The track–ball assembly is used as an I/O device for military consoles, it consists of two main parts:
Principle of operation
Track-ball, as the name suggests, is made up of a rigid “ball” that can rotate on itself. The speed and direction of the ball is obtained using two encoders, one on the X axis and the other on the Y axis.
The direction is derived from the phase between the two encoder signals.
One of the two encoder signals is used as a clock and the other identifies the direction, the speed of the pulses over time gives the module of the displacement over time.
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The three keys plus the x and y movement values are “encapsulated” in a standard PS2 mouse message.
Messages are managed according to the so-called make-break technique, i.e. one code per key pressed and one code per key released. This technique allows to manage the keys on the variations without sending continuous messages to the processor.