How To Adapt A Computer Mouse For Special Needs

Are your looking for instructions on how to adapt a computer mouse for special needs? According to Johns Hopkins University, attaching a single switch to a two-button computer mouse will enable someone with limited motor skills to use a computer and software.

An off-the-shelf single switch interface can cost around $100, but you can save some money if you adapt the mouse yourself. Even if you have to purchase some of the tools, this do-it-yourself project will be a lot easier on the budget.

Here are the necessary materials and a few simple steps to adapting a computer mouse for someone with special needs.

Materials

  • Two-button computer mouse
  • Screwdriver
  • Soldering iron and solder
  • 1/8-inch subminiature jack
  • Super Glue
  • Insulated wire and wire cutters
  • Drill and drill bits
  • Fine-point marker
  • Multimeter
  1. Remove the screws from the back of a two-button computer mouse. Using a fine-point marker, mark the switch for the left mouse button.
  2. Remove the circuit board from the bottom of the mouse. Flip it over to the soldered side of the board.
  3. Use a multimeter to find the two active pins, and mark those pins.
  4. Strip one end of two pieces of wire, and solder one wire to each of the marked pins.
  5. Examine the mouse to determine the best location for a jack. It cannot interfere with other wires and parts, and it must allow the circuit board to be reinserted.
  6. Drill a hole for the jack, working up to a ¼-inch bit. Check the jack for fit.
  7. Cut the two wires, leaving a little extra to work with. Strip the ends of the wires and solder each wire to the jack.
  8. Insert the jack. Reinsert the circuit board. Make sure the wires are not in the way of moving parts, and use Super Glue to hold them in place, if needed.
  9. Your newly adapted computer mouse is ready to use.
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