Students Win Popular Science Innovation Award
MagicMouse, a three-dimensional computer mouse designed by a team of five WPI undergraduates as part of a Major Qualifying Project, was one of 10 inventions honored with the inaugural PopSci Invention Awards, the cover story in the June 2007 issue of Popular Science. The magazine, which has a circulation of 1.4 million, selected the mouse from among hundreds of submissions.
Developed by seniors Christian Banker, Michael Cretella Jr., Jeff DiMaria, Jamie Mitchell, and Jeffrey Tucker, the mouse is designed to permit a computer user to control and manipulate items on a computer screen just by pointing at the monitor. The mouse uses an array of receivers to track the motion of a tiny ultrasonic transmitter worn on the index finger like a ring. The students, all electrical and computer engineering majors, were advised by Brian King, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering.
The MagicMouse is a true 3D mouse. Users can move the cursor about the screen simply by pointing their index finger. Zooming is achieved by moving the hand nearer to or farther from the screen. Since both actions can be done simultaneously, the mouse makes Students Win Popular Science Invention Award it possible to work easily in three dimensions to pan and zoom through 3D maps, for example, or manipulate objects in computeraided design (CAD) drawing packages. The mouse could also make game play more realistic and interactive, much as the novel 3D remote on the new Nintendo Wii game console has done.
The students plan to continue working on the mouse to extend its capabilities. The working prototype, for instance, does not incorporate the functions of the traditional mouse buttons. The students would like to add technology that will permit the user to perform specific functions using gestures, such as clicking by moving the finger rapidly forward and backward, and clicking and holding by moving the finger forward quickly, then stopping.Maintained by firstname.lastname@example.org