To determine whether an optical mouse performs on a black surface.
Optical mice use beams of light that bounce from inside the mouse onto a surface and back again to record movement – this movement is what moves the icon across your computer screen in the direction you wish it to go. The color black absorbs light waves - will placing an optical mouse on a black surface cause the mouse to function improperly due to the light waves being absorbed and not bounced back into the mouse?
- Optical mouse
- Black surface, such as a black desk or a black mousepad
- Traditional mousepad (that is not black) or one designed for optical mice
- Journal or logbook
Estimated Experiment Time
Less than an hour
- 1. Bring up a program on your computer such as the Internet or a word processing program. Find the mouse’s icon on your screen. At this point, your optical mouse should be on the traditional (not black) mousepad.
- 2. Move the optical mouse around to get a feel for how the mouse moves. Does it move in the direction you tell it to?
- 3. Now place the optical mouse on the black surface.
- 4. Move the optical mouse around in a way that is similar to how you moved it while it was on the traditional (not black) mousepad.
- 5. Record the results in your journal.
If you don't have access to a computer at home, consider visiting your local library and using their public systems.
Did the optical mouse continue to move in the same way when it was being used on the black surface as it did when it was being used on the traditional (not black) mousepad? Did it stop moving altogether or did the movement only decrease? If so, why do you think that is? How does this differ from an older, ball-model mouse? Which type of mouse do you think is better? Record in your logbook the differences (if any) between using an optical mouse on a traditional colored surface and a black surface.
Determining if optical mice will or will not work as well when being used on a black surface may affect whether people choose to purchase an optical mouse or a more traditional ball-model mouse for their computers.
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