A pointing device is the most common input device found on a computer or a laptop. So what is a pointing device? A pointing device is hardware that allows you to input spatial data into your device. Graphical User Interface (GUI) helps users control and input data to laptops, for example, with a point, drag, or a click.
Pointing devices are called “Pick device” because they enable the user to choose by clicking the buttons on the mouse. The pointer is moved using a mouse or a trackpad on your laptop’s screen.
The mouse is the most commonly used pointing device. Some others include a trackpad, touchscreen, stylus, pointing stick etc.
All pointing devices are great in functionality. However, it depends on your usage and what works the best for you. Some like working with a mouse other use trackpads or touchscreen.
We will now be discussing various types of pointing devices and their usage.
List of Pointing Devices
The mouse prototype was introduced in the year 1964. The Xerox Alto was the first computer built for individual use in 1973 and was the first computer with a mouse. The mouse is used by moving an arrow-shaped pointer to select, edit and move the icons on your laptop’s screen.
The older mouse used a roller ball technology to operate, which was placed under the mouse and rolled when the user moved the mouse; this helped the computer determine the location of the pointer on the screen.
Modern computer mouse use laser and optical technology; they have to be placed on a silicon surface to be used adequately, such as mouse pads. A mouse usually has two buttons and a scroll wheel. The left button is used to select, move and open icons, while the right button opens a menu to further options.
Mouse now come with wireless connectivity making them easier to carry and less prone to damage.
Types of Mouse
This mouse wraps around your finger. At first, it looks weird and takes some time to get used to; it gets strapped around your index finger, and the buttons are operated using your thumb. The connection can be made with a laptop using Bluetooth. The mouse is used by moving your finger in any direction you want. However, it lags a little and can be frustrating.
As the name suggests, this type of mouse is operated using the user’s feet and is specially made for people with disability. You can use it to increase productivity by allowing your hands to be focused on the keyboard while the mouse is controlled by your feet.
A camera mouse uses software which allows the user to control the pointer using their head as the tracking device. Movements of the head are translated to move the cursor on your screen. Placing the cursor on an icon for a short time generates the click.
This type of mouse is highly beneficial for people with physical disabilities. Only software and a webcam are required.
EagleEyes mouse is similar to a camera mouse; instead of your head, the eyes control the pointer. This mouse enables people with disabilities to learn and operate a laptop.
Gaming Mouse are trendy due to their high responsiveness and extra buttons. They are built specifically for gamers and have multiple customization opportunities with a high dpi rate. For example, you can change the weight of your mouse to your liking and the extra buttons can be mapped to do different inputs and replace keyboard keys. They come in different sizes, styles and designs and have RGB lights to give you a lovely gamer aesthetic to match your setup.
Touchpads are a recent technology. They are usually built-in on laptops and provide the same functionality as a mouse. It’s rectangular and is placed just below the keyboard. The user’s fingers are used to move the pointer. A simple touch on the pad is registered as a click while
you can scroll, zoom, and open the extra menu with two fingers. Some of the touchpads have physical buttons, just like a regular mouse.
Typically found with gaming consoles. Joysticks are an excellent pointing device, and it has very accurate functions. Joysticks such as Playstation or Xbox controllers are high-quality examples. Modern joysticks are wireless and have good battery life.
A Trackpoint is a small circular knob on the middle of a keyboard. To use it, you press the knob and move it in any direction, which moves the cursor on the screen.
It takes little space and fits the middle of the keys. It provides extra accessibility to a user along with a laptop touchpad to enhance the user experience.
A technology that revolutionized the mobile industry is the touchscreen. Today whether it’s a mobile phone, laptop, watch, or tablet, each consists of a touchscreen to input data. Touchscreens are operated using your fingers or a stylus. This technology is highly responsive and very easy to use.
Ultimately a pointing device that will be best depends upon your usage and environment. If you are a traveller and work on the go, a touchpad or a touchscreen is a suitable option, while if you work on a desktop or are into gaming, consider getting a gaming mouse or joystick.