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Ergonomic Mice Reviewed

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the malformed-meese dept.

Input Devices 171

Gregg writes "Most of the time these mice are marketed towards people suffering from RSI, however anyone feeling discomfort using a regular mouse should be able to switch to any of these pointing devices that were created with ergonomics, and only ergonomics in mind. TechSpot's comparison includes three products: the Perific Wireless Dual Mouse, 3M Ergonomic 'Renaissance' Mouse, and Evoluent's VerticalMouse 2." From the article: "People are sometimes under the impression that only those who work at a computer all day are at risk of repetitive stress injuries (RSI). Unfortunately that is not true and even people spending an hour or two per day using a computer are now suffering from RSI. Even if you aren't going to purchase ergonomic products for your everyday use, there are still some very helpful tips on how to lower the risk of someday suffering from RSI. Many specialists recommend taking short breaks after long periods of computer use to reduce risk. It is also a good idea to do a few quick and simple hand/wrist stretches that will help make sure you are doing your best to try and stay healthy."

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171 comments

Jeez, mice sure are high-tech these days (4, Funny)

jackcarter (884148) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906239)

Mine's the old style: furry and with a little tail. I give it a little water, some pellets twice a day, and it just runs around on its little wheel and is happy.

Re:Jeez, mice sure are high-tech these days (3, Funny)

The Shrewd Dude (880136) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906258)

Beware the mice! They are higher beings from another dimension here to monitor the progress of their supercomputer!

Re:Jeez, mice sure are high-tech these days (1, Funny)

menkhaura (103150) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906286)

In this case, let me be the first to say:

I, for one, welcome our new ergonomic mice overlords!

Re:Jeez, mice sure are high-tech these days (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13906425)

+1, DNA Ref.

Re:Jeez, mice sure are high-tech these days (1)

Bemmu (42122) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906262)

But can it be fondled for hours without nasty side-effects?

Re:Jeez, mice sure are high-tech these days (1)

governorx (524152) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906275)

The beauty with live mice is that they heal automatially. Plus they dont get any lint-balls caught in their mouse wheels or hair balls caught in their mouse balls.

Nothing is more accurate than a mouse with a laser strapped onto its head!

Re:Jeez, mice sure are high-tech these days (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906420)

My mouse ids female, you sexist clod!!!!!

Re:Jeez, mice sure are high-tech these days (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906331)

A coworker of mine got the ergonomics group at our corporation to buy him a $150 mouse. It looks like a frigging boat.

I used to get RSI, but you know what I did? I stopped doing such repetative tasks non-stop. I suppose there are extreme cases, but I got to the point where I would have to wrap ice around my wrist and forearm and then a towel around that and then rest it on the desk and only gingerly move my hands to use the mouse. It was incredibly painful.

It's been almsot a decade since I've had that kind of pain, because I get up and go do more things in between. It doesn't mean you have to use the mouse for an hour and then take a ten hour break - just mix things up a bit. Go for a drink of water. Hit the vending machine. Take a leak. Say "hi" to a coworker. Make a phone call. Whatever strikes you. Then get back to things.

Re:Jeez, mice sure are high-tech these days (2, Funny)

Andrew Tanenbaum (896883) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906427)

I used to get RSI.
I was at a computer non-stop at work.
Non-stop at home.
The solution?
I got a girlfriend and cut my computing time in half. My wrists couldn't feel better.

Re:Jeez, mice sure are high-tech these days (2, Funny)

Slow Smurf (839532) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906510)

You sure it was the less computer time?

Re:Jeez, mice sure are high-tech these days (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13906513)

It's most likely the lack of that OTHER wrist action that's saving you the pain.

Re:Jeez, mice sure are high-tech these days (3, Interesting)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906532)

Mine's the old style: furry and with a little tail. I give it a little water, some pellets twice a day, and it just runs around on its little wheel and is happy.
Funniest thing I ever saw in a pet-shop: a bunch of 15-20 mice were running together in a hamster wheel... But one mouse had enough of it and stopped dead in her tracks, and gripped the wheel wires, where it promptly went around and around and around while the other mice kept running... Just hilarious!!!

I cured my RSI (3, Funny)

squoozer (730327) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906248)

I gave up work!

Honestly it's the best thing I ever did. I recommend it to anyone that doesn't like working.

Re:I cured my RSI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13906442)

I did too and it's fucking brilliant; the consumer lifestyle is vastly overrated. Give indolence a chance - you won't regret it.

Re:I cured my RSI (2, Funny)

tourvil (103765) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906536)

I gave up work!

Honestly it's the best thing I ever did. I recommend it to anyone that doesn't like working.

Hmm... Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

Perific looks cool (1)

Bemmu (42122) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906250)

The Perific mouse looked quite cool as it can be used both as a trackball AND a mouse, and also attached to your hand while you type. I feel that even an even better way to save space is one of those touchpads used on laptops.

Re:Perific looks cool (1)

jdhutchins (559010) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906276)

While the touchpads on laptops may save space, they can get very hard on your thumb/index finger quite quickly. With the perific mouse, you won't get problems nearly as quickly as you would with the touchpad.

Re:Perific looks cool (1)

Eideewt (603267) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906859)

I liked the way you can wear the Perific on your hand and keep it where its needed.

Re:Perific looks cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13906910)

I don't think touch pads are the best of pointing devices. Have you tried to use one while you got sweaty hands? Also they wear out the tip of the index finger.

~AC

USB Overdrive (4, Informative)

Phroggy (441) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906259)

Mac users may want to stay away from the Evoluent mouse because you'll need to spend $20 for a USB Overdrive to program all of the buttons.

While this is certainly a good thing to be aware of, I disagree that it's a reason to avoid this mouse. First of all, USB Overdrive good software - I don't use it myself but it has a good reputation. Second, the software is not actually required to use the mouse - Mac OS X fully supports the second button for contextual menus and the wheel for scrolling, and the third button works in Safari, Firefox 1.5, and probably other apps.

Finally, just about ANY mouse is going to require this software to make use of the fourth and fifth buttons, because mouse makers don't make their own Mac drivers. Some manufacturers may bundle it instead of making you buy it separately (I think Microsoft does this), so you should definitely consider that as part of the cost of the mouse, but that doesn't mean you should avoid this mouse, or any other, just for that reason.

Re:USB Overdrive (1)

Malor (3658) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906416)

I had no trouble at all plugging in two different multi-button Logitech mice to my Mac G4. It recognized most of the buttons without any software at all. The right and middle button, the scrollwheel, and the forward and back thumb keys all worked immediately. I believe only the middle thumb button on the MX1000 failed to register. With some Control Panel changes, it was easy to map Expose functions to whatever buttons I wanted.

I haven't tried anything but Logitech mice, but the Mac seemed fully aware of all the capabilities (except the one button.)

YMMV using other brands.

Re:USB Overdrive (3, Informative)

stonedonkey (416096) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906426)

I've had some hands-on time with the Evoluent mouse, and I can tell you that its Achilles Heel is the perpendicular hand motion required to click a button. The grip may be more natural to the hand (with less wrist activity and all), but they didn't do a lot to adjust button action. The middle-click button is awkwardly placed as well, and having three proper buttons takes time to adjust to.

A horizontal middle click button actually calls for less tendon movement. You can feel it on the inside of your wrist -- at least, I can. And notice in the picture how one's pinky finger is flush against the ring finger. That means less fluid action for right-clicking, and the middle finger is more muscular for this job (as any cab driver knows). You can remap so that the center button (not the scroll button) acts as right-click, maintaining familiar movement, but you'll also notice from the picture that you're still left rubbing the right side of your hand against the desktop surface. If you have oily hands, or having been eating Doritos, this can create residue buildup that reduces smooth surface response. And the matte finish on half of the device makes the mouse itself prone to residue.

In the long run, the Evoluent mouse shifts the axis of tendon movement to something the hand is more accustomed to (up and down waving motion, instead of rotating left to right) so it will probably come in handy to those with tired wrists. But the buttons still need some work in my opinion, and I would want an easily cleanable gloss finish instead of matte, even though matte has "grippier" contact.

Re:USB Overdrive (1)

mk500 (652220) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906538)

With OS X Tiger, all 5 of the Evoluent mouse buttons can be configured right from "System Preferences" >> "Dashboard & Exposé". The main OSX gadgets are available without any driver software, including: Exposé : All windows Exposé : Application windows Exposé : Desktop Dashboard Start Screensaver Stop Screensaver I love my Evoluent mice, and use them on my Mac and PC. If I have to use a different mouse for a while, I start to "feel the pain" within an hour or two. The Evoluent Vertical Mouse is a lifesaver for a developer like me that spends a lot of hours mousing around GUI's.

Re:USB Overdrive (2, Informative)

Orion_ (83461) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906585)

Finally, just about ANY mouse is going to require this software to make use of the fourth and fifth buttons, because mouse makers don't make their own Mac drivers.

Well, it's true that some mouse makers don't make their own Mac drivers, but the big ones do: Microsoft [microsoft.com] , Logitech [logitech.com] , Kensington [kensington.com] .

That said, you're right that these "drivers" are pretty much unnecessary. Any USB mouse will work fine on a Mac; the only real issue is that in Mac OS X, buttons 4 and higher can only be used for Exposé and Dashboard commands. These drivers (or something like USB Overdrive) let you assign other commands to those buttons.

Why use thse when you can use (3, Funny)

Eugene Webby (891781) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906263)

Might Mouse, here he comes to save the day!!

Re:Why use thse when you can use (1, Insightful)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906512)

Apple's mouses are ergonomic hell! Sure, they look stylish, but just don't feel as comfortable as the old "teardrop" ADB Mouse. Their newer keyboards (anything USB) suck too, since they no longer use mechanical keyswitches.

What the (2, Funny)

netkid91 (915818) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906264)

That mouse shown in the link looks weird, not only would that be uncomfortable IMHO, I couldn't stand looking at that thing. And 'taking breaks' after extended periods of use, wouldn't that lessen the time I could play EverQuest? No WAY I'd give up my gaming time just to prevent RSI, I'd rather jump off a cliff. GERRONIMO!!!!

I think I keep... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13906271)

...my TrackMan... I've used it for years and I don't have any problems.
I just would like to have a left-hand version of it.

Trackballs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13906281)

I was developing RSI as a help desk support guy years ago, and switched from a right-handed mouse to a left-handed trackball. Problem solved. One nice advantage of this setup is that your keyboard actually sits directly in front of you with the 10-key hanging off of the right side. And your shoulder doesn't have to support the full weight of your arm (since you can consistently rest your wrist).

I'm on my fourth Kensington Expert Mouse -- they're expensive but I won't use anything else (at work, anyway).

Re:Trackballs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13906366)

I agree with you on the Kensington ExpertMouse. I'd been looking for a good replacement for my old CH Trackball for a long time. I did have to get my first one replaced though, as the scroll-ring wore out. (thankfully it was still under warranty!)

Re:Trackballs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13906414)

And your shoulder doesn't have to support the full weight of your arm (since you can consistently rest your wrist)

Uh...you shoulder is designed to support the full weight of your arm...that's why it's attached...here's a clue...you don't have RSI, YOU ARE A FATTY!! GO ON A DIET!

Re:Trackballs? (3, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906452)

"you shoulder is designed to support the full weight of your arm"

No. You may think it is, but in fact your knuckles are bearing some of the load by resting on the floor.

As for ergonomic keyboards... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13906284)

I destroyed my wrists using my laptop. It took about four years for it to be really problematic, but almost overnight I started getting burning sensations in my wrists. Laptops generally encourage you (by design) to press your wrists down on the flat smooth bit in front of the keyboard, and this is an absolute killer.

I'm now using a Kinesis keyboard. It works pretty well, and I can type pretty much without pain. I have yet to find a good mouse (still using the old trackpoint nipple), but will probably invest in something like one of the ones in the article.

Does anyone have experience with the Maltron keyboards? Or other expensive ergonomic keyboards? Although the Kinesis works pretty well, I find that the function keys are hard to hit accurately, and also that the thumb keys stretch my hand too much... I suppose I should get used to moving my hand instead of stretching my thumb to hit enter, but it's difficult to maintain under pressure.

Thanks for any insight. Typing with my keyboard on my lap and my laptop raised up onto a pile of books as we speak. Or as you read and I write. Or whatever.

P.S. To application developers: keyboard-only accessibility is really important to people with RSI like me...

both hands? (1)

jzeejunk (878194) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906288)

The mouse supports a conventional grip and a grip with both hands. I already hate lifting a hand off of the keyboard, now I've to life both hands to use the mouse. That's bound to be annoying. Instead I'll continue doing what I do currently - I keep changing the hand I use for mouse after every few days. Works fine for me. No RSIs after doing this for 4 yrs now with about 8-10 hrs of daily computer use.

I switch hands twice a week, but not bcause of RSI (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13906337)

I like jacking with different hands. I call it the stranger. My cock appreciates a change every now and then. For instance, right now I'm jacking my cock with my left hand and it feels great. The RSI issue is just an added bonus.

Re:I switch hands twice a week, but not bcause of (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13906429)

Dude, that's not the stranger. The stranger is when you sit on your hand untill it falls asleep, then you jack with the numb hand. Topical anaesthetics are also interesting to use every now and then, but not advised for when you just want to rub one out.

Re:both hands? (1)

ThisNukes4u (752508) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906352)

Consider buying one of these On-the-Stick [yahoo.com] keyboards. They are pricy($100 for a keyboard!) but they are fantastic. I bought one last year and it is so great I could never go back to a regular keyboard/mouse combo. Also one of the reasons I will only use IBM laptops.

Re:both hands? (1)

netkid91 (915818) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906466)

Be a pain in the ass to play a FPS using one of those, I could barley use a word proccessor with one of those.

Re:both hands? (1)

chenwah (161707) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906531)

Yeah, I liked the keyboard + trackpoint + trackpad on my IBM T41 so much I went out and bought one of these [ibm.com] for my regular desktop PC.

It is just like the T41 keyboard only a little bigger, with a numeric keypad added on. I tend to use the trackpoint most since it lets me keep my fingers near the home keys but it has a trackpad too. There is also a wee model without the numpad.

- flip

Re:both hands? (1)

shawb (16347) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906550)

The mouse also supports a mode where the mouse basically sits on your left hand, and you can use the trackball with your right thumb without lifting your fingers from the keyboard. Although this doesn't seem like it would work that well with a split keyboard, as anyone who buys an ergonomic mouse would most probably be using. I think the ergonomic benefit of this mouse is primarilly that it can be used in so many different ways that you just switch up when one way is bothering you. Although this means you'll have to learn a couple new ways to use it, I usually get pretty used to a new pointing device in a couple hours. Except trackpads... I can never seem to get used to them.

All you hardware designers, listen up (4, Insightful)

Miss_Thistlebottom (901087) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906338)

Trackballs, as someone's mentioned, are the way to go. You might have to try a couple before you find the one that works for you (Kensington Orbit, Logitech Trackman, etc.), but it's worth the try. Several injured people in my office have switched and are happier.

What I am annoyed about (it's always something, innit?) is that there are NO Bluetooth trackballs! Hello Logitech! It might be a small segment of your market, but I think there are enough of us who are very, very interested. Especially to go with our shiny new iMacs and their wireless BT keyboards. My trackball cord is abotu the only one in sight on my desktop, but a BT version is the only thing I'd trade it for. Neither Kensington nor Logitech seem to be interested.

(There is one weird-looking, unappealing BT trackball image circulating, but I have yet to hear of anyone actually finding it for purchase, and what I really want is one of the two more common trackballs.)

Re:All you hardware designers, listen up (1)

Yehooti (816574) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906577)

Mouses (I think 'mice' are the furry little critters), with features never seem to work with my KVM switch. Is that just me or do others suffer from this 'feature'?

Re:All you hardware designers, listen up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13906770)

Kensington makes a wireless version of their newest optical trackball.

It's not bluetooth, but it is wireless.

Re:All you hardware designers, listen up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13906793)

They're not bluetooth, but Logitech has two wireless trackball mice: [1] [logitech.com] [2] [logitech.com]

I'll switch when (3, Funny)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906348)

You pry my Logitech Trackman Marble FX trackball from my numb tingly fingers!

Seriously, I'm a Model M keyboard nut, and I'm just as comitted to my trackball. These things are like gold on eBay [ebay.com] (no relation to seller). If you haven't used one of these (set the upper white thumb button to dounle-click), you haven't lived. This is the best pointer device I've ever used.

Logitech Trackball Marble FX (1)

bobv-pillars-net (97943) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906744)

Yup. I bought two of them back when they were in production, one for work and one for home. I wish I'd bought three or four. Be sure to add your post to the Logitech Forums [logitech.com] asking them to bring it back.

Re:I'll switch when (1)

incubusnb (621572) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906750)

that thing is too odd for me, i prefer the previous generation Trackman Marble. much more ergonomic, i have never had any wrist problems with it, and i can sit at my computer for several hours playing Civilisation without ever having any discomfort in my right hand.
i'll be dead and 6' below ground before you'll pry this mouse from my hands, hell, you just might have to bury me with it
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00004L8IG/002-04 25879-7990434?v=glance&n=172282&v=glance [amazon.com]

Re:I'll switch when (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906782)

I disagree. One of the guys in my office uses one of thise on his laptop, and I find that my thumb is too spastic on its own to use that thing properly. I can use two or three (index through ring) fingers on the Marble FX to move the pointer, and that gives me the stability my poor twitchy nerve-damaged fingers need.
If you want to sell your Marble FX, contact me.

Re:I'll switch when (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13906827)

I'm a trackball nut, but those Marble FX suck so bad I'd rather use a mouse (or a touchpad/trackpad/eraser tip or anything else for that matter).

The variety where you use your thumb rocks, but the others... Plain suck. Your fingers just don't have enoguh speed or precision to use a ball. It would probably work better with your toes (can't be worse anyway).

So haven't lived or best trackball ever? No way, simply the WORST trackball, ever! Worse than a cheap mouse.

Re:I'll switch when (1)

sasquatch zeke (702495) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906922)

Yes!

Someone else with the same ergonomic setup as me. Model M + Trackman Marble FX is what I've been using since 1999.
I lucked out this last year and ended up with 4-5 more of the Trackmans for free, which is great since I can see
obvious signs of deterioration in the smaller bits of internal plastic on my original one. I've also got at least 2-3 more of the Model M's as backups, courtesy of a local thrift store.

I'm amazed (considering how cheap decent options now are) that so few people pay any attention to ergonomics. Ease of physical interface makes such a difference when you use a computer for 8+ hours a day.

Now if I could just get my display situation under control...

sz

Mouse Trapper (2, Interesting)

NoOneInParticular (221808) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906358)

My personal favourite, the MouseTrapper [officeorganix.com] . Completely mechanic, can use whatever old mouse you have lying around, and the motion you use are completely different from a regular mouse. It also doesn't break. I personally cannot use any mouse, not even those 'ergonomic' ones, as I will feel it in my wrists in a couple of days. I usually use a laptop with touchpad, but when I sit behind a desktop machine, this thingy really helps.

Re:Mouse Trapper (1)

xenotrout (680453) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906894)

I don't understand that product. It seems to act as a trackpad or trackball, both of which can be bought as periferals for desktop computers more cheaply than the mouse trapper. I'm just confused about how it's better than either, or why it would be mechanical rather than electronic--aren't mouse control boards cheap? The website doesn't provide much information about how it actually works. It looks interesting though and reminds me of a roll bar that mounts in the same place (left and right movements are produced by pushing the bar against the sides of its axle, I believe).

Re:Mouse Trapper (1)

Dystopian Rebel (714995) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907025)

Although this device may help, it's hard to take it seriously given that the site promotes an ergonomic "pointing" solution while showing pictures of exactly the sort of keyboard that is responsible for causing RSI in thousands of people.

For the most natural shoulder-arm-wrist alignment, the keyboard should have split keys.

Wacom board (2, Informative)

wilper (103281) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906363)

My hands were so bad that I considered getting out of the computer area alltogether. As a last resort I bought a Wacom Graphire 3 board, and all my problems disappeared. The pen is very light and the angle of the forearm is just the same as when writing with a regular pen.

It takes a while getting used to, but was worth it, my hands are so good these days that I even spend time playing games and stuff again, very nice.

Linux support is good enough.

Re:Wacom board (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13906563)

BIG agreement. Although I wish the linux support(and Gimp support, for that matter) were a little better, it's fine for point-and-click and a little bit of color work.

I have a trackball and a mouse, and I've learned a "grip of death" for both of those that inevitably causes strain. But not so with the tablet. I can hold the Wacom pen very sloppily and comfortably.

Only issue is that you can't use it with a keyboard at the same time so easily, it begs to be held in your lap....perhaps Wacom should come up with a keyboard-tablet combo. That would be interesting.

Re:Wacom board (1)

Doppler00 (534739) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906787)

I totally agree. The "ergonomic" evaluator where I worked first suggested I tried a track ball. The track ball actually made things worse as it took far more stress on my wrist to move the trackball around than it does to move a mouse. I finally received a Wacom tablet at the suggestion of another co-worker. I've never felt pain in my wrist since then.

"ergonomic" devices are not ergonomic at all (2, Interesting)

lokedhs (672255) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906365)

Seriously... What's the deal with all of these "ergonomic" pointing devices?

Most of them are big as houses are requires you to move your entire hand to move the damn thing around the desk. If anything, this increases the risk of getting "mouse arm".

The way to use a mouse, is to rest your wrist on the desk, and move the mouse with your fingertips. None of these ergonomic ones allow you to do that. Instead, they force you to move your entire arm, increasing stress on the shoulder.

Someone should tell the mouse manufacturers that the problem isn't that the hand isn't resting "comfortably" around the mouse, but rather that the user moves and strains his shoulder.

Re:"ergonomic" devices are not ergonomic at all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13906468)

You've made the mistake of assuming that what's good for you is good for everyone.

I suffer from tendinits in my wrist. If I use a mouse the way you describe, I'll be in pain within minutes. If I keep it up all day, I won't be working for at least a week. On the other hand, I have a co-worker who has elbow and shoulder problems. He uses and loves a Logictech Marble Mouse [amazon.com] , which is used by moving the fingertips as you describe.

I don't have anything to back this up, but I get the impression that wrist pain is much more common than shoulder pain. In most cases, shoulder pain related to mouse/keyboard use can be helped by getting a chair which can be adjusted to support the elbows.

Re:"ergonomic" devices are not ergonomic at all (4, Informative)

shawb (16347) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906502)

Have you ever heard of carpal tunnel syndrome? [nih.gov] What you are describing is the worst possible thing to do to your wrists. The large muscles and ligaments in your shoulder and elbow can take some repetitive use. The delicate tendons in your wrist will swell from mousing all day using the method you described, pinching off the carpal tunnel nerve. Extremely painfull and debilitating. That's why ergonomic mice require macro-movements with the whole arm rather than the delicate micro movements used in fingertip mousing.

There are other conditions the position you mentioned can cause or aggravate, such as bursitis and tendonitis.

The best defense is to take a break every now and then and stretch out the wrist. General body stretching can also help back pain which can result from sitting in a chair all day.

Re:"ergonomic" devices are not ergonomic at all (1)

pilkul (667659) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906626)

There's no perfect mousing position; moving your mouse naturally implies putting stress on some muscles. But the position you're suggesting is particularly bad since your hand becomes bent upwards (as well as rotated to face downwards, which is a problem with any position using a horizontal mouse). That puts a lot of stress on the small muscles on the back of your forearm, and the stress continues even if you're not even moving the mouse but just resting your hand on it. Vertical mice shift the pressure to your stronger upper arm (not the shoulder), which are less liable to become strained, and the stress stops almost completely if you're not moving the mouse. I have a 3M ergonomic mouse and I'm quite happy with it.

All this said, getting a better mouse is only a small part of RSI prevention/treatment, since the biggest problems typically arise in the upper back.

Re:"ergonomic" devices are not ergonomic at all (1)

ChestyLaRueGal (766941) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906713)

Nothing is ergonomic for me. When I was young I broke and screwed up my right arm (my radius and ulna ended up fused at one end, thus no twisting motion). Ergonomic is actually worse for me because it causes me to bend out my arm at a weird angle and mousing left handed just feels weird since I am right handed. Thus I am doomed.

How about the weight..? (1)

jxyama (821091) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906377)

I don't suffer (yet) from RSI, but one thing that does matter to me about the mouse is the weight. I've noticed that wireless mice with batteries put a great deal of strain on my wrist mainly because of the weight of the batteries. I am not sure how many ergonomics designers out there place weight among the considerations...

Consequently, I've settled on using wired lightweight mouse or laptop-style small wireless mouse.

Weight shmeight already (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906509)

Weight shmeight already. I have a microsoft wireless wheelmouse, and I don't notice the weight at all. It's certainly less of a pain in the arse than the drag of the cable, especially if you hve the gain set high. But then I've discovered this clever technique which I've christened sliding the fucking thing, not picking it up and juggling it.

Er.... (1)

jotaeleemeese (303437) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906974)

.... you are not using your mouse correctly.

You should slide it on the surface where you work, no need to raise it rom it....

Glucosamine & Chondroitin (3, Informative)

rufusdufus (450462) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906405)

I started taking glucosamine and chondroitin to see if it would help a problem in my neck, and was amazed to find that my fingers felt like they had been hit with dollop of WD-40. Pain that I had sublminated was suddenly gone, and I can now do things that used to cause me agony, like hold a bowling ball or open a jar.
I recommend anyone who uses a computer all day long even if they don't notice any pain try this stuff for a week and see whether it makes a difference.

Another solution (2, Interesting)

bunyip (17018) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906450)

If the glucosamine and chondroitin don't work for you, there are therapies that will. Active Release Technique (ART) is great for RSI and other repetitive injuries (I'm a runner and triathlete, I've used ART to treat various problems).

The company where I work has an ART practitioner come on site 2 mornings a week to treat RSI and other problems. Several of my friends and colleagues have been rteated on site. It's a pretty cool benefit.

BTW - I don't do ART for a living, I'm a programmer, so don't consider this an advertisement.

Alan.

Re:Glucosamine & Chondroitin (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13906984)

Don't forget the obligatory "I Am Not A Doctor" and "Don't take medical advice you hear on the internet before talking it over with your doctor" disclaimers.

You know, just because this worked well for you doesn't mean it will work well for anyone, much less everyone else.

Recommending that others take any medicine (or even "food supplement") without knowing about that person's particular medical history and being a doctor yourself is usually a bad idea.

Without it you don't know what reaction any given person is going to have to this medication or what interactions these people are going to have with any medications they may already be taking.

Not to mention you're recommending this to potentially thousands of people by posting it on slashdot. The more uninformed people try this the more chances there are of an adverse reaction.

So think twice before giving such unqualified advice. And always talk to your doctor before deciding to use any medication/"food supplement" you heard about on the net.

Right-handed bias (4, Interesting)

piyamaradus (447473) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906407)

As with almost all higher-end mice, these seem aimed at primarily or entirely right-handed use. Left-handed mouse users are almost completely stuck with 2 or 3 button mice that are longitudinally symmetrical and thus work with either hand. I'd love one of the high end logitech laser mice but it's impossible to use in any reasonable fashion with the left hand. Yet I find most left-handed people have given up and just use the mouse with the right hand, which makes very little sense -- mousing with the left hand on a standar keyoard reduces by 3x-4x the distance required to move the arm to change from keyboard to mouse and allows the right hand to use the keypad or other control-type key clusters easily. I chose to use the left hand with the mouse on my first mouse-enabled machine ~18 years ago (I'm not strongly handed either way, but use left for some tasks and right for others) and am amazed that the mouse manufacturers treat 10% of the population this way. Logitech doesn't even answer my emails.

Re:Right-handed bias (2, Interesting)

Stephen Williams (23750) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906553)

I find most left-handed people have given up and just use the mouse with the right hand

I see it as being similar to using scissors right-handed; they just work better that way. I don't think anything of using scissors right-handed, s'just something I had to learn how to do. It is the same with mice.

-Stephen

Re:Right-handed bias (2, Informative)

mk500 (652220) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906565)

Evoluent makes a left-handed version. It's a bit more expensive because they don't sell as many, but is otherwise identical.

I've been using my Evoluent Vertical Mice for over a year now, and they are really great.

Re:Right-handed bias (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13906738)

I guess that's just the price you pay for being a freak...

Re:Right-handed bias (2, Insightful)

prockcore (543967) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907037)

am amazed that the mouse manufacturers treat 10% of the population this way.

Probably because it's *not* 10% of the population. I'm left handed, my brother is left handed, there are a lot of people at my work who are left handed.. we all use a right handed mouse with our right hands.

It's more like 1% of the computer using population uses a left handed mouse.

Trackball Alternative? (2, Informative)

Comatose51 (687974) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906421)

People at my company who have RSI usually just request a track ball mouse. They seen to help quite a bit, are fairly common, and relatively cheap. That's basically what the first one, the Perific mouse, is but with a small ball. I don't see how that's actually better than a trackball which has a much larger ball. Repetitive small movements are hard on the wrist (I know from hammering in nails in weird parts of houses for Habitat for Humanity).

Re:Trackball Alternative? (1)

belg4mit (152620) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906448)

I suspect the idea is to minimize the amount of force you have to exert
e.g; spin a Space Invaders ball vs. a marble.

Four tips to save you from RSI (2, Informative)

Dystopian Rebel (714995) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907014)

I've tried TouchPads, trackballs, and various mice. After 20 years of computing, here are four things that I recommend to everyone:

1. Learn how to type by touch. It isn't difficult.

2. Reduce your clicks: use X-mouse focussing. (If you use Windows, install Microsoft's TweakUI Powertoy. If you use X, you have the setting somewhere.)

3. Keep your forearms flat on your desk. Adjust your chair's height if you must.

4. Use a REAL ergonomic keyboard, one with the split-key design. (Any keyboard that does not have the split-key design is ~not~ ergonomic.)

Make your own (4, Interesting)

mathgenius (526070) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906434)

For less than $20 I modded [arrowtheory.com] a cheap mouse so that I can have one of these "vertical" mice at home. It's a lot cheaper than the 3M model. Also you can adjust it to fit your hand exactly.

Simon.

GHET-TO! (1)

schwaang (667808) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906729)

Damn dude, even that squeeze ball thingy is ghetto'ed up with duct tape. You should definitely post over in hardocp's ghetto mod pics [hardforum.com] thread.

[apologies-in-advance to anyone offended by my cultural insensitivity.]

Goldtouch mouse (2, Informative)

DrElJeffe (741629) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906454)

I experienced serious pain from using the scroll wheel.
Why, Microsoft, why? Why did you place such a tempting button halfway down the longest finger, why? The tendons that control the bending motion for that finger extend through over six inches of flesh from the finger tips to the muscles in the upper arm. These tendons saw back and forth across several nerves, blood vessels, and tiny bones when when you use the scroll wheel.
I now swear by the Goldtouch optical mouse. Like the Evoluent VerticalMouse, it sits at a slant to place your hand in a more natural position. However, the scroll wheel has been moved from its middle-finger position to a bi-directional button at the side. The scroll button is operated by the thumb, which evolved large muscles at its base to perform this exact bending motion.
I have one of these mice for home and one for work: http://www.keyovation.com/ergonomics/product/ergon omicmouse.html [keyovation.com]

Re:Goldtouch mouse (1)

springbox (853816) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906766)

I've always used my pointing finger, and not my middle finger, to operate the left button and the wheel. Actually, moving my middle finger like that is a bit annoying anyway.

Use as the gamecube controller (1)

Mishra100 (841814) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906470)

You see, that is what the gamecube controller should be modeled after. That looks comfortable enough to point at your TV and click whatever button is needed. A lot better than that darn remote.

Unnatural movements (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13906471)

I don't know why people still use mice, human index fingers are simply not made to make a clicking motion so many times in a day.

After working as a video editor using a mouse for a couple of months the pain in my index finger became so bad that I had to use my middle finger to keep on working.
After I got pen & tablet the pains resided, touching the tablet with a pen gives the so much less stress, not to mention that it feels much more efficient than a mouse.

Sure, decent tablets cost a whole lot more than mice but since we're talking about one of the primary ways we interact with computers here (and most of use spend several hours a day using them) I consider it money well spent.

I don't get it. (0, Troll)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906485)

I don't get it.

Not that there is a need for ergonomic mice, but that people can get hurt by mice and keyboards.

To me, it looks like an attitude problem. I've been working with computers for the last 25 years, where I've been at the keyboard/CRT/mice for hours at stretch (it's even worse since the Internet came about).

Yet, I never had the slightest problem. Perhaps it is because I never always do the same thing, but vary what I do, that is, get a book, get a printout from the printer (which is purposefully set beyond arm reach), fiddle with the radio/mp3 player, and many little things that distract from my keyboard pounding/mouse fondling.

Focusing may be good, but like anything else, too much of it is bound to be bad; I've worked with plenty of people so much focused on their stuff that they'd jump that high (no, higher than that) whenever they had the slightest interruption. And, guess what? They're the ones who get hurt with their keyboards...

I mean, it's not hard to introduce some variation in one's daily routine. For supposedly creative people, it should not make them lose too much neurons on it, no?

Re:I don't get it. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13906542)

You lack focus. If you're not hurting, you're not working.

Re:I don't get it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13906642)

I've been working with computers for the last 25 years,
Since you have worked with computers for so long, you surely remember how solid a Model M is... you can kill a man with it and it still would work fine afterwards. Another "killing" tool was an Acorn mouse made of cast iron on the inside.

only 1/2 right (2, Interesting)

psycobrat (636552) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906629)

these are all right handed. what about the other 1/2 of the world who is left handed?? or righties who prefer a left mouse?

Re:only 1/2 right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13906945)

RTFA. At least one of them is available for lefties.

Only around 10% of people are left handed. (1)

jotaeleemeese (303437) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907009)

Not half. Talk about inflating your statistics, leftie.

Dear Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13906649)

Is there a site/resource that the greater geek community trust for ergonomic product reviews?

Try a laptop mouse (1)

alphorn (667624) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906654)

My ergonomics advice: Try a laptop mouse; the smaller the better. The reason is: You can control it using your fingers alone while the base of the hand rests on the table without moving - and you can pull it under your palm for vertical moves. That way you get high precision so you can set the mouse pointer to high speed; minimal movements then are enough to reach any point on the screen accurately. I would guess that helps with RSI.

Re:Try a laptop mouse (1)

B747SP (179471) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906771)

Try a laptop mouse; the smaller the better.

Didn't work for me. I had no particular dramas at all, until we got a new batch of the smaller style hp/microsoft branded logitech mice, and I started having problems with aching across my knuckles the result of my hand trying to curl itself up to grip the narrow mouse.

I started using the 3M renaissance mice then. ball ones back then, optical now.. I have the 3m mouse at home and at work, and never another problem with hand pain from mousing.

The hand position that the 3m mouse requires means that you control it with your arm, not your wrist, and so there's quite a learning curve in getting accuracy up to a point where it's comfortable (a few hours at least). Some delicate work like photo retouching or cad is still pretty difficult with this style of mouse, but I keep an regular style mouse plugged in as well, and alternate between the two as required.

Re:Try a laptop mouse (1)

mathgenius (526070) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906898)

the smaller the better.

Dude, This is such a common misconception! RSI is a problem with the fine motor control; it's the small muscles that become damaged. So in fact: the bigger the better.

Having said that, every RSI sufferer is different; injuries can happen in the strangest places, even having seemingly nothing to do with the muscles involved. eg. getting problems in the hip or leg muscles from using a computer. But even in that example it's more the fine layer of muscles that are effected and become inflamed.

I speak from many years of experience :)

Simon.

Trackerballs rule. (1)

cruachan (113813) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906711)

It's completely beyond me why anyone with the option not too should continue to use a mouse in the first place. Trackerballs are far superior as there's no arm movement involved and with most designs the left click is done using the thumb, which has stronger muscles than the index finger. Plus trackerballs are more flexible than mice for FPS's :-)

I try to mix designs between computers on my desktop. Both the Logitech and Microsoft trackerballs are nice. I like the Logitech Marble Mouse (http://www.logitech.com/index.cfm/products/detail s/GB/EN,CRID=2150,CONTENTID=5145 [logitech.com] ) but it doesn't have a scroll wheel, which can be an issue in some cases. Unlike some trackerballs it's quite small, and I find it's quite feasible to carry one around for my laptop.

For anyone whose having twinges or RSI and is still using a mouse I'd highly recommend trying a trackerball for a few days. They can take a few hours to get used to, but stick with it. I never get any problems at my own computers even after multiple days of 12+ hour sessions, but if I'm forced to use a mouse for an 8 hour day on a clients computer then my joints really know about it afterwards.

Re:Trackerballs rule. (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906940)

### It's completely beyond me why anyone with the option not too should continue to use a mouse in the first place.

One reason, at least for me, is that trackballs suck for drag&drop, be it dragging files around or simply doing a rectangle selection, because those force you to old down one finger in a fixed position and wiggle around with another to move the cursor, feels very unnatural. Whenever I have a task that involves lots of drag&drop I switch back to mouse (Blender, gaming, etc). That said I find a trackball at the right side of the keyboard extremly usefull, especially when doing keyboard heavy tasks (Emacs), since its much quicker to reach then the mouse at the right side due to the numpad which is in the way. And while the Marble Mouse Trackball is quite nice, have one of those too, last not least because it was the only one for the left end, I found those trackballs that require your thumb to navigate the trackball extremly unconfortable, while they might be good for your wrist, they kill your thumb.

Driver hackers? Hardware modders? HELP (1)

Sir_Real (179104) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906739)

Why can't I just use my old wingman joystick? And why don't they make a keyboard that's broken in half (like where most ergos split, but hinged) so you can type with the pinky side of your palm on the table and your your thumbs up? It'd have to be a laptop layout (no number pad) . And ideally it would have a convenient thumb track ball for one thumb and clicker under the other. I'll pay a crapload for that.

Re:Driver hackers? Hardware modders? HELP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13906829)

Check out the GoldTouch keyboards - they do exactly what you're talking about. I have one and I love it!

MX1000 Laser Mouse, High DPI/Horrible Ergonomics (1)

grumpygrodyguy (603716) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906808)

I really hope someone from Logitech is reading this article because I find their newer mice to be terribly uncomfortable. The MX1000 for instance requires you to grip it completely like a glove in order to get it to work, having to constanly 'grip' the mouse for hours while playing fps games is exhausting and totally annoying. I usually prefer to simply rest my wrist on the mousepad, and have my digit finger hover over the LMB. Whenever I need to move the mouse I pivot around where my wrist makes contact w/ the mousepad, or I lift my wrist up slightly and move it, ending back in the resting position w/ my wrist on the mousepad. I can sit at my computer and game for 10 hours like this comfortably. I didn't last 20 minutes using the MX1000.

So I ended up switching back to my old ball mouse simply because the ergonomics of the MX1000 were unbearable. I miss the high dpi, but certainly don't miss the hand cramps. Overall I'm much happier with the cheap $10 ball mouse than the $60 laser MX1000.

Re:MX1000 Laser Mouse, High DPI/Horrible Ergonomic (1)

Eideewt (603267) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906906)

I sort of agree with you. The mouse does seem to be stupidly shaped, but once I put my ring finger on top of the mouse with my middle finger (rather than trying to shove it down on the side with my pinky) and kept my palm off the mouse I've had no trouble.

Moving the mouse helps too (1)

lsommerer (89441) | more than 8 years ago | (#13906868)

This guy I used to play Ultima Online with was looking for a way to make mousing more comfortable and he decided that changing the mouse's location was as helpful for him as changing the mouse. He says its for RSI, but I think he was tired of getting waxed in online games.

Anyway, be designed a plastic mousepad that attaches to the arm of your chair, so your mouse is where your hand already is. He had someone produce a few thousand of them and he's selling them now. You can look at them here [megamouse.com] if you're interested.

Disclaimer: I designed his website for him, but the bastard doesn't give me a dime from sales.

You have two hands and enough disposable income. (1)

jotaeleemeese (303437) | more than 8 years ago | (#13907030)

And before the insensitive clod jokes show up (sorry if you are an unemployed amputee) I thnk the above is a fair generalization to make.

Get 4 mice, as different as possilbe one from each other and then make sure you also use both of your hands.

I for example have 2 rodents in the office and 2 more at home.

In the office I use the left hand, at home I use the right hand (dirty, dirty you old dirty you) and increase variety by changing mice every couple of weeks or so (now this is all sounding very fishy).

So there you go.

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