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In computing, a mouse is a pointing device that functions by detecting two-dimensional motion relative to its supporting surface. Physically, a mouse consists of an object held under one of the user's hands, with one or more buttons. It sometimes features other elements, such as "wheels", which allow the user to perform various system-dependent operations, or extra buttons or features that can add more control or dimensional input. The mouse's motion typically translates into the motion of a cursor on a display, which allows for fine control of a graphical user interface. The first known publication of the term "mouse" as a pointing device is in Bill English's 1965 publication "Computer-Aided Display Control". The ball-mouse replaced the external wheels with a single ball that could rotate in any direction. It came as part of the hardware package of the Xerox Alto computer. Perpendicular chopper wheels housed inside the mouse's body chopped beams of light on the way to light sensors, thus detecting in their turn the motion of the ball. This variant of the mouse resembled an inverted trackball and became the predominant form used with personal computers throughout the 1980s and 1990s. An optical mouse uses a light-emitting diode and photodiodes to detect movement relative to the underlying surface, rather than internal moving parts as does a mechanical mouse. Often called "air mice" since they do not require a surface to operate, inertial mice use a tuning fork or other accelerometer (US Patent 4787051) to detect rotary movement for every axis supported. The most common models (manufactured by Logitech and Gyration) work using 2 degrees of rotational freedom and are insensitive to spatial translation. The user requires only small wrist rotations to move the cursor, reducing user fatigue or "gorilla arm". Usually cordless, they often have a switch to deactivate the movement circuitry between use, allowing the user freedom of movement without affecting the cursor position. In 2000, Logitech introduced the "tactile mouse", which contained a small actuator that made the mouse vibrate. Such a mouse can augment user-interfaces with haptic feedback, such as giving feedback when crossing a window boundary. To surf by touch requires the user to be able to feel depth or hardness; this ability was realized with the first electrorheological tactile mice but never marketed. The Macintosh design, commercially successful and technically influential, led many other vendors to begin producing mice or including them with their other computer products (by 1986, Atari ST, Commodore Amiga, Windows 1.0, GEOS for the Commodore 64, and the Apple IIGS). The widespread adoption of graphical user interfaces in the software of the 1980s and 1990s made mice all but indispensable for controlling computers. In November 2008, Logitech built their billionth mouse. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]
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