After the 8 bit home micro’s of the 1980’s were ageing technology was moving on to 16 Bit and 21 bit home computers, unlike there 8 bit counterparts the new machines would feature a graphic user interface, this meant that a mouse had to be included with the computer, again as competition was fierce in the 80’s the new machines all used incompatible mice either by changing the configuration of the connector or by using a totally different mouse connector for the Archimedes.
Whilst to many seeing an original Amiga Tank mouse, or Atari ‘s angular design ST mouse or the Acorn Archimedes 3 button mouse they all used mechanical sensors that used a ball with rollers and sensors, compared with modern optical sensors these can be a hassle as they can get clogged up with dirt over time causing the mouse to stop or behave unpredictably.
The Usual Suspects from Commodore, Atari and Acorn (Stock Mice Included with the Computer )
Optical Sensor Mice
During the period of the Commodore Amiga and Atari ST 16 Bit Machines some companies produced optical mice but the early models needed a specific surface and included a glass mouse matt with a specific surface printed in dots to make the tracking work, Microsoft would bring optical sensors to the masses when they launched there intellimouse series of mice that did not need a special surface and could work on normal desk surfaces or standard mouse mats
Today we are spoilt for choice with modern USB mice with countless designs and price points using optical and even laser sensors
Wireless PS/2 mice were available again from the likes of Microsoft these came with a quite large round puck shaped receiver With the advent of mice going to USB more manufacturers started to sell wireless models, most modern designs now uses a very small USB receiver and battery life has increased greatly due to more efficient sensors and controller chips
Mice of the future
With rapid advancements seen recently in VR, AI and hand tracking technologies will the mouse still be around in another 20 years, I wonder.
Retro Machine – Modern Mouse
The great thing about the rapid advancement of computer power now means that adapters or interfaces can be used to connect all manner of modern upgrades to classic home computers, we no longer have to struggle with the original mice as we can now use adapters like the TrueMouse adapter to use modern USB mice on vintage micro’s such as the Commodore Amiga, Atari ST or Acorn Archimedes