Computer mouse design has to be scratched and deteriorated to show its true self

We see plenty of designs that try to address one of the computer mouse’s biggest problems, that of ergonomics. Truth be told, however, it’s unlikely that it will change en masse and for good, considering how the horizontal shape of this device has been so ingrained in our consciousness for decades. Of course, that doesn’t mean that there’s no room for experimentation, especially when it comes to adding some value to a traditional mouse design. That can be through its shape, its texture, or even its materials. The latter is something that this curious concept tries to play with, suggesting a computer mouse that you intentionally want to get scratched or quickly deteriorate just so that you can see the secret color or design hidden underneath its skin.

Designer: Liang Yao (苦 口)

Physical products age and deteriorate over time, but those that provide some utility tend to grow old and wear down faster. Not all materials, however, age as gracefully as leather or brass, materials develop unique patinas from their use. Wood can chip, metal gets scratched, and plastic fades or gets discolored. Normally, you wouldn’t want your stuff to even get dinged, let alone scratched, because it then loses its value, but this computer mouse concept is the complete opposite.

“Scratch-off” is a design that adds an extra layer on top of the mouse’s actual design that’s not meant to last forever. Just like those lottery scratchcards, the temporary material on top reveals a prize or a dud when you scratch it off. Of course, you won’t intentionally scratch this mouse’s surface, but it adds a bit of thrill and excitement as you slowly see the hidden design underneath.

This actually brings a lot of opportunities for branding and advertising, with logos or markings hidden underneath the outer layer of the mouse’s surface. Of course, it could be a long burn depending on the kind of material used. After all, it might take weeks or even months before the mouse’s outer cover gets scratched off or peeled completely. In some cases, however, there might even be a marketing gimmick where you intentionally damage the mouse’s surface to reveal some visual gem underneath, hopefully in a safe manner.

The concept, however, does raise the question of the material that should be used to implement this outer layer. It has to be easy to scratch or fade, but not too quickly like some plastic sheet that will defeat the entire purpose of anticipating the product’s deterioration. At the same time, however, it has to be a hygienic material that won’t leave flakes behind, considering how your hand will always be making contact with the mouse.