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Apple patents mouse that can change shape and give feedback

Apple Mouse Patent
Apple Mouse Patent (Image credit: USPTO)

What you need to know

  • A newly published Apple patent has revealed designs for a mouse that could one day change shape.
  • It uses actuators to change the contour of the mouse's exterior surface.
  • The system could adapt ergonomics to make it more comfortable, and provide haptic feedback to the user.

An Apple patent published today has revealed a design for a mouse that could one day change shape and give haptic feedback to a user.

The patent is titled 'Mouse having a shape-changing enclosure' and its abstract states:

Systems and methods for changing the shape of a mouse or other input device are described. In one embodiment, a mouse includes an articulating member that defines a curvature of an exterior surface of the mouse. The mouse may include one or more actuators for manipulating the articulating member to change the contour of the exterior surface of the mouse. The curvature may be changed to optimize the ergonomics of the mouse and/or deliver tactile feedback to users.

The system revolves around a mouse that features actuators inside its enclosure that can help the mouse to change shape, and also give out haptic feedback to its user. The description states:

The mouse may include one or more actuators for manipulating the articulating member to change the curvature of the exterior surface of the mouse. The curvature may be changed to optimize the ergonomics of the mouse and/or deliver tactile feedback to users.In one embodiment, the profile shape or curvature of the mouse is optimized to fit a user's hand. The mouse may include various sensors for determining if the curvature matches a contour of the user's hand, and the shape of the mouse may be changed accordingly.In another embodiment, the profile shape or curvature of the mouse is optimized for a particular function or activity being performed at an associated computing device. For example, a relatively flat curvature may be chosen for tasks that are typically performed on a trackpad and a curved surface may be chosen for tasks that are typically performed using a traditional mouse.

As you can see, the mouse could change shape to adapt to the task on screen, for example, change to a flatter shape when you need a trackpad, and reverting to a more traditional mouse enclosure for other activities.

In another embodiment, the shape of the mouse may be changed to provide feedback to a user of the mouse and/or an associated computing device. The shape of the mouse may be changed in response to a change at a user interface of a computing device associated with the mouse.

You can read the patent in full here. As always, a patent is no guarantee of a product, but this one is pretty cool. What do you think of a mouse that could change shape and give haptic feedback?

Stephen Warwick
Stephen Warwick

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple.