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Bad mice gone good Answered

I originally posted this as a collaboration. Turns out it's better as a forum item, which may eventually evolve into a collaboration. I'll try to put up at least one image this weekend. Meanwhile, settle in for a bit of a read, and let me know what you think.

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- About 2 dozen half dead or completely dead Apple USB mice, mostly black, some white, bundled and hung to age.

- 8-10 Apple keyboards, some flavored with cola or hot chocolate, mostly black, some white.
(Randofo may contribute more, we'll see what comes of this caper. See his keyboard hack.

Optional additives:

- Dead hard drives, also part of the job. I've been wanting to figure out how to hack the controllers and drive arms to make a sculpture that waves the arms vertically, in controllable ways. I don't know yet if this is a separate project or not.

- Glue, solder, etc.

- Other junk, hopefully minimal, unless it adds a whole new level to the project.


I gathered them by their USB connectors and hung them as sculpture, (photo coming soon) awaiting further inspiration.

The Project

First idea:

Wire, (or rewire, in this case) the LEDs inside the mice, and make a decorative chandelier.

Minimalist that I am, my first impulse is to leave the mice as original and intact as possible, while transforming an everyday object into something delightful and interesting.

Current questions:

- How to wire them all together, without making it a life's work?

- Static or dynamic? Dimmable? Random "flickering/fading" like the new smarter Christmas lights, only more interesting?

- Interactive? Respond to sound, temperature or other environmental changes? I like the idea of cause and effect resulting in some new information the observer can come away with, something that actually makes sense, rather than, "That's kind of interesting, but what for?"

- Networkable?? So other Bad mice gone Good can influence behaviors?

- Some sort of reference or action to the original intended function, i.e., input device, man-machine interface, 21st century worker harness, pixel pushing device, etc.

- Hack a keyboard to control the mice? Force them to spell?? I like the idea of subverting/reversing the input/output direction.

- use the reflective sensor in the mouse to provide input/output.

- Influence Jonathan Ive and his brilliant staff at Apple to put some effective strain relief on all new mice!


And I use that term fairly loosely. Yet I find that good parameters, even if arbitrary (an affordable luxury with art and fooling around projects) help define the project, keep it manageable, and hence more likely to be completed. Sometimes it's just more fun too. I'll refrain from an essay on that for now. (hm, maybe an essay section would be good Instructables feature request?)

- simple
- can be made in 24 or fewer work hours.
- cheap, with minimal non-salvaged parts.
- repeatable, so others can create their own, in the fine, albeit young, Instructables tradition.
- finished product is fun and delightful to most people, old or young, geek or non-geek.


Please let me know what you think of this idea so far.
New ideas, spinoffs, etc. are welcome. Please link or keyword all of them so we can see the connection between projects.

Enough for now, I need to overhaul my resume so I can find a more interesting and creative job. SF Bay Area queries are encouraged!


Yes. I have a modest stack of keyboards and a mouse or two. I've been trying to figure out what to do with them for ages. It would be great to use a keyboard to trigger a couple of hundred devices without the use of a computer, but I have yet to build up the motivation to figure this out. Or maybe you can hit the key on a keyboard and light up one particular mouse. I'm not sure what good this may do. The mice can be filled with cement knotted together and used as a bolas. Or a device that goes inside the keyboard, connects to the circuit board and just starts typing something out over and over when you plug into a computer. Or ummm.... I'll get back to this.

How about replacing the trackball's optical sensors with a PIC chip or something of the sort controlling mouse movement. It would be cool to automate mouse movement.

Mouse-driven Ouija board

Allow for eight mice to provide input at the same time and put up a clickable Ouija board on the computer screen. A website version would be easy to make. Now invite seven friends over, light some candles, and talk to the dead.