There’s no shortage of Android apps in the Google Play Store that let you use your device as a mouse, keyboard or trackpad for your computer. However, most of the available solutions require you to drag your finger over the device’s screen to control the mouse cursor. New to the market, Accelerometer Mouse (currently in beta) is yet another Android app that lets you take control of your computer’s mouse movements over WiFi, but to achieve said purpose, it uses your Android device’s accelerometer. That is, mouse movements are controlled by tilting your Android device to various angles. The app works in combination with a Java-based desktop server that reads the mobile device’s movements transmitted over a common WiFi network, and translates them into real-time mouse movements on your computer’s screen. The mobile client’s is extremely easy to use, with a UI that incorporates the looks of a regular PC mouse, complete with left, right and scroll buttons.
The desktop server is fairly light-weight, and should work on almost any operating system that has Java Virtual Machine installed. When launched, the server application opens to the Server Configuration tab. Using this tab, you can select a custom server IP address and port, and adjust the mouse’s cursor and scroll sensitivity. The lower both these values are, the easier it will be to control mouse movements.
As soon as a connection is established between the mobile client and the desktop server (over the same Wi-Fi network, of course), the server application displays two additional tabs. The Accelerometer Values tab shows a graphical representation of all the various values transmitted by your device’s accelerometer sensor. The Mouse Activity tab, on the other hand, reflects the cursor’s vector to show you the exact movements of the mouse cursor on your computer’s screen.
Provided all the prerequisites are correctly in place, all you need to do is hold your Android device in landscape orientation, and start moving/tilting it to control the mouse movements on your computer screen. The best practice in this regard would be to hold the device at an angle of 45 degrees – which happens to be the base position, or the position of rest for the mouse cursor – and then move it in a direction of choice to see the effect on the mouse cursor. As mentioned earlier, if the scroll and cursor sensitivities are set too high within the desktop server, you might not be able to gain proper control over mouse movements. Various visual indicators on the mobile screen keep you apprised of the status and strength of the connection whereas the paly/pause button lets you momentarily put the connection on hold.
Tapping Menu within the Android client lets you manually Search for Server, Manually Connect to a server by inputting a custom IP address, Disconnect both the devices, and launch the app’s Preferences screen. Various options present on the settings interface let you connect your Android to the computer via a default server using a specific/fixed server host address and server port. Other options available on this screen let you enable/disable vibration upon pressing and releasing mouse buttons. In addition, you can also specify the vibration intensity for both these actions.
We tested Accelerometer Mouse successfully, with its Android client running on Samsung Galaxy S (ICS 4.0.3) and the desktop client running on Windows 7 (64-bit). The fact that the app can only be used in landscape orientation makes it a tad hard to use, since it requires you to hold the device with both hands if you plan on using the buttons. The addition of the option to switch to portrait orientation in order to use the app, in my personal opinion, is a must for user convenience.