M.S. Thesis Presentation by Eric O. Romagna
Monday, March 1, 1999

(Dr. Wayne Book, advisor)

"Design of a Haptic Passive Mouse"


As people spend more and more time working on computers, it is important to develop communication tools to increase the efficiency of the work done and to improve the comfort for the user.

The mouse is one of these tools. The mouse as we know it helps us give the computer instructions. By clicking on certain areas on the screen, and different icons, the computer understands what it is asked to do. This mouse only transmits information in one direction from the user (displacement of the hand) to the computer. Feedback is provided by the screen, which displays the cursor moving along with the hand of the user. This principle works well but requires visual concentration from the user.

What if the mouse itself could send back some information from the computer to the user, in form of resistance forces? Instead of representing the screen as a homogeneous area, it could be a mosaic of different fields, each of them having a different feeling. This way, the user would not have to use vision to drive the mouse but could make use of tactile feedback to detect when going from one field to another.

Such devices called haptic mice already exist, but are normally active which means that they use motors that make them heavy, expensive and that can also exhibit stability problems.

This thesis proposes a first step to the development of a passive version for such a device. Given an approximate idea of what the capabilities have to be, appropriate dynamics will be defined, and parts, actuators, and sensors will be designed and selected, in order to develop a preliminary design. A simulation of the behavior of this device will then be developed, given the defined design parameters.