Press Release: Logitech Celebrates 10 Years of Optical Technology in PC Pointing Devices

Sept. 6, 2005--Logitech TrackMan Marble Delivered Unprecedented Precision, Required No Maintenance; Optical Mice, Laser Mice Followed

Logitech (SWX:LOGN) (NASDAQ:LOGI), the world's leading manufacturer of computer mice, today celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the world's first high-volume computer pointing device to use optical technology, instead of mechanical motion, to measure movement. Unveiled on this day in 1995, the Logitech(R) TrackMan(R) Marble(R) trackball delivered unprecedented PC navigation precision by eliminating moving mechanical parts, thereby preventing dirt or dust particles from disrupting the tracking mechanism. Logitech marked today's anniversary by announcing its newest computer mice -- the Logitech(R) V400 Laser Cordless Mouse, the Logitech(R) MX(TM)610 Laser Cordless Mouse, the Logitech(R) LX7 Cordless Optical Mouse, and the Logitech(R) V270 Cordless Optical Notebook Mouse for Bluetooth(R) -- all of which feature optical-based tracking technology.
The TrackMan Marble included the patented Logitech Marble optical technology. Inspired by the human eye, the original Marble technology used an integrated sensor to visually detect the motion of a trackball, then translated that motion into on-screen cursor movement. Logitech later applied optical technology to mainstream computer mice in combination with a red light-emitting diode (LED), which was necessary to illuminate the surface directly beneath the mouse. In 2004, Logitech made yet another big breakthrough in optical tracking by introducing the world's first mouse to use ultra-precise laser illumination.
"The introduction of Logitech's Marble technology 10 years ago was very exciting because we gave eyesight to a tracking device for the first time, making computer navigation far more precise than it ever had been before," said Marc Bidiville, Logitech's engineering manager for Marble technology. "A trackball or a mouse can navigate smoothly over a surface and measure distances more accurately by seeing, rather than by rolling, stumbling or skipping over surface irregularities. Looking back, Marble optical technology set the stage for a revolution in pointing devices."
Logitech Marble Optical Technology
The principle of Logitech's patented Marble technology was based on optical, or visual, measurement of movement. This optical measurement is far more precise than mechanical tracking systems, which typically include a ball making contact with two small pivots that record horizontal and vertical motion. These parts are prone to wear and tear, and are sensitive to dirt and dust particles, often resulting in jumping or sticking.
The embedded sensor in the Logitech TrackMan Marble trackball detected the motion of the trackball without the sensor making physical contact with the ball. A random pattern of dots printed on the surface of the ball provided enough surface variation for the sensor to recognize motion with great accuracy. A few early, specialized optical mice tracked movement by using a special mouse pad, featuring a grid-like surface. These mice could only register motion relative to the mouse pad's fixed geographic points. Marble technology sensed and registered motion without depending on any specific coordinates, and without requiring a mouse pad of any kind. The core technology in Marble has since evolved and is still used as the basis for some of today's optical mice.
No Pad, No More Cleaning: Enter the Optical Mouse
Logitech introduced its first corded optical mouse in 2000, then followed up with the introduction of the Logitech(R) Cordless MouseMan Optical, combining optical precision and cordless freedom.
Because an optical tracking system doesn't make physical contact with the surface, today's optical mice don't require regular cleaning or a mouse pad to track smoothly. Optical mice measure changes in position in a manner similar to Logitech's original Marble technology. The ability of a mouse to track required the illumination of the surface beneath, which was first made possible by using an LED, typically red in color.
Laser: The New Benchmark for Mouse Sight
As people participate in increasingly intense applications such as PC gaming, and compute in more diverse environments with their notebooks, a pointing device must be more precise and be able to function on more surfaces than ever. The Logitech(R) MX(TM)1000 Laser Cordless Mouse, introduced in September 2004, was the first mouse to use laser light to illuminate the surface beneath a mouse, enabling high-definition tracking.
The precise nature of laser light produces far more illumination than an LED lamp in an optical mouse, revealing surface details that the mouse's sensor can use to track movement with far greater accuracy. The ability to reveal even the slightest imperfections also allows a laser mouse to operate on surfaces that confound LED-based optical mice, including polished wood, ceramic tile, metal, photo paper, and opaque glass. Logitech has extended the benefits of laser technology to families of laser mice that are custom-tuned to meet the needs of different individuals: notebook users encountering multiple surfaces, everyday users looking for optimal performance, and gamers demanding the ultimate in speed and precision.
About Logitech
Founded in 1981, Logitech designs, manufactures and markets personal peripherals that enable people to effectively work, play, and communicate in the digital world. Logitech International is a Swiss public company traded on the SWX Swiss Exchange (LOGN) and in the U.S. on the Nasdaq National Market System (LOGI). The company has manufacturing facilities in Asia and offices in major cities in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific.
Logitech, the Logitech logo, and other Logitech marks are owned by Logitech and may be registered. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Posted: Tue - September 6, 2005 at 09:22 AM