Apple patent goes for a "button-less" mouse

Posted by Mark Raby

Cupertino (CA) - Apple has filed a patent application for a mouse that, instead of using buttons, has an optical sensing surface.

The patent describes the technology as a "mouse having a button-less panning and scrolling switch."  The controls are recognized via a built-in camera that senses light from inside the mouse, and can recognize where the user's fingers are by the displacement of light.

The patent even suggests the idea that the mouse would be able to recognize a button press because more pressure on the mouse would cause the fingerprint to be bigger.  It could also be used as a fingerprint scanner for security applications.

Additionally, other gestures could be programmed, like pen flick macros on Tablet PCs.  In other words, a user could possibly set that a quick finger movement from the left to the right of the mouse initiates a "select all" command.

Apple has filed for multiple patents on touch sensitive technology in the past, which seems to be the company's new niche.  Given that, it's possible this patent is just a placeholder so no one moves in on Apple's turf.