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Capacitive Mouse Built for a Friend Makes for a Touching Tale


Mice with capactive sensors instead of buttons. Designed for people with low mobility.

Those tiny switches inside your mouse may be rated for 50 million clicks or more, but your fingers will likely wear out much sooner than that. Trust us — mouse arm and/or hand fatigue is no fun at all. If you’ve never had the displeasure, just try to imagine not being able to click or move the mouse around without extreme discomfort.

TTP223 touch sensor modules and the modifications necessary for this project.For this year’s Hackaday Prize, [BinSun] hacked together a capacitive mouse for a friend who has ALS. Instead of micro switches, it uses touch sensors to detect left and right clicks and LEDs to indicate when a click has taken place. That makes us think that haptic feedback could be cool, but it might get old quickly, or even worse, you might get used to it after a while and not feel it anymore.

This mouse would be a good alternative for anyone with limited mobility from any condition — ALS, arthritis, trigger finger, or carpal/cubital tunnel syndrome. It would also benefit anyone who wants to mouse much more stealthily, like in a library, a small shared space, or late at night. The only downside we can see is that you’d either have to get used to hovering your fingers, or else learn to rest them out of the way of the capacitive buttons. Otherwise, you’re gonna actuate them more often than you really want to.

If you want to build one of these, you’ll find a nice set of instructions over on IO that includes the minor modifications necessary to make the TTP223 capacitive modules sensitive enough to detect the presence of a finger. All you really have to do is bridge a couple of pads, add a capacitor and remove the SMD LEDs. [Bin Sun] says this is an ongoing project. He’s gotten a handful of beta testers involved at this point, and is planning to make a dedicated PCB pretty soon. Squeak past the break for a couple of brief demonstrations.

The right kind of mouse can save your limbs, sure. Hack together a different type of mouse, and you might be able to save your crops from elephant raids.

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