Optimal Sensor Position for a Computer Mouse

In Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2020.
Where's the best sensor position for your mouse?
  • Computer mouse have sensor positions on various places. In fact, the sensor position affects user's pointing performance.
  • We present variable-sensor-position mice implementations. With two sensors, a virtual sensor position could be controlled by software.
  • The study on mouse sensor position reveals the centered sensor position is the best compromise.
  • Individual-specific calibration can further improve the pointing performance.
Various mouse sensor position

Computer mice have their displacement sensors in various locations (center, front, and rear). However, there has been little research into the effects of sensor position or on engineering approaches to exploit it. This paper first discusses the mechanisms via which sensor position affects mouse movement and reports the results from a study of a pointing task in which the sensor position was systematically varied. Placing the sensor in the center turned out to be the best compromise: improvements over front and rear were in the 11–14% range for throughput and 20–23% for path deviation. However, users varied in their personal optima. Accordingly, variable-sensor-position mice are then presented, with a demonstration that high accuracy can be achieved with two static optical sensors. A virtual sensor model is described that allows software-side repositioning of the sensor. Individual-specific calibration should yield an added 4% improvement in throughput over the default center position.


All code and data are open for anyone to use.

  • Data
    • TBA

PDF, 5.0 MB
Kim, S., Lee, B., Gemert, T., & Oulasvirta, A. 2020. Optimal Sensor Position for a Computer Mouse In Proceedings of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’20).

  author    = {Kim, Sunjun and Lee, Byungjoo and Gemert, Thomas van and Oulasvirta, Antti},
  title     = {Optimal Sensor Position for a Computer Mouse},
  booktitle = {Proceedings of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems},
  year      = {2020},
  series    = {CHI ’20},
  publisher = {Association for Computing Machinery},
  doi       = {10.1145/3313831.3376735},
  isbn      = {9781450356206},
  keywords  = {Computer, mouse, sensor position, pointing performance, virtual sensor position, optimization},
  url       = {https://doi.org/10.1145/3313831.3376735},


For questions and further information, please contact:

Sunjun Kim

sunjun.kim (at) aalto.fi

Acknowledgements: This work has been funded by the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant no. 637991), and Korea Creative Content Agency (award no. R2019020010). We thank Marko Repo for his great assistance in carrying out the experiments, and Francesco Verdoja and Jens Lundell for their help in the robotic arm experiment.