How Do Mouse Sensors Work? (Optical, Laser, etc.)

Guide, Mouse

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Most of the gaming mice have optical sensors nowadays. But do you know how they actually work?

If you look at the bottom of an optical mouse, you will see a LED and the sensor, which is basically a small camera.

Here is the bottom of the Logitech G Pro mouse, which has an optical sensor called Hero:

When you move the optical mouse, the sensor takes snapshots of the surface(that would be your mousepad).

It takes hundreds, if not thousands, of shots a second and decides the direction of your mouse by comparing the snapshots.

Then, the mouse sends the mouse movements to the computer, which moves the cursor or crosshair on the screen. The rate at which this happens is called polling rate.

What About Other Sensors?

Laser Sensors

Laser mice work in a similar way, but uses infrared light instead of LED light. Infrared lights are invisible to the naked eye.

Above is the Logitech G9x. You can see that the sensor does not have any lights even though it is turned on.

Ball Mice

Before sensors, computer mice used a rubber ball instead of an optical or laser sensor. The ball would roll around depending on the direction you move the mouse, which moved the cursor on the screen.

We hope this helped you guys learn something about mouse sensors today. Let us know what sensor you play with in the comments!

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Andrew is a lifetime gamer and a former amateur esports player. He has worked as the manager for teams such as the New York Excelsior and the Los Angeles Gladiators. Andrew has been mentioned in ESPN, Inven, The Ringer and other esports magazines and journals.