Benjamin felt that a more elegant input device was needed and invented a ball tracker system called the roller ball for this purpose in 1946.
Mice with a larger trackball on a side may be designed to stay stationary, using the trackball to move the mouse cursor instead of moving the mouse. == See also == Touchpad Pointing stick Mechanical mouse == References == == Notes == Computer-related introductions in 1946 Pointing devices Video game controllers Computing input devices History of human–computer interaction
The device was patented in 1947, but only a prototype using a metal ball rolling on two rubber-coated wheels was ever built and the device was kept as a military secret.
Production versions of the CDS used joysticks. The CDS system had also been viewed by a number of engineers from Ferranti Canada, who returned to Canada and began development of the Royal Canadian Navy's DATAR system in 1952.
Somewhat later, the idea of "reversing" this device led to the introduction of the first computer ball mouse (still named Rollkugel, model RKS 100-86), which was offered as an alternative input device to light pens and trackballs for Telefunken's computer systems since 1968. In later trackball models the electrical contacts were replaced by a "chopper wheel" which had small slots cut into it in the same locations as the contacts.
In March 1978, Sega released World Cup, an association football game with trackball controls.
In October 1978, Atari released Atari Football, which popularized the use of a trackball, with the game's developers mentioning it was inspired by an earlier Japanese association football game.
Other notable trackball games include Atari's Centipede and Missile Command – though Atari spelled it "trak-ball". Console trackballs, now fairly rare, were common in the early 1980s: the Atari 2600 and 5200 consoles, as well as the competing ColecoVision console, though using a joystick as their standard controller, each had one as an optional peripheral.
In the late 1990s both mice and trackballs began using direct optical tracking which follows dots on the ball, avoiding the need for anti-slip surface treatment. As with modern mice, most trackballs now have an auxiliary device primarily intended for scrolling.
They are generally preferred in laboratory setting for the same reason. Trackballs were often included in laptop computers, but since the late 1990s these have been replaced by touchpads and pointing sticks.
The Apple Pippin, a console introduced in 1996, had a trackball built into its gamepad as standard.
Trackballs remain in use in pub golf machines (such as Golden Tee) to simulate swinging the club. Trackballs have also been regarded as excellent complements to analog joysticks, as pioneered by the Assassin 3D, a trackball released in 1996 with joystick pass-through capability.
Later in 1996, Mad Catz released the Panther XL, which was based on the Assassin 3D.
Trackballs were occasionally used in e-sports prior to the mainstreaming of optical mice in the early 2000s because they were more reliable than ball mice, but now they are extremely rare because optical mice offer superior speed and precision.
Microsoft produced popular models including The Microsoft Trackball Explorer, but has since discontinued all of its products. In September 2017 Logitech announced release of MX-Ergo Mouse, which was released after 6 years of its last trackball mouse. == Special applications == Large trackballs are sometimes seen on computerized special-purpose workstations, such as the radar consoles in an air-traffic control room or sonar equipment on a ship or submarine.
Kensington's SlimBlade Trackball similarly tracks the ball itself in three dimensions for scrolling. and into the 2020s, two major companies produce consumer trackballs, Logitech and Kensington, although Logitech has narrowed its product line to two models.
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