Myfanwy Ashmore: Hacking a Mouse Workshop

Myfanwy Ashmore will be working with you on your small group projects in class, on Monday, March 11, and Wednesday, March 13, as well as being available outside of class for helping you complete your projects–

Previous Work Examples:!



There are two softwares that can be used for the multimedia component of the projects. Processing which requires text coding and is more complex, and Scratch which is very easy to use. (Processing can be downloaded from and scratch is available at They both have advantages and disadvantages.



supplies list


This workshop is an intro to hardware modification but could be built upon further. The next logical progression would be a keyboard hack which would provide more inputs, or a game controller hack eventually moving into programming a micro-controller like an Arduino where the designer/maker would have significantly more control & available complexities.

I will prepare some sample code that could be used as is with little modification, and will walk them through it. We will likely start with Scratch, because it is very straightforward and if they are keen we could use Processing. Processing is very popular with media artists but it is something that can take quite some time to learn as it is basically programming in Java. They could start to familiarize themselves with Scratch and Processing if they have some free time. There are some built in examples & tutorials that will give them a sense of what these softwares can do.
The actual modification of the mouse is relatively straightforward. It requires us to take apart the mouse, de-solder the buttons and solder in some pin headers with very long wires attached. The long wires then end up being attached to some other conductive material of the students choice. An example might be – conductive fabric stitched into some soft sculpture. Could be anything conductive – two pop cans, a that you touch together, metal tabs mounted inside a doorway that are released when the door opens, a tilt switch which requires something to be tilted.