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A computer mouse has been modified for use as a low-cost laser Doppler interferometer and used to measure the two-component fluid velocity of a flowing soap film. The mouse sensor contains two vertical cavity surface emitting lasers, photodiodes, and signal processing hardware integrated into a single package, approximately 1 cm2 in size, and interfaces to a host computer via a standard USB port. Using the principle of self-mixing interferometry, whereby laser light re-enters the laser cavity after being scattered from a moving target, the Doppler shift and velocity of scatterers dispersed in the flow are measured. Observations of the boundary layer in a turbulent soap film channel flow demonstrate the capabilities of the sensor.


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