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Inside the MagicMouse: The Story of a 2007 PopSci Invention of the Year

05/17/2007

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door." When WPI seniors Chris Banker, Mike Cretella, Jeff DiMaria, Jamie Mitchell, and Jeff Tucker built a better mouse, the editors of Popular Science came calling. The magazine awarded the MagicMouse one of 10 PopSci Invention Awards. The winners, chosen from among hundreds of entries, are featured as the cover story in the June 2007 issue, which recently went out to more than 1.4 million readers.

Created as their Major Qualifying Project, a significant design or research experience that all WPI students must complete, 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 unique design, the first radical change in the computer mouse in more than 40 years, makes it possible to control and manipulate items on a computer screen just by pointing at the monitor. The project was advised by Brian King, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at WPI.

Watch a video in which King and the students explain how the MagicMouse came to be and how it works, and see the images of the mouse in a photo gallery. Also, read the WPI news release on the PopSci Invention Award.