I'm a Engineering student in Canada. Me and a couple of my friends developed a simple inductive system for wirelessly charging a mouse's battery.
The mouse pad has a grid of neodymium magnets built in. The mouse itself has a number of coils at the bottom. Current is induced in the coils according to Faraday's law of induction. This current is filtered and regulated before being used to charge a standard AAA battery.

We don't plan to pursue this in a commercial capacity. Basically, we're just looking to add it to our resumes.

Is it worth pursuing?

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    Not now you've published it on a public forum. Sep 20, 2012 at 20:47
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    Assuming this is the first public disclosure of this idea he would have 1 year to file for the patent based on 35 USC 102(b)
    – Plepleus
    Sep 20, 2012 at 20:52
  • Many schools in the US will contest their students patents if they can prove that you used school resources/computers/networks/whatever in inventing your device. I don't know if it's the same for Canadian schools. FYI. Sep 20, 2012 at 20:53
  • @Plepleus Interesting. He is Canadian though... Sep 20, 2012 at 20:53
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    @Pleplus Your comments seem to assume that the above description would be sufficient to describe the device. Not at all clear.
    – g33kz0r
    Sep 20, 2012 at 21:50

4 Answers 4


As I understand it, your invention would used the fixed magnetic field generated by the magnets to induce a current in the moving mouse. That strikes me as fundamentally different than this patent publication http://www.google.com/patents/US20090096413, which involves fixed neodymium magnets in a pad (paragraph [0504]) for charging mobile devices, but only uses the magnets for alligning the receiving coil with the power supply coil. The device described is a powered charging pad, not a device that generates power only through the motion of the mouse.

  • Yes we research the exisiting patents and they all used "Inductive charging" as opposed to using what practically is a mini-generator.
    – lyxicon
    Sep 22, 2012 at 1:39

I haven't seen that sort of design used to charge a computer mouse before, but I have seen the "coil + natural magnet" design used to provide power for other sorts of devices that were being moved or operated by a human (exercise equipment, RFID tags, flashlights, etc). Wireless mouse charging (by other means) is not new, so it's unlikely that the combination of the two would be considered novel.

We don't plan to pursue this in a commercial capacity. Basically, we're just looking to add it to our resumes.

If you're just looking for a resume booster, don't waste your time with a patent. Patents aren't cheap, and you won't be able to put it on your resume for years since it takes a while for an application to make its way through the system. The work that you did in designing and implementing the charging system is the real resume-worthy material, anyway. The only difference between saying that you "designed" such a system and "designed and patented" it is that you demonstrate that you're capable of hiring a lawyer to do some paperwork. If you were planning on selling the technology to another company, then it would be a different story (being able to point to a product currently on the market and say "I invented that" is a big resume booster).

  • Do I necessarily have to hire a lawyer? How expensive are we talking about here?
    – lyxicon
    Sep 22, 2012 at 1:38
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    @Arman- uspto.gov has a full schedule of fees. The total cost of applying for and keeping a patent is in the tens of thousands of dollars. I definitely recommend hiring a lawyer. It costs more money, but in the long run it's cheaper than getting the paperwork wrong and having to re-file several times (or wasting time and money on something that an experienced lawyer could immediately identify as not patentable).
    – bta
    Sep 22, 2012 at 12:18

There are a variety of induction chargers on the market already, but it sounds like you may be talking about a fundamentally different design, as the designs I've seen use a current to induce a charge in the mouse (thus they draw power). It sounds like what you're talking about is having natural magnets in the mat and then using the movement of the mouse in and out of the magnetic fields (by a human being) to do the charging. I have never seen such a system and I think that it is different from what Plepleus was describing in his answer.

Assuming I've understood you correctly, my only concern would be the sensibility of placing powerful rare-earth magnets next to your computer :) Shielding has gotten better, but how good?...

  • Magnets aren't dangerous to computers anymore, unless they are incredibly strong. I have doubt that this mouse pad idea would contain such magnets.
    – Emmaly
    Sep 21, 2012 at 9:02
  • @DustyW They were actually pretty strong (it's very hard to separate two of them from each other), but I think you're right about it being harmless. It does mess with speakers though.
    – lyxicon
    Sep 22, 2012 at 1:36
  • @Arman kjmagnetics.com/blog.asp?p=hard-drive-destruction has info about a magnet + hard drive test they did which didn't seem to harm a hard drive with two magnets directly attached to the hard drive. They later claimed that it doesn't mean it can't damage the drive, but that it didn't this time. Plus magnets don't typically have the opportunity to be put right up against hard drives. My definition of "incredibly strong" is in the order of bending metal or the like.
    – Emmaly
    Sep 25, 2012 at 6:22

While in principle this could work as described, as a physicist/electronics/product-development guy I'm slightly sceptical that in normal use you would generate enough power to keep the battery charged (or total energy generated exceeds energy required to run the mouse when averaged over a few days of normal use). Even if it's just for a resume, you'll be a lot more credible if you have data from a prototype which proves that you can generate sufficient energy.

Be aware that "energy-harvesting devices" are a hot topic, but frequently when you look at the details the energy (and the economics/cost) fail to add up. Something which merely extends the battery life by 10-20% (for example) is unlikely to be a compelling product proposition, given the extra cost/complexity and need for a special mat.

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    I like this answer a lot, but the proposed invention could still be worthwhile. Even if the proposed method is not fully up to the job of supporting a commercial embodiment at the moment, it could well serve as the foundation for future breakthroughs - making it a gateway technology and potentially rather valuable.
    – user96
    Sep 23, 2012 at 15:47

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