Mouse vs. Trackball

Yeah, using that is something I considered too. But then I’d need to seriously cut down on the size of my firmware, because otherwise the trackball code wouldn’t fit. On the other hand, there is work underway to drastically reduce the firmware size… hmm.

Using one half of the Model01 to augment the trackball, or to provide buttons is an intriguing idea. I have not considered that… only the use of the pinouts to save on the controller. But what if all I had was a ball, and everything else was on the keyboard?

Thank you for this idea! A whole new world of opportunities opened now.


Yeah, that’s also an attractive prospect. Personally I think it’d be outweighed for me by preferring something a little more responsive/lower travel for mouse buttons vs KB buttons, so I’d probably just go with some standard arcade switches, but it seems like a thumb ball could be pretty usable with just a minor stretch from home position.

Of course, this is all depending on it even being practical to do. I believe a second SPI device can be hooked up if there’s a pin available for SS, but you also have to switch between active ones and I’m not sure to what extent that’d kill your polling rate.

On the firmware side, doesn’t it already implement HID mouse support for mouse keys? It seems like that’d make it at least much simpler to add actual mouse support with minimal work… :smiley:

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Yeah, the HID part is covered, but sensor reading, communication and the like are not.

The good news is communication via board halves is via I2C, not SPI as I thought, and it appears on a quick scan (you’d know better than me probably) that the SPI pins aren’t being used for anything in the current firmware. I think I’ll pick up one of the JohnK breakouts and a 32u4 arduino and start playing with that a bit for prototyping purposes…


Oops, I missed this reply. I keep my CST parallel with my straight wrist.

Just ordered a Kensington Orbit (with scroll ring) based on comments in this thread. Currently I have an Apple trackpad but been getting tired of switching my right hand over; not too bad with a flat keyboard but with the M01 I really want to have my hands in one position. Looking forward to trying out with the trackball in the middle.

After trying a trackball for the first time about a year ago (Kensington Orbit), I determined that I don’t enjoy using multiple fingers to move my cursor. It was hard for me to figure out a comfortable position. I ended up getting the new Logitech MX Ergo trackball, which is for the thumb. Unfortunately, it is only for righties, but it works MUCH better for me, and it fits nicely into the little nook on the righthand side of my M01. It feels much more precise, and I get tons of programmable buttons. I didn’t want to give that up.

For me, the mouse required gripping where the trackball doesn’t. I use a large Kensington trackball called an ‘ExpertMouse’. With my trackball I let the palm and fingers glide over the ball to move the cursor where I want it. Then I use either a thumb or the little finger (like a karate chop) to press the buttons. These are two deliberate ops: rotate ball, lift fingers, click button. My thumb pushes or tugs on the scroll ring to scroll the page. I hate using the mouse on my PC laptop cuz an hour or so of work brings back the gripping pain.


Be careful with those - I used to love the Logitech Marble Wheel (which was the same basic design) and that’s probably what gave me DeQuervain’s.