it around and the cord gets lightly jammed against something on the desk.

      A mouse pad does not move. Hence no problems with it's cord being tangled.
    • Re:Wireless? lol (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Forthan Red ( 820542 ) on Saturday May 28, 2005 @06:03PM (#12666538)
      This is actually a step backwards. Optical mouses freed us from having to use a mousepad. Now we not only have to use a mousepad again, we have to have it plugged in.

      No thanks, I'll stick with an truly wireless mouse.

      • Thats not entirely true -- as a rule, optical mice don't play well with shiny/glass surfaces, so in our conference rooms, we end up using regular mice-pads for wireless optical mice even.
      • optical mice will work without a mouse pad, but all of them do work better with a mouse pad
        • Depends on the mouse mat. My mouse mats are all textured surfaces, but there is enough of a reflection that my mouse jumps all over. My desk, however, has no problems at all.

          If you are going to use a mouse mat, make sure it has a woven cloth surface and *not* plastic of any sort.
          • Ugh, those plastic mousepads were a horrible idea anyway. They don't work very well and are just generally uncomfortable imho. I'm much more satisfied with the cloth type.
        • Not for me.
          My optical mouse works the best on a newspaper and works really bad on a standard one-colored mouse pad.
        • This reminds me of the time I got my cool wireless optical and my cool transparent table, and the two coolnesses just cancelled each other out.
    • Re:Wireless? lol (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Stibidor ( 874526 ) on Saturday May 28, 2005 @06:22PM (#12666634) Homepage

      You are absolutely right. The pad is wired (and thusly powered), which does still tether you to the computer. And although the OP is mildly misleading, the point of this device is that the actual mouse does not have any wires attached to it.

      To most people, the advantage of a wireless mouse is the freedom to move the mouse without worrying about what the cord is going to get snagged on. This gives users that freedom without requiring them ever to replace/recharge their batteries.
      • It uses USB. So, if some company makes Wireless USB transceivers in the future, one could slap one on, and mod it to give you access to the power pins, and slap a battery on.

        (Yes, I know how dumb that looks - WUSB transceiver with a battery dangling out, attached to a mouse pad for a battery-free mouse ;-))
    • An inductor is not a battery but stores electrical energy in the form of current and it probably what they use in this case. Also, a capacitor is not a battery and stores a charge. If I RTFA then I might be able to tell you which this probably uses, but I didn't. -Scott
    • Re:Wireless? lol (Score:3, Informative)

      by Kesh ( 65890 )
      You're missing the point. yes, the pad is likely wired. However, the pad sits still.

      The biggest problem with wired mice is the cord getting tangled up, running out of cord while you're gaming or in the way as it's used (curling up and ending up on the mousepad, for instance). With this system, the cord never moves once it's positioned. You can mouse around the pad as much as you want and the cord never gets in the way.

  • Wacom? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by atrus ( 73476 ) <[atrus] [at] [atrustrivalie.org]> on Saturday May 28, 2005 @05:31PM (#12666358) Homepage
    So, whats the difference between this and a wacom tablet, besides the fact that wacoms are generaly superior? If you've never tried photoshop/other graphics app with a wacom, you're missing out.
    • Yep, the Wacoms use use inductive coupling. This is the first time I've seen an OPTICAL mouse powered by inductive coupling though...
    • Re:Wacom? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Solder Fumes ( 797270 ) on Saturday May 28, 2005 @05:39PM (#12666416)
      I never use the Wacom mouse because it requires you to only have the mouse on the pad. My current tethered mouse ranges all over a 2-foot-square area on my desk, depending on my posture, activity, and current clutter level. I think I'd hate this "RFID" mouse as well.
      • Re:Wacom? (Score:2, Informative)

        It's not so bad being confined to the tablet. My Wacom mouse pad is about 18" x 18". That's pretty close to your 2'x2' square.

        I bought one of the bigger ones because I wanted the resolution for my wife's freelance graphics work.

        The pen is pretty awesome to use in a graphics program, it's incredible how much more freedom you have with it instead of the mouse.

        • Yeah, I could see the mouse working better on a larger pad. However I only needed a smaller pad for pen work (I'm only good at using wrist motion in drawing, anyway). I also did not have a firstborn son I could sacrifice in order to gain such a digitizer.
        • Holy crap, did you get one of the pads with or without a screen behind it?

          I remember when I got my first WACOM tablet or something for Win 95. Good times.
        • Re:Wacom? (Score:4, Funny)

          by IpalindromeI ( 515070 ) * on Saturday May 28, 2005 @08:32PM (#12667317) Journal
          My Wacom mouse pad is about 18" x 18". That's pretty close to your 2'x2' square.

          Actually it's not that close. An 18"x18" square has only 56% of the surface area that a 24"x24" square has. Thanks for playing, though. There are some lovely parting gifts on the way out.
        • It's not so bad being confined to the tablet. My Wacom mouse pad is about 18" x 18". That's pretty close to your 2'x2' square.

          You sure about that? The largest tablet Wacom makes is 9x12.

          And I should add, that model retails for over $700. Which is quite a bit if all you want is a battery-free wireless mouse.

          (The cheapest Wacom tablet b.t.w. is $99. Worth every penny if you use the pen, but easily five times what a wireless mouse would cost.)
          • You sure about that? The largest tablet Wacom makes is 9x12.

            I apologize, the largest is 12x18.

            Though I still think my point about the price is still valid. Wacoms ain't cheap.
    • Re:Wacom? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Phroggy ( 441 ) * <slashdot3 AT phroggy DOT com> on Saturday May 28, 2005 @06:06PM (#12666547) Homepage
      This one costs $20?
    • whats the difference between this and a wacom tablet

      Well, this probably isn't owned by a crazy, quasi-religious cult leader [freedomofmind.com]* for starters.

      *Specifically, Sun Myung Moon [unification.net].
    • If you use your computer as a media center, and wireless keyboard/mouse as the "remote controls, its
      best not to have a 'pad' at all. I like just grabbing the mouse and/or the keyboard and take it to the kitchen ( where I can still see the computer display on the 84" projector screen ) and control the video that is playing ( usually French video capture, music or news ) while making coffee/eggs/etc. Heck, I like being able to use the mouse on the arm of a couch, a table, or whatever surface is nearby. It is
  • What else? (Score:5, Funny)

    by baryon351 ( 626717 ) on Saturday May 28, 2005 @05:32PM (#12666365)
    > What else could be powered by RFID?

    Paranoia.
  • by Short Circuit ( 52384 ) * <mikemol@gmail.com> on Saturday May 28, 2005 @05:33PM (#12666367) Homepage Journal
    One, it's not RFID. RFID is a means of identifying things, that happens to use the RF from the detector as a power source. You can use RF as a power source without it being RFID.

    Two, bateryless cordless mice are old news. I've got a Graphire 2 next to me that's done that thing for three or four years.
    • It may use a variation of RFID hardware to accomplish the task...but yeah, RFID is not central to the operation of the device and I too have seen, used, and own similar technology over the years.
  • by Kipsaysso ( 828105 ) on Saturday May 28, 2005 @05:34PM (#12666375) Homepage Journal
    1984
  • by stevenm86 ( 780116 ) on Saturday May 28, 2005 @05:34PM (#12666376)
    Here is a link to the Cheap Mod, courtesy of Afrotech: http://www.afrotechmods.com/cheap/arnoldpad/arnold pad.htm [afrotechmods.com]
    • Re:Been done before (Score:3, Interesting)

      by olman ( 127310 )
      12 amps?? On that dinky wire?? That's like 5x12 = 60 watts! Thats, er, great efficiency right there.

      So this guy runs his 2.5V*~100mA= 0.25W mouse with 0.25W/60W = 0.4% efficiency? You people make me sick.
  • I don't mind having to recharge my wireless mouse if there was No Downtime. The Xbox 360 controller is able to recharge itself while in use by connecting it to a usb port. There's already a cable going through my docking station, might as well put it to good use!
  • Ummm.... (Score:1, Redundant)

    by Goronmon ( 652094 ) *
    So...the mouse isn't battery powered, but the mousepad is? I mean, sure its cool how the mouse and mousepad interact, but still, this just doesn't make any sense.
    • Re:Ummm.... (Score:3, Informative)

      by Mishra100 ( 841814 )
      I don't see what you are saying... There is a usb cable that goes to the mouse pad that powers the pad... The pad then transfers power to the mouse through a coil and thus you have a cordless mouse. I personally think it is cool because it is a cheap mouse without a cord... I hate batteries and weight, thus the reason I would never buy a real cordless mouse.
    • probaly takes a lot of batteries then, if the pad is battery powered. (yes still have to rtfa, but it looks so much like old news that i'll skip this one)
      Inductive coupling works (electric toothbrushes are charged this way too), but it is not very efficient, esp if the mouse is not right above the coil. my current batteries now hold out a few days, but with such an inefficiency added to it it may be more like a few hours.
    • Re:Ummm.... (Score:4, Informative)

      by Scrameustache ( 459504 ) on Saturday May 28, 2005 @05:52PM (#12666481) Homepage Journal
      So...the mouse isn't battery powered, but the mousepad is?

      FTFA: "The NB-50 mouse pad does have a cord, and it connects to the computer via USB."

      This is for people who don't want a wire on the part that moves, but don't mind having a wire on the part that stays put.

      I know I don't tangle up my keyboard's wire nearly as often as I do the mouse wire, but I got an optical mouse partly because I don't like to be restricted in the area on which I can move said mouse. I do tasks that are conductive to large mouse movements, precise dragging and whatnot, so this isn't for me. Still cool, though.
  • The Matrix Tie Fighters (from the Death Star) Light Sabers Skin-Jobs (keep 'em from running) Electronically modded towels R2D2 ...On second thought it might be best to give R2D2 multiple options for power. He tends to get into trouble.
  • w00t (Score:1, Funny)

    by TubeSteak ( 669689 )
    w00t!
  • What, they want to bring those things back? I threw mine away with glee when I first got my optical mouse. There is no way in hell Ill be using one again just for some wireless convenience.
  • From the article (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sunhou ( 238795 ) on Saturday May 28, 2005 @05:45PM (#12666450)
    The mouse pad cannot be operated on any metal surface. Since the warnings about this are printed on the box, in the manual, and on the mouse pad itself, I figured it was in my best interest to avoid finding out why metal and power-over-RFID don't mesh.

    Well there's a sentence that sure didn't end the way I wanted it to... Where's his sense of adventure?
    • The mouse pad cannot be operated on any metal surface. ... the warnings about this are printed on the box, in the manual, and on the mouse pad itself.

      Sounds like microwave-oven warnings. Are they microwaving the mouse ...to get it to talk?

    • > [...] I figured it was in my best interest to avoid finding out why metal and power-over-RFID don't mesh.

      Well there's a sentence that sure didn't end the way I wanted it to... Where's his sense of adventure?


      His co-worker was originally assigned to the article, but he met an... unfortunate end and his half-written article was never published. This journalist wasn't about to make the same mistake.
  • When I saw this I thought I had it made. 1.First post 2.Tinfoil hats 3.Profit Damn
  • by toybuilder ( 161045 ) on Saturday May 28, 2005 @05:50PM (#12666468)
    ...is that the mouse is responsible for position information, not the pad... Which is nice in some ways, because you mouse motion in real-world use doesn't always map nicely to the digitizing pad's cartesian grid.

    If your entire desk's surface was one big induction loop, this would allow you to have this mouse work over the whole of your desk (assuming there's enough power coupling). Beware the magnetic media, though! :)
  • For a moment, I thought "First they put them in dogs and cats, now they're putting them in mice?" And then wondered why is it news that it's wireless? Was there something about the little critters that made it so you had to run a wire into your pet mouse for a RFID tag to work properly? And really, how often do peoples mice run away and then are picked up by animal control and scanned to find the owner?

    Then I read the article and it made more sense.
  • So it not only lets the government (and/or aliens, communists, etc.) track you [spychips.com], it gives you cancer [nzine.co.nz] too!
  • by Senor_Programmer ( 876714 ) on Saturday May 28, 2005 @06:30PM (#12666673)
    Back in the day the KGB beamed microwaves at the US embassy to power bugs for spying [bugsweeps.com].
    The simplest bug I know of is antenna, half wave rectifier, carbon microphone. As the load varies (carbon mike changes resistance with sound pressure) the amplitude of a harmonic is modulated and radiated by the same antenna.
  • So's my toothbrush. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by xs650 ( 741277 ) on Saturday May 28, 2005 @06:35PM (#12666703)
    Since it's powered by inductive coupleing, not RFID, it's in the same category as my Sonicare toothbrush, except the toothbrush is more advanced.

    The toothbrush has a battery that is inductively recharged when it's sitting in it's base.

    I have used the toothbrush over 6,000 miles from it's base which is amore useful range than the 2 inch range of the mouse.

    A wireless mouse with a battery that got recharged when you left it on the mouse pad but didn't have to be near the mousepad to work would actually have some utility. They need to add a battery.

  • So which technology fries the naughty bits more, RFID mice or laptops that use Intel CPUs? Inquiring minds must know! :^)
  • How about a liquid level sensor [slashdot.org], perhaps in a beer mug [slashdot.org]?
  • Yes, a bit off topic, but it was brought up by the article.

    I have to feed my mouse weekly, but I use rechargable batteries. But it's better than paying for new batteries monthly.
  • This mouse uses RFID, it must be an evil plot by the goverment to spy on your mouse clicks; not only can Big Brother read your every click, but any rogue with a 10 megawatt transmitter and 50' dish in his unmarked van could read your mouse from 100 feet away.
  • Wacom tablets use battery-less controls. Wacom has their particular technology patented, which is a big reason they're so popular. Their devices are very lightweight and never need batteries. While a pen is likely the most common device used with a tablet, Wacom sells mouses and (simulated) airbrushes that work the same way.

    If you buy Wacom's cheapest Graphire pad, it comes with a mouse. From my experience, the input device must be within 1/2 inch of the pad in order for it to work.

    Whatever the case
  • Here's an invention, a string or "cord" tied between the computer and the wireless mouse to keep it from getting lost or misplaced.

    I'll patent it and make billions!
  • I've been using Wacom tablets, pens, pucks and mice for years.

    My default mouse is the wireless one on my Wacom tablet.

    No batteries - never have been.

    This is different in WHAT major way???

    --
    Tomas
  • by alset_tech ( 683716 ) on Sunday May 29, 2005 @01:13AM (#12668465) Homepage
    I'd just like to point to my hero, Nikola Tesla. He was a visionary in this field.

    http://www.teslatech.info/ttmagazine/v1n4/valone.h tm [teslatech.info]
    http://www.braincourse.com/wirelessa.html [braincourse.com]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikola_Tesla [wikipedia.org]

  • Wow, talk about clueless reporting. "RFID"?! It uses Radio Frequency IDentification to power the mouse? Give me a break. I expect this from my local newspaper, not from Slashdot.

    And why exactly is this news, anyway? I've had my Wacom tablet for five years, which has a pen and a mouse, neither of which has a battery.

  • This sounds suspiciously like the digitizer tablets of days gone by... Looking at this wacom puck, I see no batteries, no wires, and a little antenna loop around the crosshairs.

    Reminds me of when Microsoft or Logitech (I forget who) touted their innovative "Optical Mouse", almost 20 years after Sun had optical mice.

The aim of science is to seek the simplest explanations of complex facts. Seek simplicity and distrust it. -- Whitehead.

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