MS IntelliMouse
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September 19th, 2023
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MS IntelliMouse

In this episode, we will be destroying an MS IntelliMouse Explorer (the original model).

Here is our victim now:

Opps, wrong destruction :-)

Anyway, in the past few years, there have been at least two major versions of Microsoft IntelliMouse Explorer. Lets see if you can pick out our real victim:

Guessed it? It's the one in the center. It lived through so much Quake-ing that you can even see my palm print on it! The new and the old one look very similar from underneath...

(victim is on the left) From first observation, there doesn't seem to be any screws holding this thing together. I even scratched off that bar code to see if there is a screw underneath (we'll later see how naive that first observation has been).

The tools we'll use are the usual screw driver ones:


Lets try to pry our victim open... (since there are no observable screws)


This is MUCH harder than it looks. These mice are built surprisingly tough. Sooner or later however, even the tough mice breaks under this type of torture.


It doesn't quite go as "easy" on the other sides... This thing just won't break!!!


Seriously. This thing of plastic can withstand a lot of punishment.


Maybe going after the buttons would work...


Well, that didn't get us anywhere. The buttons came off relatively easily, but that still leaves a tough plastic shell to break through.

Going in through the top didn't work either...


What's left? The other buttons?


That sort of worked. At least we can see the circuit. Lets go after the sides again...


What's this? A screw covered by one of those plastic thingies? Do I feel dumb or what? Hmm...


Well, that's that. Finally got it open!


Wow, that was surprisingly tough. So what's next?

Lets take out the lenses first... (and have some fun)


The lens that is used to illuminate the diode's light kind of looks like a small clear-plastic rocket. It's a convex lens, so lets see if we can summon the power of the sun to burn those little plastic pads that covered up the screws... And we'll dedicate the job to... Mr. Burnie, the pyromaniac.

Mr. Burnie (the pyromaniac)

Anyway, after about 20 minutes of trying to set that little plastic thing on fire using that rocket shaped lens, the twisted (just look at him, he really is twisted!) Mr. Burnie got tired, and just burned the plastic himself:


Twisted (as in crazy), heh? But is it more twisted than this whole document? Hmm...

Anyway, let's get back to the business of breaking (and learning) stuff.

The wheel LEDs are almost identical to the ones in the HP mouse (another destruction document), so we won't go into them that much.

The real brain/key to the Optical Mouse is a little digital camera that takes 16x16 images at a rate of 15,000 per second. There is also a very powerful processor that compares each captured frame to the previous one and determines where and how far the mouse has moved. Needless to say, this is quite different from how a ball mouse works.

And here's our brain right here:


I did not make those holes in that chip. It was like that when I got here.

Anyway, the underside (right picture) is a pin-size camera. Quite intriguing, isn't it? Wanna see what's inside? Yeah, me too!


Here's a close up:

This little thing captures 15,000 images per second! Impressive, isn't it? Let's get it out of the circuit to take a more closer look at it.

We'll use my trusty soldering iron and a desoldering tool:


Now that that's over, we can separate the chip from the board...


In case you're wondering what that is in the leftmost image, that's the solder that was holding this thing together. Anyway, let's wheel out the most nerdish tool in my toolbox.

And now (with Jedi help - I wonder if anyone noticed) we'll observe the unobservable...


That's just at 75x. It gets a lot more interesting the deeper we look... just check out these:

1,000,000x 1,000,000,000x

Gosh, there are people down there!!! Small microbe like people! It's the greatest discovery ever! Wow!

Now wasn't that worth the effort or what?

Until next time...

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