Soap Mouse A slippery interface for mid-air input

We all have those dirty hacks that we think about year after year even after we first see them. For serial tipstars [Inne]One of them [Patrick Baudisch]Its soap mouse, which is a DIY device for mousing in mid-air that uses material from shelves and around the house.

How does it work? The intestines are wrapped in plastic like a flattened pill, which falls into a vague sock. Pressing it a little, the plastic pill rotates, the sensor on the outside rotates round and round. Although we reported briefly on the soap mouse in 2006, we think it’s worth staying in the spotlight today, especially since there’s a complete PDF guide to creating one optimized for gaming. If you want a regular pointing device instead, the conversion is described.

[Patrick] The guide uses a CompUSA (RIP) mouse, but any mouse that is thin enough and small should work until it has a decently long focal range, which is essential for sensors to see the hull. Lots of travel should match the rat bill.

The hull itself is made from two small (empty) hand sanitizer bottles, chosen for their size, shape and plastic clarity. The outermost housing is a baby sock sewn on. [Patrick] Says it’s hard to move socks against plastic, and has tried different methods for lubrication, such as some mineral oil inside some plastic bags.

Be sure to watch the video after the break, which does a great job of explaining everything from different types of interactions to construction in 58 minutes.

Since 2006, [Patrick] Workshops have been held where people have made their own soap rats. Did you build one? Let us know in the comments. And don’t forget the Digi-sponsored weird inputs and weird peripheral competition, which runs through July 4th. Declare your freedom from regular keyboards and rats and win big!

Thanks for the tip, [Inne]!

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