New Mouse to Use Sensor Based on Laser

Wednesday, September 1st 2004, 11:08 am
By: News On 6

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) _ Forget about a better mousetrap. Logitech International thinks it has a better mouse. The Fremont-based computing products maker will start selling Wednesday the Logitech MX1000, the world's first mouse to use a sensor based on a laser. Logitech says the laser tracking technology works on more surfaces and offers up to 20 times better sensitivity than today's light-emitting diode, or LED-based optical mice.

``It's the pinnacle of performance,'' said Justin Boitano, Logitech's global product marketing manager. ``This product will make optical mice obsolete.''

The laser tracking system, developed in conjunction with Agilent Technologies Inc., is more precise than the optical models. Both follow a user's hand movement by taking thousands of photographs per second, but the steady, narrow laser takes a more microscopic measurement than the LED light source of optical mice.

A laser mouse also works on virtually any surface _ white or black, solid or patterned, shiny or matte _ but still not on clear glass or mirrors, Logitech officials said. Optical mice, while still a big improvement over older trackball models, often get confused on patterned surfaces and do not work well on metal or glossy tabletops.

The invisible laser, which Logitech says is safe on the eyes, dispenses with the familiar, battery-draining red glow of the optical LED light.

The MX1000, which costs $80, is cordless and features a lithium-ion battery that recharges when docked in the cradle attached to the requisite wireless receiver. A full charge takes about four hours and will last for up to 21 days for most users, Logitech said.

The laser mouse also includes a scroll wheel that tilts side-to-side for scrolling horizontally across spreadsheets or Web pages, and that clicks to zoom in or out.