Carbon Design Group

Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse

The best of both worlds–curved and flat. Carbon teamed up with Microsoft’s Hardware Group to develop a mouse that’s as flexible as the modern working environment. The Arc Touch Mouse features an articulating profile that curves to fill the hand during use, but snaps flat for compact storage. Carbon’s key mechanical contributions resulted in a product that redefines portability in an increasingly mobile technology environment.

There When You Need It

Building on the success of their popular Arc Mouse, Microsoft was looking to push the paradigm of portability a step further. They drew on Carbon’s mechanical prowess to develop the magic behind the Arc Touch Mouse.

With aggressive space requirements and a focus on smooth articulation and positive engagement, the team set about developing a system of vertebrae to provide the articulation. This low-profile backbone, combined with a haptic scroll strip, and the smallest LED tracking engine to date, resulted in an incredibly thin product that’s there when you need it, but disappears when you don’t.

Automatic On: An integrated power switch makes sure Arc Touch is ready when you are without sacrificing the battery between uses.

Anatomically Correct

“It still amazes me that we were able to go from this earlier concept, this whole idea of making something flat and curved, to something that actually fully works,” says Young Kim of Microsoft’s Hardware User Experience Team.

Arc Touch’s flexible spine is composed of a series of interlocking plastic vertebrae that provide the basis for its smooth articulation. These are sandwiched between thin stainless steel sheets that provide structure and limit motion to a defined range. As the system flexes, a compact magnetic latch shuttles back and forth, providing positive engagement as the tail snaps from flat to curved and back. Precisely controlling the articulating motion was key to creating an addicting fiddle factor and a magical product experience.

Learn more about Microsoft’s development of the Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse

ABOVE: The “tail” of the Arc Touch Mouse has over 93 moving parts.


  • Mechanical Engineering

2011 IDEA Gold Award

2011 Red Dot Best of the Best

2011 Good Design

2011 Spark:Pro Spark!

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