A trackball is an input device used for controlling a computer or other information-processing system. It is essentially a mouse that is embedded inside a ball housing, which rests on four ball supports. This is in contrast to the mouse that uses an external surface to track movement.

Unlike a mouse, which is limited by the size and shape of the underlying surface, a trackball can be used on many surfaces. The user’s body posture and the shape and movement of the hand are also more important in controlling the device as compared to the mouse. This makes the trackball a more versatile and adaptive choice for certain tasks such as freehand drawing or painting.

The trackball works by using internal rollers located inside the ball and when the ball is rolled, the rollers detect movement and the information is transmitted to the computer. Trackballs typically have two buttons, or a combination of buttons and switches, located on the sides of the device which the user can operate to perform various functions or select options.

Trackballs are commonly used in gaming, industrial, and aerospace applications. They are popular in video game consoles, such as the PlayStation 4, Wii, and Xbox One, though they are not as widely used these days as they once were. They can also be found on workstations, laptops, and gaming machines.

The trackball has its roots in the earliest computers. While they were mainly used for input purposes, such as controlling a cursor or pointing to a certain area on the screen, trackballs are now used mainly to control the cursor in graphical user interfaces (GUI).

Technology has certainly improved the utility of trackballs over the years. Current trackballs, such as Logitech’s Performance MX and M570 Wireless Trackballs, now feature larger trackball designs for better comfort and accuracy, an increased range of motion, and improved tracking capabilities.

In summary, the trackball is a type of input device, similar to the mouse, which is used to control a computer or other information-processing system. It works by detecting motion of a ball embedded in the device and transmitting the movement information to a computer. Trackballs are more versatile and adaptive than mice, which are restricted by the shape and size of the underlying surface, and can be found in gaming, industrial, and aerospace applications. Technology has also greatly improved the utility of the trackball in recent years.

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