Of Mice and Menus

By DavidChadwick

Robbie Burns poem "To a Mouse". Mice feature prominently in literature and contemporary culture
Robbie Burns poem “To a Mouse”. Mice feature prominently in literature and contemporary culture

Robbie Burns composed his famous poem “To a Mouse” after destroying a mouse’s nest while plowing a field one autumn day in 1785. He reflects on the devastation for the mouse family with the loss of their home as winter approaches, but also ponders that the mouse is only concerned with the present, not fretting about the past or future like us humans. And the poem contains the famous lines in Scots dialect “The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley” (“often go awry” in English), later adopted by John Steinbeck as the title of his 1937 novella of depression era struggle “Of Mice and Men”.

The first computer mouse was designed in 1965 and used wheels instead of a ball
The first computer mouse was designed in 1965 and used wheels instead of a ball


Mice are an important part of our literature globally, I am sure you can think of examples from your own culture, and it is not surprising that this familiar animal was chosen as the name for a small, movable computer pointing devices in 1965 when Bill English submitted an entry to a NASA competition for the best way to select a point on a computer display. The “mouse” was the winner. The first examples used wheels but these were quickly replaced by balls in devices from Telefunken in 1968 and a newer design from Bill English 1971.

3Dconnexion’s SpacePilot Pro. The ultimate mouse for CAD designers?

When you think about the first mouse you used and what you are using today it might seem that there has not been a huge amount of development in the last 40 years, although the scroll wheel and wireless capability are two significant advances that are now used in most standard mice. To support applications like gaming and 3D CAD the development has been faster and gone further with some amazing devices like 3Dconnexion’s SpaceMouse that looks like it could be used to control the USS Enterprise in 2130. It is actually designed to be used by the left hand while the right hand uses a regular mouse. The SpaceMouse enables users to perform simultaneous 3D rotation, pan and zoom operations on their 3D models in a highly precise and ergonomic way. As one Solid Edge user comments “I’ve been using a SpaceMouse since the mid 1990’s, and can’t imagine working without one. When faced with a workstation without a SpaceMouse, it feels like I’ve lost the use of my left hand!”

3Dconnexion will be demonstrating the SpaceMouse Pro and their new CadMouse at SEU15 in Cincinnati October 26th-28th (you can still register for this important event for our Solid Edge users in North America). The CadMouse is a new “regular” mouse that is specifically designed for CAD professionals and can be used together with the SpaceMouse for a highly productive 2 handed workflow. The CadMouse has a full size, dedicated middle mouse button so you don’t have to press the scroll wheel hundreds or thousands of times per day. Of course you can also activate the “MMB” by clicking the scroll wheel, but 3Dconnexion believes CadMouse users will quickly realize the sense in using the dedicated MMB. In addition, the Smart Scroll wheel and other CAD-specific tools make working in (and out) of CAD applications more comfortable, efficient and fun. One feature I like is the ability to program commonly used commands onto an onscreen popup menu that minimizes the amount of mouse travel and menu picks, making applications like Solid Edge faster to use. You can meet with 3Dconnexion at SEU15 and try out the CadMouse for yourself and winners of our design contest at SEU15 will receive both a SpaceMouse and a CadMouse!If you cant get to SEU15 watch the video below to see the CadMouse in action.

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at