Is there any good research done to find out the work done in clicking a mouse button?

Any link to that would be greatly appreciated.


I am not too sure whether this question belongs here or not, so please let me know, if it doesn't, I will remove it.

I have already googled "work done to click a mouse" "mouse click research" and other relevant queries on google and google scholar, but only in vain!


To prove that experimental Physics is alive and well, I used my kitchen scales to measure the force needed to click the button on my mouse, and it turned out to be 100g i.e. 1 N plus or minus about 10%. The distance the button moves is about a millimeter i.e. 0.001m, plus or minus 20% (OK - you try measuring it without a micrometer to hand) so the work per click is 0.001J $\pm$ 22%.

The mouse does 0.001J work on me while the button is rising again, but I have not noticed any invigorating effects from this.

Note that I have ignored the work required to move my finger, i.e. I have assumed that I am 100% efficient (an approximation that my colleagues would question).

All suggestions for refinements to this calculation will be gratefully ignored.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ ...an approximation that my colleagues would question... Consider me one of your colleagues! A while ago I came across biophysics papers on the amount of energy (in the form of ATP -> ADP conversion) required by one of the myosin heads to produce a given force. (Or rather, they calculated or measured the force produced by a given ATP -> ADP cycle.) Given some reasonable force profile $F(t)$ exerted by your finger, an interested party could translate this to $P(t)$ and get a sense of the power required. $\endgroup$
    – BMS
    Jan 28 '14 at 2:43

It very much depends where you begin. If it is before a person presses a mouse button to after it - it is very small. If it is all the work neccessary before you get to press that button, say from Charles Babbages Difference Engine to what we have now - a great deal of work.


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