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Encyclopedia > Trackball
Logitech TrackMan
Logitech TrackMan

A trackball is a pointing device consisting of a ball housed in a socket containing sensors to detect rotation of the ball about two axes—like an upside-down mouse with an exposed protruding ball. The user rolls the ball with the thumb, fingers, or the palm of the hand to move a cursor. Large tracker balls are common on CAD workstations for easy precision. Before the advent of the touchpad, small trackballs were common on portable computers, where there may be no desk space on which to run a mouse. Some small thumbballs clip onto the side of the keyboard and have integral buttons with the same function as mouse buttons. An early example of the trackball, perhaps the earliest, was employed in the Canadian military's DATAR system.[1] Image File history File linksMetadata Logitech-trackball. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Logitech-trackball. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... An Apple pro mouse A pointing device is any computer hardware component (specifically human interface device) that allows a user to input spatial (ie, continuous and multi-dimensional) data to a computer. ... For other uses, see Ball (disambiguation). ... Operating a mechanical 1: Pulling the mouse turns the ball. ... For other uses, see Thumb (disambiguation). ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... For other uses, see Hand (disambiguation). ... A blinking text cursor. ... CADD and CAD redirect here. ... Touchpad and a pointing stick on an IBM Laptop Low resolution close up of a touchpad with a locking button. ... For the band, see Laptop (band). ... A 104-key PC US English QWERTY keyboard layout The Dvorak Simplified Keyboard layout A standard Hebrew keyboard showing both Hebrew and QWERTY. A computer keyboard is a peripheral partially modelled after the typewriter keyboard. ... DATAR, short for Digital Automated Tracking and Resolving, was a pioneering computerized battlefield information system developed by the Canadian Navy in partnership with Ferranti-Packard in the early 1950s. ...

When mice and trackballs still had copper wheels, trackballs had the advantage of being in contact with the user's hand, which is generally cleaner than the desk or mousepad and doesn't drag lint into the copper wheels. The late 1990s advent of scroll wheels, and the replacement of mouseballs by direct optical tracking, put trackballs at a disadvantage and forced them to retreat into niches where their distinctive merits remained important. Most trackballs now have direct optical tracking which follows dots on the ball. Some mice, in place of a scroll wheel, acquired a small trackball between the buttons, useful in maps and other circumstances calling for scrolling in two dimensions (such as Apple's wireless Mighty Mouse). This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ...


Special applications

Large tracker balls are sometimes seen on computerised special-purpose workstations, such as the radar consoles in an air-traffic control room or sonar equipment on a ship or submarine. Modern installations of such equipment may use mice instead, since most people now already know how to use one. However, military mobile anti-aircraft radars and submarine sonars tend to continue using trackballs, since they can be made more durable and more fit for fast emergency use. Large and well made ones allow easier high precision work, for which reason they are still used in these applications (where they are often called "tracker balls") and in computer-aided design. Air Traffic Control Towers (ATCTs) at Schiphol Airport Air Traffic Control (ATC) is a service provided by ground based controllers who direct aircraft on the ground and in the air to ensure safe, orderly and expeditious traffic flow. ... This article is about underwater sound propagation. ... CADD and CAD redirect here. ...

Trackballs have appeared in computer and video games, particularly early arcade games (see a List of trackball arcade games) notably Atari's Centipede and Missile Command. "Football", by Atari, was the first arcade game to use a trackball, released in 1978 - though Atari spells it "trak-ball". Console trackballs, once common in the early 1980s, are now fairly uncommon: the Atari 2600 and 5200 consoles had one as an optional peripheral, with a joystick as standard. The Bandai Atmark, a Japanese console introduced in 1995 had a trackball as standard for its gamepad. Trackballs remain in use in pub golf machines (such as Golden Tee) to simulate swinging the club. Computer and video games redirects here. ... Centipede by Atari is a typical example of a 1980s era arcade game. ... This is a list of arcade games that have used a trackball to interact with the game. ... Centipede is a vertically-oriented shoot em up arcade game produced by Atari in 1980. ... Missile Command is a 1980 arcade game by Atari. ... This article is about the corporate game company. ... Year 1978 (MCMLXXVIII) was a common year starting on Sunday (link displays the 1978 Gregorian calendar). ... Game console redirects here. ... The Atari 2600, released in October 1977, is the video game console credited with popularizing the use of microprocessor based hardware and cartridges containing game code, instead of having non-microprocessor dedicated hardware with all games built in. ... The Atari 5200 SuperSystem, or simply Atari 5200, is a video game console that was introduced in 1982 by Atari as a replacement for the famous Atari 2600. ... For an account of the words periphery and peripheral as they are used in biology, sociology, politics, computer hardware, and other fields, see the periphery disambiguation page. ... For other uses, see Joystick (disambiguation). ... The Apple Pippin was a technology for a multimedia player platform marketed by Apple Inc. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Golden Tee Golf is a golf arcade game series by Incredible Technologies[1]. Since its inception in 1989, the trackball-controlled arcade game has become a standard integrated part of barroom popular culture, right alongside the pool tables, dartboards and jukeboxes. ...

Computer gamers have been able to successfully use trackballs in most modern computer games, including FPS, RPG, and RTS genres, with any slight loss of speed compensated for with an increase in precision. Many trackball gamers are competent at "throwing" their cursor rapidly across the screen, by spinning the trackball, enabling (with practice) much faster motion than can be achieved with a mouse and arm motion. However, many gamers are deterred by the time it takes to 'get used to' the different style of hand control that a trackball requires. Trackballs have also been regarded as excellent complements to analog joysticks, as pioneered by the Assassin 3D 1996 trackball with joystick pass-through capability. This combination provides for two-hand aiming and a high accuracy and consistency replacement for the traditional mouse and keyboard combo generally used on first-person shooter games. Many such games natively support joysticks and analog player movement, like Valve's Half-Life and id Software's Quake series. Joystick elements: 1. ... This article is about video games. ... Half-Life For a quantity subject to exponential decay, the half-life is the time required for the quantity to fall to half of its initial value. ... This article is about the original video game. ...

Trackballs are provided as the pointing device in some public internet access terminals. Unlike a mouse, a trackball can easily be built into a console, and cannot be ripped away or easily vandalised. Two examples are the Internet browsing consoles provided in some UK McDonalds outlets, and the BT Broadband Internet public phone boxes. For the more general networking concept, see computer network, computer networking, and internetworking. ... McDonalds Corporation (NYSE: MCD) is the worlds largest chain of fast-food restaurants [1]. Although McDonalds did not invent the hamburger or fast food, its name has become nearly synonymous with both. ... BT Group plc (also known as British Telecommunications plc) which trades as BT (and previously as British Telecom) is the privatised UK state telecommunications operator. ... For the 2002 movie, see Phone Booth (movie). ...

Because trackballs for personal computers are stationary, they may require less space for operation than a mouse, and may simplify use in confined or cluttered areas such as a small desk. A contemporary computer mouse, with the most common standard features: two buttons and a scroll wheel. ...


People with a mobility impairment use trackballs as an assistive technology input device. Access to an alternative pointing device has become even more important for them with the dominance of graphically-oriented operating systems. There are many alternative systems to be considered. The control surface of a trackball is easier to manipulate and the buttons can be activated without affecting the pointer position.[2] Assistive Technology (AT) is a generic term that includes assistive, adaptive, and rehabilitative devices and the process used in selecting, locating, and using them. ...

Trackball users also often state that they are not limited to using the device on a flat desk surface. Trackballs can be used whilst browsing a laptop in bed, or wirelessly from an armchair to a PC playing a movie.

Trackballs are generally either symmetrical in design, with the ball operated by the fingers, or asymmetrical, with the ball operated by the thumb. Many users favour one format or another, for reasons of comfort, precision, or because it reduces strain on one part of the hand/wrist. Only the symmetric format can be used by both hands. Asymmetric or "handed" trackballs are not generally available in left-handed configurations, due to small demand.

Some computer users prefer a trackball over the more common mouse for ergonomic reasons. There doesn't seem to be conclusive evidence of one being better than the other in terms of comfort. Users are encouraged to test different devices, and to maintain proper posture and scheduled breaks for comfort. Some disabled users find trackballs easier since they only have to move their thumb relative to their hand, instead of moving the whole hand, while others incur unacceptable fatigue of the thumb. Elderly people sometimes have difficulty holding a mouse still while double-clicking; the trackball allows them to let go of the cursor while using the button. Double click may refer to Double click, an action performed with a computer mouse or touchpad. ...

At times when a user is browsing menus or websites rather than typing, it is also possible to hold a trackball in the right hand like a television remote control, operating the ball with the right thumb and pressing the buttons with the left thumb, thus giving the fingers a rest. [3]

Mobile phones

Some mobile phones, such as the T-Mobile Sidekick 3, BlackBerry Pearl and Curve, now feature trackballs. These miniature trackballs are made very small to fit within the thickness of a mobile device, and are controlled by the tip of a finger or thumb. The Danger Hiptop, also sold as the T-Mobile Sidekick, is a GPRS/EDGE mobile phone with wireless Internet capabilities and some functionality similar to a PDA. The Hiptop is sold by T-Mobile in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and Austria. ... The BlackBerry Pearl (8100)/(8110)/(8120)/(8130) is a mobile phone developed by Research In Motion, and the first BlackBerry device with a camera and media player. ... The BlackBerry Curve (8300,8310,8320) is a mobile phone developed by Research In Motion, and the first BlackBerry device to support voice over IP. It has a camera and other multimedia features. ...


This article was originally based on material from the Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, which is licensed under the GFDL. This article does not cite any references or sources. ... “GFDL” redirects here. ...


  1. ^ John Vardalas. From DATAR To The FP-6000 Computer. IEEE Annals of the History of Computing. IEEE. Retrieved on Oct 15, [[2007]].
  2. ^ Dennis van der Heijden. "Alternative Pointing Systems for Mobility Impaired People", Axistive, 2006-03-15. 
  3. ^ Center for Disease Control web page about computer ergonomics
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  Results from FactBites:
What is trackball? - A Word Definition From the Webopedia Computer Dictionary (179 words)
To move the pointer, you rotate the ball with your thumb, your fingers, or the palm of your hand.
The advantage of trackballs over mice is that the trackball is stationary so it does not require much space to use it.
For both these reasons, trackballs are popular pointing devices for portable computers.
Amazon.de: Microsoft Trackball Optical (Retailverpackung): Computer & Zubehör (1199 words)
Deshalb bleibt der Trackball auch über einen längeren Zeitraum hinweg präzise in seiner Bedienung.
Bisher habe ich den Trackball "Marble Mouse" von Logitech benutzt und bin auch ganz zufrieden damit.
Dieser Trackball ist sicher einzigartig, jedenfalls habe ich bisher nichts Vergleichbares gesehen.
  More results at FactBites »



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