THROWBACK THURSDAY: Mice that aren’t quite…

The computer mouse has been with us for about half a century. We hardly think of it; it’s stopped being an interesting part of high technology and it’s just the thing you use at the office when you’re not on your phone. But the truth is, we like it that way. With the exception of hardcore gamers, we don’t want our mice to be powerful or innovative. We just want them to work, not cramp our hands too badly, and have decent battery life. Mouse technology has gone about as far as it needs to.

That wasn’t always the case. In decades past, mouse technology was moving fast. Mice that tracked ever quicker became the norm, followed by optical mice that didn’t need you to clean the rubber ball, and eventually to laser mice and touch scrolling.

And then there were the designs. Every so often a company would experiment with a novelty look — a mouse that looked like a car or a robot or whatnot. These rarely lasted in the marketplace because truthfully, the role of a mouse is to be held in the hand and it’s not comfortable holding a racecar in your hand for very long.

The weirdest ones, though, were the mice that tried — and failed — to innovate. Think I’m nuts? Check out this article from Gizmodo. It’s a “double throwback.” It was originally published in 2014 and harks back even further, showing 13 of the weirdest mice you’ll see. A mouse that fits like a ring on your finger? Check. One that looks like a mid-2000s cell phone? you got it. If you don’t believe me, take a look.

All of these mice eventually failed in the marketplace for one reason — they’re just dumb. The mouse isn’t a personality statement, it’s a tool. And if it’s not a good tool, people just won’t use it. End of story.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 9,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.