Soap Mouse is a slick interface for airborne input

We all have those gnarly hacks that we still think about years after we first saw them. For serial tipster: [Inne]one of which is [Patrick Baudisch]’s Soap Mouse, a DIY device for air-mousing with components from the store and around the house.

How does it work? The entrails are encased in plastic in the shape of a flattened pill, which slips into a fluffy sock. Squeezing it a bit spins the plastic pill, causing the outward-facing sensor to spin around and around. While we briefly reported on the soap mouse back in 2006, we think it deserves to be in the spotlight today, especially since there’s a complete PDF guide to building one optimized for gaming. If you want a regular pointing device instead, the conversion is described here.

[Patrick] uses a CompUSA (RIP) mouse in the guide, but any suitably slim and also short mouse should work as long as it has a decently long focal range, which is necessary for the sensor to see the torso. Many travel mice out there should fit.

The hull itself is made from two small (empty) bottles of hand sanitizer, chosen for their size, shape and clarity of plastic. The outer casing is a baby sock with a press stud sewn on. [Patrick] says it’s hard to get the sock against the plastic and has tried various lubrication methods, such as a little mineral oil in some plastic bags.

After the break, be sure to watch the video where everything from the different types of interaction to construction is superbly explained in 5½ minutes.

Since 2006, [Patrick] has held workshops where people have built their own soap mice. Did you build one? Let us know in the comments. And don’t forget the Digi-Key sponsored Odd Inputs and Peculiar Peripherals contest, which runs through July 4. Declare your independence from ordinary keyboards and mice and win big!

Thanks for the tip, [Inne]†

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