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A mouse pad is a thin rubber or plastic cushion of about about 12 square inches or less with a plastic or textured surface. A mouse pad provides better traction and more precise cursor movement for a mouse than a desktop or other surface. Sometimes, a mouse pad includes a cushion for the user’s hand or wrist.
First designed in 1969, the mouse pad’s slightly resistant surface helps users roll the mouse (rather than sliding), providing precise cursor movement without excess pressure. Mouse pads allow for greater speed and comfort for users and help keep the mouse away from dust and debris that can impede smooth cursor movement.
Optical mice use image sensors to detect movement. When introduced, the optical mouse came with a special mouse pad that contained printed optical patterns to enhance precise cursor movement.