A mouse that is ergonomically comfortable yet can be easily flattened for travel and storage—this was the vision Microsoft was after following the huge success of its first generation folding Arc Mouse designed by One & Co.

All images courtesy of Microsoft and One & Co.

The “bend-and-snap” principle, and its mechanical solution, proposed by STUCK principal Donn Koh, while working at One & Co, provided Microsoft the inspiration to engineer and design the updated Arc Touch Mouse, which in 2011 clinched the Best of Best Award at Red Dot and a gold at the International Design Excellence Award (IDEA) organised by the International Designers Society of America (IDSA).

Being Flexible, Staying Rigid

In search of a mouse that could be as thin as possible when flat and stay rigid and ergonomic while in use, we sketched out and explored a variety of designs that could bend and remain in an arc shape with little effort and no extra steps.

Inspired by Bimetallic Strips

Based on the principle that different types of metal strips, used in thermostats, expand at varying rates when heated—such that one bents more than the other when bonded together at one end—a similar mechanical prototype with ABS sheets was devised to create a “flat-to-arc” transformation.

Locking in the Solution

Adding a simple locking mechanism in the form of a raised dome allowed the twin sliding planes to be easily snapped into an arc position and prevent it from reverse sliding. Unlocking the arc would just require sufficient force to straighten and overcome the friction at the locking edges so the top layer could ride over the dome.

From Concept to Product

With this mechanism, the Microsoft engineering team went on to further design and develop the mouse for mass production. Improvements were made, including replacing the snap-lock mechanism with a magnetic solution. This mechanical principle is now found inside every one of this award-winning mouse.

Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse

A mouse that is ergonomically comfortable yet can be easily flattened for travel and storage—this was the vision Microsoft sought following the huge success of its first generation folding Arc Mouse. The “bend-and-snap” principle proposed by STUCK principal Donn Koh, while working at One & Co, provided Microsoft the inspiration to engineer and design the award-winning Arc Touch Mouse.

ClientMicrosoftServicesMechanical Innovation, Product Design VisionYear2010Mechanism InnovationDonn Koh, at One & Co, San Francisco, USADesigned withJonah Becker, Claude Zellweger, Scott Croyle, Cory Worth (One & Co) and Young Kim, Monique Chatterjee, Dave Zucker (Microsoft)AwardRed Dot Design Award Best of the Best 2011AwardIDSA IDEA Gold Award 2011