simple cheap optical encoder: second mouse?

trying to think of a quick way to make a simple optical encoder. I was thinking : why not a second mouse ?
I’m trying a software called pluralinput and it allows a second independent cursor, maybe buggy. But so far I cant think of a way for the mousein CHOP to see it/distinguish it from the system cursor.

anybody who has contemplated this I would aprec. your experience

I’ve installed Logitech’s accompanying Setpoint software and I have 2 cordless mice with a pretty high degree of independent settings. But I’ve not seen any way to get touch to distinguish between the two mice, like a device ID or such. I’m also not seeing any channel data in the mousein CHOP for ‘monitor’ , which I imagine I might be useful to ‘loop’ position data.

Previously I dabbled with an old Powermate from griffin, which is that big silver 50$ encoder knob which can be programmed to output most anything. I have the original version, which is probably problematic. I may go to Best Buy or such and spring for a newer one. theoretically I could program it to output left/right arrow keys. that might be the way to go if this first plan gets ugly.

Mainly trying to avoid having to go the arduino/optical encoder route to just get one positional/rotary sensor into touch, thought this might be a ‘lightweight’ way to do it.

another approach is to have the second mouse report the unused middle wheel button down values, but I’m not seeing this channel data as available.

Hey cod65, interested to know what you ended up using for this project. I’ve been considering the same things lately.

I cant remeber the details of why I gave up on this route .In retrospect arduinos are cheap,and you can get an encoder for 30-40$. I wish I could take back the time I spent trying to ‘re-invent wheels’ to save money :slight_smile:.
But its been a few yrs since thought about this.Maybe a mouse is hackable as an encoder itself. they are cheap (free). not sure what you’d get it you cut the connector off and exposed the wires, but that should be something an arduino can process.

My studio mate came up with one solution, which is to connect any number of mice to a raspberry pi, which spits out a stream of x and y values per mouse via osc or some other network protocol. I’m also looking at arduino or teensy solutions. Found this … on-sensor/

Hey folks,

This thread caught my attention for a couple reasons :

  1. As a beginner looking to drive TD with hardware, I ended up playing with a MakeyMakey to make a basic input controller. The problem became that since MakeyMakey is functionally indistinguishable from keyboard and mouse, input options were limited without wonking the UI.

(ie. one of the inputs is Spacebar, which for me even in perform mode, paused the timeline. and if you use the ‘mouse left click’ input too quickly, TD tries to drop new OP’s in designer mode. a little clumsy… etc. )

It seems this is just a fact of life limitation. Unless some else knows otherwise…

  1. We’re wanting to build custom wireless tactile interfaces to drive TD. Then I saw this :

Exactly what we were thinking. Only getting a Raspberry Pi to output the OSC data seems to be not a simple thing whatsoever, and there’s very limited information on how to get something like that up and running. ( … m-hardware - For a relative beginner, this might as well be rocket science.)

My questions would be, did your mates manifest this solution? Was it simpler/more complex than I’m imagining? Is it possible to get Arduino data into Touch wirelessly? Anything pointers would be appreciated.

Thanks for sharing everyone!


PS. @enthewhite - the slot canyon installation over at Meow Wolf looks rad. Nice stuff! I’m dying to get over there someday!!!

Casey -

All things are possible… just depends on your tolerance for additional work.

Wired DMX solutions that are easy to get going quickly could be done with a Livid Brain Jr.

This little puppy will happily take an analogue signal and cover to DMX, which you can receive very easily in Touch.

Richard has a nice tut for folks looking to build custom DMX solutions with arduino up here: … hdesigner/

If you’re looking for fast, and easy with minimal programming effort you might consider finding an old iPod touch or android device on ebay, then use TouchOSC. That will send OSC messages wirelessly and should only set you back $5 for the app.


Thanks for sharing these resources. The Brain hardware looks like a great potential option, and the build tutorial is cool.

I’ve indeed used TouchOSC, which as a non-programmer, was awesome to have access to that kind of data within TD with almost no setup. We might have to rethink the scope of our endeavor! Appreciate the pointers.


I have had great results with U-Hid. very easy to set up as a second mouse. I’ve used it’s with several different Optical encoders, and even with hall effect sensors. Set up is always a breeze.

Nice to know there is a midway point between diy micro controllers and non-hackable midi controllers! Although I’m sure learning how to make arduinos work isn’t as difficult as I have made it out to be in my head.

Casey, my studio mate did get the data from multiple mice into a raspberry pi and out over the wifi relatively quickly and easily, but he is a wizard with that stuff, and I am not :frowning:

U-HID looks tight. I’d seen it pop up elsewhere before, but it wasnt until now that it dawned on me exactly what this was. Could very well be a solution for us. Thanks for the pointer.

Thanks for the reply man. Glad yo hear your homie got it happening. Must work on my techno wizardry skills! I’m on it!


Hi guys,

Maybe this (thanks to this forum on another post I started investigating, viewtopic.php?f=6&t=13321&p=50446&hilit=zero+delay#p50446): my first one works great! the one below is not tested yet but it seems it gets mouse-like inputs through a USB controller HID device, no drivers required, plug-in your stuff where the 360 joystick goes (supposed to be the head orientation input I gather).
Will confirm as i ordered it… … B07744T6KQ
Also went into that stuff: see trackball support
which again is usb and cheap & lean, ordering soon, P

Sooo yes :slight_smile:

Just plugged in the Quimat board and un-mounted the joystick to find out 2 potentiometers for X and Y axes inside it, all smooth 2 axes of continuous input into Unreal no drivers required.
So should be exactly the same for TD (sorry tired tonight, too busy). And it’s the left Thumbstick XY on a 360 XBox controller if you need to know.
Cheers! P

But hey,

Bear in mind, I have an IcubeX 8x IO ports and really this thing will not be matched yet.
Just a ridiculously small investment, insane flexibility, the latest digital sensors compatibility 1024 increments, can do Midi, OSC, in-out, USB or Wifi, a digital artist tool proper.
It’s not an iffy USB HID thing. When you’ll want the real arcade Mame or Jamma gear, it’ll actually cost you more than an IcubeX… Have been poking there and the input boards will be much less friendly and will make you sweat code, Get that :wink:.
My conclusion so far: probably should’ve stayed Midi. To be continued.