Introduction: Green Mouse

Picture of Green Mouse

Corded mice are a thing of the past. Computer mice use power, that we all know! How much power? Not enough for the average person to care. I'm sure that the millions of mice out there must add up to a substantial amount. Especially if you use rechargeable batteries. But that isn't my main concern. How many of you have a wireless mouse and have to constantly replace batteries to use it? And do you dispose of them properly? Heavy metals can enter the environment via a landfill and may produce the following potential problems or hazards:

-Pollute the lakes and streams as the metals vaporize into the air when burned.
-Contribute to heavy metals that potentially may leach from solid waste landfills.
-Expose the environment and water to lead and acid.
-Contain strong corrosive acids.
-May cause burns or danger to eyes and skin.

Because of this I propose a clean green mouse

Step 1: Green Methods

Picture of Green Methods

All of the methods below would require a wireless optical mouse. I will discuss possible ways of modifing this conventional mouse to a more environmentally friendly device.

A solar powered mouse is not an obvious solution to this problem. You would think an office would not provide enough energy in terms of light. I was surprised to find a product out there that puts this energy to use and unfortunately I cant take credit for this Idea. Someone came up with it before me.

"Minister Cramer of the Ministry for Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment is taking part in a user trial of the world's first exclusively photovoltaic-powered (PV) computer mouse."


If I may say so, It is damn sexy

Unfortunately a solar panel is quite hard to integrate into a conventional mouse as there isn't much room with the batteries. A very efficient cell could be used so it doesn't have to be as large. It might also be uncomfortable to hold after the surface of the mouse has been altered.

It may be easiest to buy a relatively flat mouse and use a small solar panel, or even better, a flexible one and gluing it to the surface with resin. Many small solar panels could also be connected so that the panels lie flat.

Please comment below on any ideas you have

*Note: This instructable has no instructions and has been posted to inspire

Step 2: METHOD 2

Picture of METHOD 2


This idea I'm rather proud of and cannot find on the net (I might be incorrect). The idea was to use the motion of the mouse to power it. I do not know wether this is feasible. My idea was to use a heavy ball, just like in an old mechanical mouse, and replace the ball with a magnet in the shape of a ball or a magnet within some sort of heavy material. the magnet would then spin (omnidirectionally) within a coil (or many coils). This would hopefully provide enough power for the mouse to function. At first I thought I could find a cordless mechanical mouse but that turned out to be a dead end, as you could imagine. Therefore it would have to be an optical mouse with a separate power unit that consists of the magnetic ball and coils.

This is the idea I'm most keen on building, If I ever do I will post my results

Step 3: METHOD 3

Picture of METHOD 3

The reason why I thought up these ideas is beacause of a mouse I bought that is powered by induction, the same technique used to charge electric toothbrushes. As you would've guessed it runs off the power supplied by the USB port. I thought that if its possible to run a mouse on a weak magnetic field produced by alternating current, then it is surely possible to have an array of thin hardrive magnets to produce the field (the mouse would only work when moving but thats okay). For this to work the magnets would have to alternate in polarity. Yeah I know that it is probably a not a good idea to have a super powerful array of magnets sitting on your desk, especially not close to a CRT monitor. Instead of magnets you could still use a coil to produce the magnetic field, but powered by a solar panel. An even better idea would be to integrate the solar panel into the induction pad.

I will try the array of magnets and post it later on


ChrisC6 (author)2017-02-17

Depending on how serious of a gamer you are, or how much you use a pc you could even have a wrist band that charges with movement. I think this is 100% possible but now a days people can only envision optical mice. You would probably go back to mechanical. have a small motor on the 2 axis. The idea of rollers along the sides sounds good but would require bulk to collect it. There are ways also to capture static electricity as well. I have been playing with this idea a few days now. Clicking can create power, wheel mouse up and down. etc. I think you could at least very significantly extend the life of a wireless mouse.

joshlobley (author)2013-06-18

Here is an idea. Build a battery charger using the joule thief circuit. You can get "dead" batteries from your remote controls,electric toothbrushes,razors.etc and use these to power your joule thief circuit battery charger. Then you can charge your rechargeable AA batteries to use in your wireless mouse. I'll post plans to make one on my joule thief circuit website (

awesomecreations (author)2012-12-25

A while ago I had an idea to have a magnetic mousepad and magnetic mouse with like poles facing each other. In theory, this would make the mouse levitate and have virtually no friction. It would also be quite annoying though, because the mouse can't be left on the mousepad.

Aegian2424 (author)2011-07-25

why not have cord coming out of your mouse but instead od it being connected to you computer it be connected to a solar panel?

Aegian2424 (author)2011-07-25

place a litle ball (like in the old .... mice) as you move the mouse around the ball would make the magnet spin and thus provide a current

67spyder (author)2011-03-15

Buy two sets of batteries from so you can keep one set charging in your computer while you are using the mouse that way when the batteries die you are only down for the few seconds it takes to change the batteries.

Dream Dragon (author)2010-09-28

I just charge the beatteries with a little solar pannel in the window by my desk. one set in the charger, one set in the mouse. When the mouse starts to get unresponsive, just change them over.

labelreader (author)2007-11-16

I switched to using a battery-free, uncorded Wacom mouse a while back. The tablet has a cord, of course, but the mouse does not. Most Wacom models come with both a pen and a mouse. Each device behaves differently in terms of the motion of the pointer; the pen positions the pointer in absolute proportion to its position on the pad (if the pen is in the upper left corner of the pad, the pointer is in the upper left corner of the screen), but the mouse moves the pointer relatively, just like a traditional mouse. The smallest model is not any more expensive than a nice Logitech mouse, and once you remove the snap-on clear part designed for artists, it's about the size of a traditional mouse pad.

I use one too, as is.  It was a little anoying  at first because it does not act exactly like an ordinary mouse but after a while you forget.  I never took the clear part off. It works  automatically in linux and  I installed drivers for it in xp. (Mine must be 4 years old).

scott! (author)labelreader2009-07-04

Yeah, I use the WACOM Banboo Fun tablet myself, but it's a tad small to use the mouse, so I don't end up using it all the time.

puffin_juice (author)labelreader2007-11-19

I hadn't heard of this brand before you mentioned it. thanks

79spitfire (author)2009-07-19

You could use a larger solar panel and "dock" for the mouse to recharge a Li-ion battery in the mouse. In any event the mouse or the panel has to be left in a sunny spot for recharging, making the mouse hard to use in daylight hours.

79spitfire (author)2009-07-19

You could mount a magnet in a tube inside of the mouse with a coil of wire wrapped around the tube. Then as the mouse moved side to side it would generate a small voltage and recharge a battery or cap. Look at how a "shakey" flashlight works. Just a thought...

mzungu (author)2009-07-04

I don't think there is enough movement to generate enough power to run the LED, the camera, the processor. You can easily calculate how much power going into moving a mouse with basic physics for Kinetic Energy, an.d you will probably sees that you will need to move the mouse non-stop.

Spectrace (author)2007-08-11

thats pretty cool. now that i think of it, the wireless mouse i use for my laptop batteries keep dying recently, but i just put in "dead" batteries i have already used to get the last bit of power they have. a comment i have on Method 3, thats basically the same idea used in graphics tablets too, for example the Wacom Graphire tablets (which is what every computer at my school uses). Great instructable

dalbyman (author)Spectrace2009-04-14

Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuude. search for 'joule thief' on here, then search for 'micro joule thief' or similar, you could easily build one into a wireless mouse and possibly extend battery life by up to 100% (based on my expericance with an led torch)

blakdragon19 (author)dalbyman2009-06-18

an led is somewhat simpler than a mouse. I understand your enthusiasm for the joule thief circuit, because i share it. unfortunately, it would be impossible to power amouse with this circuit. the joule theif powers LED's with undercharged batteries using an inductor and a transistor to collect power. the transistor allows power to flow to the coil and ferrite, which incucts current in both coils for a split second, but it is enough time for the charge to build up. once the charge becomes high enough to power the LED, it passes through the LED, to the ground of the battery, lighting the LED. this happens hundreds of times every second,so it looks like an unbroken flow of electricity, but it is in fact turning on and off faster than your eye can see. this would not work for a mouse, because the transmitter circuit requires constant power. keep innovating, the uses for the joule thief in daily life are endless!

JohnnyDD (author)2009-04-12

Call me old fashioned but what about an wind up mouse? Could it work? Maybe you could have one of those kinetic motors in there... and it will charge up as you move the mouse? And for emergency you could wind it up... Now that would be cool! Anyone got any ideas if this would work or not?

blakeredfield (author)2009-02-15

All good ideas. Also useful for keyboards. Idea 2 is used in my Seiko Kinetic watch. Very nice. You need some numbers to see whats viable and what isnt. Static electricity is never that useful, as current is very low.

harolzoidium (author)2009-02-07

Great ideas! But no matter how the energy is produced, some sort of energy storage would be necessary in the product.

mrnatural (author)2009-02-04

hey, what about using a mouse-wheel-generator instead of a mouse-ball-generator? i think wheels have much more movement than the mouse itself.

halonoob1234 (author)2008-09-15

I use a microsoft laser mouse with a range of 10m, so I don't think any of these will be powerful enough to power it, except maybe the magnet pad one, but that one basically defeats the purpose of "wireless laser mouse".

whiteironhorse1 (author)2008-08-14

have you thought about those flashlights that you shake? maybe you can use that in some way to make power.

littlechef37 (author)2008-05-28

Several good ideas..... Wind powered mouse ? NO. Solar.... ? My hand is on it half of the day. Heat powered ? Your hand is getting warm on that mouse isnt it ?..... Hydrogen Powered.....Ok overdone Magnetically powered... ? I like this idea.... I use a tv a my monitor s o I don't have to worry about my screen turning green or purple. Generator... ? why not just a little electric generator inside your mouse ?? Static Electricity....? Your mouse pad is usually made of a fabric.....

dombeef (author)littlechef372008-08-04

nice ideas

humoogous (author)2008-06-01

A4Tech already sells a wireless mouse that doesn't use batteries. It uses a special mouse pad that draws power from the usb port that in turns magnetically powers up the mouse

Cerne (author)2008-05-26

These are very interesting ideas, but they aren't actually going to save any power. Solar panels still require a huge amount of electricity to make, a standard household roof panel takes 17 years to produce the amount of electricity it took to make. Also solar panels convert the majority of there captured energy into heat which would become very uncomfortable. As for magnets you know they only produce at most the amount of energy required to make them right? The kinetic charger might work especially if it's used in a similar manner to hybrid cars as a way of saving "wasted" energy. LED's are very energy efficient even the very bright ones in your mouse. Overall your best bet is too used a wired mouse, I have one that's lasted for almost a decade, or just recycle your batteries.

technodude92 (author)2008-05-23

Method 2 looks very similar to an automatic watch look it up on wikipedia. you could have two disks one positioned like this | and the other -- when looking at the mouse from the top. So that forward and back movementwill charge the batteries. or you could build a "shaker" mouse.

Angus06 (author)2008-05-13

Here's something I've been messing around with: I've got a solar panel I use to charge several rechargeable "AA" batteries with. I then pull out two of them (when they're done, which is especially important if they're Nicads) and toss them into the mouse and keyboard. In fact, this text being typed from a battery powered by two 100% solar powered batteries. Pros: Free, clean, renewable energy Cons: Somewhat frequent recharge (timing depends on current output of the solar cell array), and the mouse does not like the batteries very much. Rechargeables are 1.2-1.25 volts DC, whereas alkalines and the like (non-rechargeables) are 1.5V DC, so that is problematic with things like clocks, where the screen is much more faint. I've got rechargeable AAAs powering my uber calculator without a problem, so its that simple. I'll probably make an instructable soon on my various solar endeavors. In short: Solar-charge two AA rechargeable batteries (panel, blocking diode, battery holder, batteries), and put them in stuff. Brilliant!

Angus06 (author)Angus062008-05-13

edit: a keyboard powered by two 100% solar powered batteries

coonass (author)2008-03-06

My bet would be solar. Calculators manage to run on relatively tiny solar cells... if your circuit involved an efficient enough battery and solar cell combination, there's plenty of real estate inside the average mouse to mount the added power circuitry. I personally own a few mice which have flat surfaces and can take a solar array larger than anything I've seen in a solar calculator. Alternatively, you could have a metal-bodied mouse with thermocouples which might be able to charge internal batteries. I mean, the load's an LED and a phototransistor or photoelectric cell. The waveform from the mouse is shaped by the shutter mechanism between the LED and photodetector device - no signal processing beyond that required. It's not as though the electrical load from the mouse represents a major drain on the computer - the idea is simply to get the heavy metals from mouse batteries out of the trash stream. If this is such a worry, it seems to me that the best move is to either go back to hard-wired mice or have a USB-powered mouse pad which is also a low-level RF emitter, which would induce a current in a wire induction loop and rectifier assembly inside the mouse. Even simpler - have a thin-film microdiode or transistor grid array built into a wired mouse pad and a mouse whose only active component is a pin-sized magnet which would cause voltage spikes at points inside the pad where the magnet passes. The mouse itself has no electrically powered or even moving parts inside - but there's that pad, which would draw a tiny current from the USB port into which it was plugged. Design Copyright 2008, Vance P. Frickey

JazzmanSA80 (author)2008-02-04

I'm not a fan of this type of mouse power because it's not really a "green" mouse like the other methods. If you are going to use a mouse like this, you might as well buy a wireless mouse with internal batteries and a charging dock. You can use that anywhere, not just on the supplied surface, and a 2 hour charge can last you about a week with many of the mice out there. I encourage you to focus on the motion-powered method, because it is the only feasible method that is totally power-independent.

JazzmanSA80 (author)2008-02-04

My bet would be on motion. If you were really tricky you might even be able to get a Sterling engine to generate enough power from the heat of your hand? I'm not sure if one that would fit in a mouse could generate enough power though. It probably can't. Plus it would probably vibrate the whole mouse. Ahem... so yeah, motion sounds good lol.

Amall23 (author)2007-12-17

Reading these comments I just had to create an account and post my own comment.

Why not make a "shaker" mouse? Like the shaker flashlights. It is similiar to your second idea. I hope to see you build that one!

puffin_juice (author)Amall232007-12-18

A shaker one, true true. a good way to stretch your hand a bit, every once in a while. I might try it. First have to finish another project though. and make lots of christmas pressies. Ah man it will be a busy next few days

munchman (author)2007-12-03

Use a laptop. Then you can use the trackpad instead!

aureliansh (author)2007-12-02

you simply must join my group alternitive energy your idea is revolutionary you should sell your idea

Emmanuel101 (author)2007-11-04

I've been thinking about a 'green' mouse as well, and your idea in step 2 looks like a good one to me. I'm not sure about method 2 here though, how would it create power? As far as I can tell, the magnet and coil will not move relatively to each other, so no magnetic flux would be induced. Please point me to what I'm overlooking here.

puffin_juice (author)Emmanuel1012007-11-06

the magnetic field is rotating, change in direction of the field.

Sarten X (author)2007-10-26

Regarding method 2, and the concern of not enough power being generated from the rolling magnet ball. Power is related to the strength of the magnet, the orientation of the magnet and coil, and the amount of coiling. First, use a powerful magnet. You mentioned strong magnets near computers not being a good idea... Actually, it's not magnets that are the problem. It's magnetic fields. Those fields can be contained inside a shield. I'm thinking the mouse itself could be shielded, and connected to a mousepad with a wire. That wire would do two things. First, it'd connect the shield of the mouse to a metal plate, which should make the shield almost complete (there would be a small area not protected, but it should be enough to make Mr. Faraday happy). Second, the connecting wire would be parallel to another wire, that would act as an antenna for transmitting the mouse's signal outside the shield. The other two points are simple. If the magnet spins around its poles (like the earth does, or at least tries to), no power would be generated. This can be fixed by forcing magnets into close proximity to each other, in perpendicular orientation. When one magnet is spinning around its axis, the other is flipping, generating maximal power. I envision a 3-layer magnet sandwich. The axis of the outer magnets would point like a toothpick through the sandwich. The inside magnet would be perpendicular to that, pointing out of the sandwich. Lastly, the amount of power generated is also related to the number of turns in the coil. More turns, more power. It shouldn't be hard to see where I'm going with this...

VIRON (author)2007-08-14

I think a motion-charged wireless mouse is possible and a great advance in mouse tech. There are many great ideas here that may work.

Myself (author)2007-08-12

The inductive pads waste a *lot* of power in order to transfer enough into the mouse for it to be useful. Optical mice have a pretty bright LEDs, which take significantly more power than the encoder-wheel style of yesteryear.

I use a touchpad and a corded mouse, but I don't think there's anything wrong with regular rechargeable wireless mice. Nickel-metal hydride batteries are easy to recycle, and even when someone landfills them, they're not toxic like the old nickel-cadmium ones were.

Now, if you're opposed to nickel for some reason, or batteries in general, consider a capacitor. Build a voltage regulator that lets you put a capacitor in place of rechargeable batteries, and use a regular mouse with a charging cradle.

Or build a little dynamo in, with a crank or a pull-string. I think the string would work pretty well, since you could wind a spring which would pay out its energy into the dynamo at the right speed (similar to the Freeplay radios) without the bulk of a fold-out crank.

lemonie (author)2007-08-12

So this isn't finished? How about unplugging the mouse and using the keyboard? (or has sofware become so mouse-orientated that it's not practical anymore...) L

puffin_juice (author)lemonie2007-08-12

What did you mean, "so this isn't finished". if you meant the instructable. Not really. I will try and test at least one of the methods, as soon as I come across a cheap wireless mouse.

lemonie (author)puffin_juice2007-08-12

Yea I meant the Instructable, hope you get it to work. L

lemonie (author)lemonie2007-08-12

Not that easy without a mouse. But I can manage everything I want except reading comments on yellow comment boxes. L

gmjhowe (author)2007-08-11

i think that most the time people use a wireless mouse they proberly dont need too, so a good first method is to find a good mouse with a thin wired connection, and then use some sort of bungie, (like a thing to hold your wire out the way) i use one of these, and its like wireless!

puffin_juice (author)gmjhowe2007-08-11

That is very true, but you have to agree that Minister Cramers mouse looks pretty cool

gmjhowe (author)puffin_juice2007-08-12

yes, yes it does, however, i have a razer mouse, great for work and play! specially if your a designer

Vertigo666 (author)2007-08-11

I'm just wondering, wouldn't your hand cover up the solar cells? or would they collect energy before and store it in some sort of internal battery?

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