Joshua Wise (firstname.lastname@example.org) mailed me about an optical sensor chip with 'A2050' on it. Seems the chip is compatible with the A2051, which in itself isn't directly compatible with the ADNS2610, but the basic idea of reading the pixels of the CCD is the same. Joshua created a program for Linux to read out the sensor; it's here. Another note: Some mice have the Vcc of the sensor switched by the microcontroller; if you try this hack with such a mouse you'll need to connect the Vcc directly to the sensor chip.
Carsten Gross mailed me:
I'm working on an university project (http://www.siski.de/~carsten/diplomarbeit.html) and I'm using your webpage as base for my idea to use an optical mouse as motion sensor for a model car.
I removed the original optics of the mouse and replaced it with a lens with f=4,6 mm. To check wether the image of the world (as seen by the mouse sensor) is focussed I'm using a modified Linux version of the software downloadable on your page: as my mouse has a ADNS-2610 (and not one of the older chips).
Please see the attachment for a modified version of the software by Joshua Wise now running with the ADNS-2610 and Linux.
Using the different optics the focus is now near infinity. This way the sensor can be mounted at a safe place in the model car. Perhaps it is necessary to add specles on the floor ;-)
The source of the software is downloadable here.
He mailed me a second time:
Im the meantime we built our own board with the sensor chip here and use it as movement and direction detector.
Please see this for the images of the sensor board and the lens. I connect the synchronous serial port of the ADNS-2610 with some simple "glue" logic to the SPI interface of the Atmel AT91RM9200. This way I can use the Linux-kernels and microcontrollers hardware support for reading the data from the motion sensor.
The lens is adjustable and the focus can be adjusted to generate a sharp image and the maximum "quality" value in register 4.
EaterOfPies mailed me: "This also works with A1610 / ADNS-1610 sensor IC. It appears to be pin compatible but i couldn't find any documentation on it."
I have received several questions about using this device as a barcode-scanner. Yes, that would probably be possible, but one would need the right software for that, and I'm not interested in writing it. If you think it's a good idea; knock yourself out; the sourcecode of my program is provided in the zip-file :)
If you used this information or software in any useful project, I wouldn't mind being mailed about it. One thing: mails containing not much more than 'It doesn't work here, help!' will be deleted.