Smart Brown Mouse Eats Your Movements, Not Batteries

If you’ve fallen in love with the convenience of wireless computer mice, you’ve probably noticed that they tend to run through batteries like crazy. Corky, a little brown mouse with a spunky attitude, could drastically cut down on battery consumption while making the world a slightly greener place.

Corky, designed by Adele Peters as an entry in the 2010 Greener Gadgets Design Competition, uses the motion of the mouse itself to maintain a charge. Movement across the desk, right and left clicking, and movement of the scroll wheel all activate the piezoelectric component that converts the user’s movements into stored energy.

The mouse is made of eco-friendly, recycled and sustainably sourced materials. All of the plastic components are recycled, and the cork is both recycled and biodegradable. Part of Peters’ design is a take-back and recycling program that would allow sellers to collect unwanted Corkys and recycle them, making the net environmental impact of the product a very small one.

There are inherent problems in any gadget that uses piezoelectricity as its primary power source, not the least of which being the amount of force that it takes to generate any usable amount of energy. But with careful enough design, a mouse like this (with or without the clever eco-friendly construction) could actually be produced in the future – and with the amount of time most of us spend at the computer every day, it would be a very welcome advance in mouse tech.

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See more in Energy & Power or under Science. May, 2011.