Foldable screens have allowed for some wacky phone and PC designs over the past few years. As bendy tech continues to trend, Microsoft wants to bring the fold to the wireless mouse. According to an international patent spotted by German tech site WindowsUnited, Microsoft is exploring the idea of a “foldable mouse.”
The patent is listed on PatentScope, a service from the World Intellection Property Organization that provides a searchable database of international patent applications. Microsoft’s patent was published on Thursday and filed in March. It describes a mouse that looks similar to today’s Microsoft Arc wireless mouse but with the ability to become flatter and easy to carry.
Here’s how Microsoft describes the peripheral:
A foldable computer mouse is provided that includes a deformable body configurable to be formed into a first expanded configuration usable for receiving inputs for controlling a computing device and a second folded configuration in which a first portion of the deformable body is folded over a second portion of the deformable body.
Microsoft’s illustrations provide a good idea of what the company has in mind.
The patent also points to the use of an “expandable shell” on top of the mouse.
The shell would sit on top of the “deformable body,” as Microsoft calls it.
According to the patent, the mouse could include a motion tracker to detect movement. The patent points to an internal component “configured to wirelessly communicate tactile input and motion tracking data to the computing device.” Some of Microsoft’s Arc mice have included a haptic scroll strip to make up for the lack of a physical scroll wheel.
So what point does a bendy mouse serve? According to Microsoft, today’s mice are frequently “too bulky or inconvenient to carry around with a portable computing device.” Even small mice meant for travel tend to “lack an ergonomic design and may be uncomfortable to use,” Microsoft’s patent reads.
As with any patent, there’s no guarantee that Microsoft’s foldable mouse will ever see the light of day. But we wouldn’t put it past Microsoft to make a foldable mouse—because it kind of has already.
Today’s Arc mouse can go from curved to flat, but it doesn’t bend in half. The design has been around since 2010’s Arc Touch mouse.
Going back even further, the original Arc mouse from 2008 had a hinge that allowed the mouse to open and close.
We’ve asked Microsoft for comment and will provide an update if we hear back.