By the time the team of "MOUSE Industries" cleared the backlog of court cases and insurance battles long enough to create a third version of the MOUSE unit, 15 years had passed, and several of the original technicians had left the company. Some of them had left due to the growing legal concerns, some made their fortunes and split, and the occasional technician fell victim to MOUSE-related accidents. One particularly nasty accident occurred during an anniversary party, celebrating the 8th birthday of MOUSE version 2, when one of the techs asked MOUSE to "Blow out the candles", which resulted in MOUSE using a nearby vehicles computerised power system to blow the candles out the window with the force of half a kiloton of T.N.T.
Only one survivor was recovered, who recognised the phrase from page 365 of the instruction manual, and leapt out of a nearby window. The candles could not be removed from the man for 3 days.
The third version of MOUSE included a feature which the senior engineers felt had been needed for quite some time. MOUSE was given the ability to roam around wirelessly. It was also substantially reduced in size due to much of the voice-recognition processing being placed in the MOUSE base-station, to which the units had to return every 15 minutes for battery recharging.
The MOUSE units were not allowed to roam freely around the place yet, as they lacked any substantial navigation skills. They were forced to stay within close proximity of special paths made by the inlaying of wires into flooring where you wanted MOUSE to be able to travel. Many ships were put into great disarray while MOUSE renovations took place.
In addition to the wireless capabilities, MOUSE was given a limited visual capability, allowing for the units to (supposedly) identify crew members, as well as avoid any obstacles in its path. The usefulness of these 'eyes' was questioned, as the recognition capabilities of MOUSE version 3 were often classed as "utterly useless". On the odd occasion, MOUSE had been known to wander into the brig area of the ship, and identify prisoners as the captain of the vessel. After the 'Ulysses 3' incident, space travel was thrown into chaos once again, as security conscious commanders tore up their brigs, ridding them of the MOUSE path wires.
Also, one of the big selling points of the version 3 was the fact that the techs had managed to remove over 150 phrases from the "Avoid speaking to MOUSE" list. One of the most hushed up 'features' was the fact that they had added 300 more phrases to the list, mainly ones recovered from black-box recorders and the ones used in the more prominent lawsuits, the marketing guys simply hoped that no-one would actually count the number of entries or compare the list to the version 2 manual to expose this 'feature'.
The most notable thing that happened during the life-cycle of the third version of MOUSE, aside from the fact that there were less injury claims due to the tight disclaimers imposed, and the fact that sales were down 98% on the version 2, due to people fleeing from the device after hearing the many horror stories, was that the last original technician from the MOUSE project left the company, in search of a place where he could walk down the street without being accused of murder through MOUSE.
He was never heard of again
Some people felt great relief at the prospect of the MOUSE project dying there and there, although they were to be disappointed, as a small group of the MOUSE Industries employees, the few who did not leave town as soon as they thought it could be over, decided that they could make MOUSE into a useful device.
This group, calling themselves the "Useful MOUSE Association", fell into obscurity almost immediately after their inception. Before fading, they announced that they were not going to follow in the footsteps of the MOUSE founders, that they were not going to release a MOUSE product in the near future, and that they would not release a MOUSE that would endanger lives. The public felt that these people didn't pose an immediate threat, and left them to their devices for the moment.
MOUSE Version 3 Statistics:
Height: Two (2) units
Weight: Approx 300 pounds (150 Kilograms)
Power: Self contained battery, with approx 45 minute maximum charge, recommended recharge after 15 minutes.
Connection to external power through large 2-pin power connector located at rear of the unit.
Movement: Mini-tracks on all four corners of the unit, powered through electric motors (one motor per side of the unit)
- Dual speaker design. As originally pioneered on the MOUSE Version 1, left for issuing prompts, right for receiving data.
- Centralised Voice processing. Voice recognition handled by central computer for greatest efficiency.
- Wireless design. MOUSE transmits and receives data through eternally-mounted antenna relaying to MOUSE base-stations.
- No power cord. Internal battery design makes MOUSE more versatile.
- Visual Capabilities. Vision for MOUSE is provided by a 6 inch diameter glass-lensed opti-visual pickup, mounted on an elevation-adjustable drum.