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WTF?! Devices like NUCs and handheld gaming PCs push the limits of how small a device can get while running a full-blown desktop operating system. Taking things a step further, a modder has stuffed a complete Windows 11 system into a mouse. While not entirely successful, the experiment displays interesting engineering solutions.
YouTuber Electo recently posted a video chronicling his attempts to install mini-PCs into input devices, culminating in a mouse that doubles as a standalone Windows computer. Its usefulness is limited, but it's an impressive level of miniaturization for a PC with an external display.
Electo begins his mostly comedic video by 3D-printing a giant mouse housing what appears to be an Intel NUC, complete with an oversized scroll wheel and a decently sized screen attached to the front. Instead of attaching a standard keyboard through USB, the impractical device projects a virtual keyboard out of the left side using lasers.
Going smaller, Electo next crams the guts of a smaller mini-PC into a keyboard. Microcomputers housed within keyboards were standard during the 80s, and London company Pentaform unveiled a $150 biodegradable example in 2022, but Electo's incorporates some odd functionality.
First, he installed all of the mouse functionality into the keyboard, requiring the user to shift the entire keyboard to move the cursor instead of using a touchpad or an external mouse. The second, potentially more useful hardware quirk is a tilted projector that can display the video input in sizes ranging from a few inches to around 100 inches. If the keyboard was stationary, the projector could make it usable in various settings without a traditional screen.
Finally, the YouTuber stuffs the chips from what looks like a palm-sized mini-PC into a mouse that is only slightly bigger than a standard mouse. Then, Electo re-soldered an HDMI cable to support a screen only a few inches wide attached to the front. Instead of a fully functional keyboard, he built the keys essential for gaming into the sides: W, A, S, D, Space, Shift, Control, E, and I.
The result provides just enough functionality to run Minecraft, which Electo tested on all three modded PCs. Unfortunately, all of them encountered thermal problems, which eventually tanked performance. The giant mouse became too hot to touch, and its chassis began to melt. The smaller mouse PC barely ran Minecraft at slideshow framerates but could briefly play various titles over the cloud. Unfortunately, Electo didn't test whether his creations could run Doom.
Despite the experiment's flaws, a PC housed within the mouse could become a viable ultraportable option, given some adjustments. Furthermore, the keyboard projector could be a versatile display on the right device.