The disappearing mouse pointer…

[This article was first published on macsci, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers]. (You can report issue about the content on this page here)
Want to share your content on R-bloggers? click here if you have a blog, or here if you don't.

While designing an fMRI experiment, I ran into the problem that the mouse pointer disappears as soon as you start typing on a mac. In itself it is actually a handy feature — hiding the mouse pointer makes sense as long as you’re typing — but not in this particular case.

To synchronize the behavioral data with the fMRI data, a Siemens mri-scanner sends a pulse at the start of every scan, and this pulse is picked up by your mac as a ‘^’-keypress. This makes it really easy to log the scan times, but it also hides the mouse pointer every two seconds, which is extremely annoying for your participants if they have to use the mouse. I had to find a solution for this…

When google didn’t provide an answer, I came to realize that there is no way (as far as I know – please correct me if I’m wrong) to not hide the mouse pointer in OS X when you’re typing. To solve this, I came up with the following solution. First, download pinpoint, a tiny application from macchampion that displays a graphic around your mouse pointer. Then, pay the 10$ fee which allows you to add your own graphics, and add a standard mac cursor as a graphic. Now, make sure this cursor is displayed at the exact same location as your own mouse pointer, and you fixed your problem. While the real mouse pointer still disappears on every scanner pulse, the graphic stays in place, and your participants won’t even notice that the real pointer disappeared.


To leave a comment for the author, please follow the link and comment on their blog: macsci. offers daily e-mail updates about R news and tutorials about learning R and many other topics. Click here if you're looking to post or find an R/data-science job.
Want to share your content on R-bloggers? click here if you have a blog, or here if you don't.

Never miss an update!
Subscribe to R-bloggers to receive
e-mails with the latest R posts.
(You will not see this message again.)

Click here to close (This popup will not appear again)