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Shake Hands with the Zero Tension Mouse

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the mousing-with-a-pile-of-goo dept.

169

ThinSkin writes "Given its shape and ability to cup your hand, the Zero Tension Mouse can be moved around without bending the wrist or moving the fingers, while also keeping the hand in a vertical position and the arm in a more ergonomic neutral position. ExtremeTech reviews the Zero Tension Mouse and, although acknowledging it as 'funny looking,' concludes that it amounts to a whole lot of worth for those who need it, or those who want to take preventative measures against RSI and related ailments."

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169 comments

It's corded? (1)

jtseng (4054) | more than 7 years ago | (#15795306)

Make it RF or BT and I'll consider it.

Re:It's corded? (2, Interesting)

ZorbaTHut (126196) | more than 7 years ago | (#15795443)

You know, I used to buy all cordless devices.

About a year ago I realized I wasn't using the cordless feature at all. At work I simply trapped the cord under a monitor and the cord never got in the way. At home I sat in front of the computer. Why bother with cordless? 99% of the time it wasn't a benefit.

About three months ago I got killed in City of Heroes because my batteries ran out at the wrong moment.

I'm not replacing my mouse and keyboard yet. But next time I need new peripherals, they're going to be corded. Cordless is cool and all, I'm not disputing that. I'm just questioning whether it's actually useful.

Re:It's corded? (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 7 years ago | (#15795586)

For me the benefit of cordless mice has been that there is no cord to break.

When I used corded mice, I never found the cord really got in my way to the point that I was annoyed by it, but the last 6 corded mice I had all broke where the cord connected to the mouse.

Cordless mice obviously don't suffer that problem.

YMMV, but I won't ever buy a corded mouse again.

Keyboards on the other hand ... I'm with you there... mine never leaves the desk... whats the appeal of a cordless keyboard? (outside of a multimedia pc in your living room)

 

Re:It's corded? (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#15795896)

Stop using the mouse with both hands.

How the hell do you break the cord? I've swung a first-gen microsoft optimouse over my head in a circle and it only broke [the mouse not the cord] when it hit a concrete wall.

You have to be gaming "really hard" to break a corded mouse.

Tom

Re:It's corded? (1)

Digicrat (973598) | more than 7 years ago | (#15795938)

I've never had a cord break on a mouse, but I've had it break on 2-3 keyboards. The problem isn't so much moving the keyboard/mouse around as it is having the cords get tangled up so that they get pulled on when you pull the tray out. On my mother's setup (poor cable management) the keyboard's cable has been hanging on by a thread for a long time now . . . I've got a wireless combo (keyboard & mouse) on my main desktop though, and will never go back to wired for my primary system. Personally, I like being able to pull out my keyboard and use it on my lap, or move the mouse around wherever is convenient - when reading slashdot for example, I normally just palm one of them (both keyboard and mouse have a wheel) to use the scroll wheel while reading, without moving a muscle. On the other hand, my setup is not exactly typical. I've got one monitor, but two desktops connected to it -- if at least one of them wasn't wireless, having both sets on one pullout drawer would never work :-)

Re:It's corded? (1)

Millenniumman (924859) | more than 7 years ago | (#15795754)

I like cordless devices because they reduce cable clutter. The battery situation, can be solved by rechargeable batteries. You could still run out in the middle of a game, which can be solved with a recharging dock, at the cost of more cables.

Re:It's corded? (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 7 years ago | (#15795801)

With a rechargable dock there still is a cable. The only difference is there is a small gap between the cable and the mouse.

Re:It's corded? (1)

ZorbaTHut (126196) | more than 7 years ago | (#15795914)

I've got a recharging dock for my mouse, and spare batteries for my keyboard. For the mouse I mostly forget to use it, but that rarely becomes a problem since the battery life is long enough. For the keyboard, sure, I can go swap batteries . . . and did . . . and in the minute it took me to find the batteries and swap them in, my character was killed.

Doesn't really solve the problem - and it's kind of annoying, why not just use a corded keyboard?

Re:It's corded? (1)

InadequateCamel (515839) | more than 7 years ago | (#15796309)

While it is admittedly a small factor for most of us, I suspect that people with severe RSI will tell you that that little cord makes a big difference when the pain radiating up your arm makes it feel like it is plugged into a wall socket.

On the other hand, I have pounded the stuffing out of my 6-year-old corded Intellimouse Explorer and it is still performing absolutely flawlessly. I suspect that has something to do with the fact that it is built like a tank, and this probably is a big reason why I don't even notice the cord.

(linuxzealot)If only MS made their software like they make their peripherals.(/linuxzealot) :-)

Snake oil (4, Insightful)

keesh (202812) | more than 7 years ago | (#15795319)

Somehow I can't help thinking that all these devices that supposedly "help prevent" "RSI" are the modern equivalent of snake oil... Would be nice if products had to undergo proper medical testing (done by real scientists, that is, not quack doctors with a degree in "office therapy") before they could make such claims...

Re:Snake oil (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15795340)

I've said it before, I'll say it again: the primary cause of RSI is masturbation, not mice!

Re:Snake oil (1)

joshetc (955226) | more than 7 years ago | (#15795815)

~10 years of daily gaming / computer using, hours on end. Not a hitch in this right hand / wrist

Disclaimer: I am left handed

we already know... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15795416)

...that regular keyboards and mice can cause RSI, so by your new criteria, they should all be pulled off the market until they can be determined by real doctors doing real tests to not *cause* RSI.

In any case. . . (3, Informative)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#15795479)

What he's claiming is simply that they shouldn't claim that they don't cause RSI unless they can back it up. Truth in advertising.

This is something very different from banning products.

KFG

Re:Snake oil (2, Informative)

omeomi (675045) | more than 7 years ago | (#15795483)

Somehow I can't help thinking that all these devices that supposedly "help prevent" "RSI" are the modern equivalent of snake oil

I agree...there's already a similar device on the market (a mouse with a vertical bit that you grip like a joystick) that I tried a little while back. It didn't help my RSI at all...in fact, it was a bit worse than a regular mouse. I find 2 things help me. One is frequent exercise, and the other is switching mouse hands/positions. I go back and forth between left and right mousing (cordless mice are great for this), and sometimes I use a trackpad, which seems to help. Vertical mice don't help me much at all.

Horrible to use with a keyboard (4, Insightful)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#15795501)

I can see that this might work for gamers or whatever who just click their whole lives away. For a lot of us (programmers etc), mouse movements are interspersed with keyboard actions, so you need a pointing device that is close to the keyboard. My favourite it the cursor pad, a regular mouse is OK too. For a vertical orientation input device you need to make larger movements and keep rolling your wrist as you move from keyboard to mouse. Can't see this being efficient or easy.

Re:Horrible to use with a keyboard (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15795734)

There's a simple solution to that problem. Forget the mouse.
I generally use a laptop anyway, so I mostly gave up on the mouse years ago, I prefer a trackpoint to a trackpad (since it's even less motion for my hand), but I've moved to rarely using the mouse at all. I run FVWM and spent a bit of time configuring everything so I could do all of my normal operations with the keyboard. Being as I'm a heavy *nix user/hacker there are few other operations I have to do besides window and desktop switching. I setup desktop switch so it leaves the right windows focused to cut down on even that, so switching to xpdf on a different desktop from my standard couple of vim editors and a shell or two is just one key combo away. I actually did this for expediancies sake, and so I could deal better with systems with no mouse.

I'd never had any real problems with RSI, but when I was working on a big project a while back, where I was typing more than I was thinking, I started to get pain in my right wrist. I realized that it was from moving my right hand to the arrow keys. Since then I've switched to vim (I used to use emacs, sorry emacs folks), and use ctrl-[ for escape. Again I also fiddled with my FVWM and zsh settings so I never have to use the arrow keys in normal work.

I still use the "mouse" (trackpad) for webbrowsing, and I still use the arrow keys while in silly apps (like typing a slashdot post on firefox... firefox needs a vim plugin for that), or sometimes in shell if I'm must lazing back and not typing much anyway. But I have to say that between this and careful control of my posture, I rarely have RSI problems.

A good friend of mine typed alot of math in latex all of the time. So he remapped his entire keyboard to avoid having to type such long names, and primarilly to avoid stretching his right pinky out to the backslash key. Another friend we finally discovered had problems because his fingernails were too long, so he typed with his fingers out strait instead of curled.

A little thaught about what causes your problems is the first step, then figure out how to get rid of that problem. If an expensive product can solve your problem that's wonderful, but it's far better if you can learn to solve it without the product so you can use any computer (well... okay, some keyboards just suck, but besides that) without a problem. Sometimes you can, sometimes you can't, but it's worth experimenting.

One more little thing is that I often type on my lap. I am rather short, too short for most tables. This puts the keyboard at approximatly the right level, so my elbows aren't angled upwards. This gets rid of most of the desire to rest my wrists on something...

Re:Horrible to use with a keyboard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15795740)

or you can just use your feet on a wireless mouse...it works for simple actions and after a while you might get used to it...

Re:Horrible to use with a keyboard (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 7 years ago | (#15795984)

i don't do a lot of programming, but i do use the keyboard a lot more than most, i have to suggest using a buckling spring (clicky) keyboard, unicomp sells 'em new for around $80 for a basic model and i am loving mine. My hands,fingers, and wrists never get sore anymore and i can type faster due to not having to slam full speed into the bottom of the fram to ensure a keypress registers.

Re:Snake oil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15795564)

Yep I have to agree. Admittedly I haven't ever suffered from RSI in my long years
of computing, but I found as long as you rest your wrists on something you never
have a problem. I know that moving my whole arm to move the mouse would be worse
for me.

Re:Snake oil (2, Interesting)

jtseng (4054) | more than 7 years ago | (#15795758)

I have found on occasion that I have had to rest my mouse hand because I couldn't keep it on the mouse anymore; it would be too uncomfortable. I even tried to use the mouse on a near-vertical plane because I found out (along with some other people apparently) that the vertical position is more comfortable; obviously a vertical plane is not a viable solution. Although the price point is too high for me for this product, I can totally see how this can help people. I don't think it's snake oil.

One word: EAT ME (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15795322)

Eat me, Arabian Assatolas //

Two words: (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15795608)

You have an inability to count.

Four words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15796327)

That's four

Well (3, Interesting)

ShooterNeo (555040) | more than 7 years ago | (#15795328)

I see this as a legitimate product. It doesn't take a medical degree or a huge budget to see that if RSI is caused by using a particular joint, avoiding that joint avoids the problem. You do not need to move your wrist at all to use this mouse. A device built from a sound principle, no snake oil involved.

Re:Well (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#15795495)

You do not need to move your wrist at all to use this mouse. A device built from a sound principle, no snake oil involved.

Why does my shoulder hurt?

KFG

Re:Well (2, Informative)

randomaxe (673239) | more than 7 years ago | (#15795513)

Oh, come on. Anything you can sell is "a legitimate product". If I drop a deuce in a box, and you are willing to give me any amount of money for it, congratulations, you have just legitimized my personal excrement as a product.

So yes, this is a legitimate product. That doesn't make it legitimate as a tool for RSI prevention, however. That's not to say that it necessarily doesn't help, just that nobody has proven that it does. And there's the rub.

Besides, wrist movement is not the sole cause of RSI and related injuries. The "R" is for repetitive -- as in movements -- so unless this device somehow relieves the user of his or her mouse-clicking duties, it's still a vector for RSI.

Re:Well (1)

donaggie03 (769758) | more than 7 years ago | (#15795546)

If you are moving the mouse, then there has to be SOME joint on your body that is bending. I have a feeling that moving the mouse by bending your elbows and shoulders all day would feel a lot less natural.

Re:Well (2, Insightful)

pklinken (773410) | more than 7 years ago | (#15795692)

Afaik, rsi isnt caused by using a particular joint (joints are there to be moved, if they hurt thats a different problem), but by conflicting movements of the wrist/arm/shoulder/neck, hence 'repetitive strain'.
It's all about posture and stress.

Re:Well (2, Insightful)

Eideewt (603267) | more than 7 years ago | (#15795719)

But it's not caused by using the joint. Joints are meant to be used. It's caused by *misusing* the joint, which means you're stressing it in a way that it can't handle. That's why it's a repetetive *strain* injury rather than a repetetive motion injury. Simply immobilizing it may work, but I think that's a bit of an overreaction unless the damage is already so severe that any movement exacerbates it. A better approach would be to think about how you could change your movement to avoid stressing the joint. Things like keeping it within its range of motion, not attempting to exert a lot of force with it, and the like.

Or (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 7 years ago | (#15795972)

Or you could just periodically switch between a mouse and a track ball.

As the old joke goes...

Patient: "Doctor, Doctor, It hurts when I do this!"
Doctor: "Then don't do that."

Re:Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15796131)

"You do not need to move your wrist at all to use this mouse."

Me neither, I use a regular mouse. Turn the sensitivity up, keep your wrist still (hold it down with your other hand if you have to), move it with your fingertips.

Always amazes me that such a simple device has five or so different ways that people use it.

Radical Ergonomics (3, Insightful)

LaNMaN2000 (173615) | more than 7 years ago | (#15795329)

Like the Dvorak keyboard, ergonomic innovations that force people to relearn basic skills are bound for failure irrespective of the upside. Companies should instead develop ergonomic enhancements that integrate into the existing workspace.

Re:Radical Ergonomics (1)

ScottKin (34718) | more than 7 years ago | (#15795406)

I absolutely agree with you, LaNMaN2000 - I can't see how this solution is significant enough for large-scale adoption. There are plenty of other things to help prevent RSI in those people that use a mouse; taking rests from using it, other activities that don't use a mouse, along with alternatives like digitizers with pens and touchpads. The use of a pen with a digitizing surface is a more natural method than using a mouse, but if you look at how we type and compare that with how we hold computer mice, the shape of the hand is nearly identical, with the exception of widely spaced fingers.

IMHO, This is an interesting attempt at reducing RSI in pointers, but only that.

--ScottKin

Whats so Radical about this design (1)

DRAGONWEEZEL (125809) | more than 7 years ago | (#15795509)

It doesn't move any buttons except the scroll wheel. It looks to me to be very natural.

I went from using a flat keyboard to a MS natural pro, and OMG I love it. I think that RADICAL changes won't work as a business model. But this isn't so extreme.

The reason Vertical keyboards won't work is because people still look at their keys when they type. Soon, a vertical keyboard may be common as the population ages, and everyone who's anyone will know how to touch type.

Re:Radical Ergonomics (1)

cheezit (133765) | more than 7 years ago | (#15795511)

"...that integrate into the existing workspace." That assumes that you can get there from here. The modern office is designed for sitting for hours on end. The human body is not.

What do you do when the "basic skills" that people already know are the problem?

Enhancing the existing workspace sounds like a prescription for a bunch of incremental tweaks that cumulatively cost a lot but don't really do anything.

Re:Radical Ergonomics (1)

PunkFloyd (817784) | more than 7 years ago | (#15795560)

While I agree fully with what you say, I don't see this mouse as being a radical departure from the traditional mouse. It's not like that god-awful trackball contraption that won't stay dead.

Re:Radical Ergonomics (1)

Skreems (598317) | more than 7 years ago | (#15796239)

Trackballs won't stay dead because they're awesome. I got the Kensington Expert thing that people were talking about elsewhere in this thread, and I love it.

Re:Radical Ergonomics (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 7 years ago | (#15795568)

### Like the Dvorak keyboard, ergonomic innovations that force people to relearn basic skills are bound for failure irrespective of the upside.

Are they? Or is it just that nobody has ever really tried hard enough? I mean Dvorak is ok, but its not that much better then Qwerty, since the underlying keyboard itself is still the same, so its not a big suprise that it failed, buying new hardware (refering to 1940 or so when Dvorak layout was born) and doing new training for a rather minimal improvment just wasn't worth it. But if you take something like the Kinesis Keyboard, I am not so sure that they would fail in the mass marked. Sure, they might not replace the standard keyboards anytime soon, but a good ergonomic keyboard, why not, it shouldn't be that hard to find a few customers for that? Microsoft Natural got quite popular over the time. The throuble however is that those ergonomic devices are both extremly expensive (~$300) and hard to get, I can't just order them from Amazon or buy them in the computer shop next door and in addition to that they also lack the backing of a larger cooperation. But if Microsoft or Logitech produced a Kinesis like keyboard for a good price and maybe did some advertising of it, it might have a reasonable chance to succeed.

Re:Radical Ergonomics (1)

apflwr3 (974301) | more than 7 years ago | (#15795822)

For someone with horrible Repetitive Stress Disorder or Carpal Tunnel, couldn't the process of relearning be a therapy in itself?

That looks about 64%... (3, Funny)

the jerk store (960388) | more than 7 years ago | (#15795337)

...worthless

Re:That looks about 64%... (1)

Eideewt (603267) | more than 7 years ago | (#15795736)

I, for one, welcome our new 64% slashdot humor overlords. I'd like to remind them that as an unknown Internet personality I could be helpful in watching others toiling in their series of tubes.

How about not moving your wrist anyway? (1)

Apotekaren (904220) | more than 7 years ago | (#15795354)

I have my mouse setting at such a speed, that I can hold my wrist supported, and just move the
mouse with my fingers, and yet reach all over my desktop. Only gaming demands more "alive" movements.

Re:How about not moving your wrist anyway? (1)

UltimApe (991552) | more than 7 years ago | (#15795800)

I even play my games that way, if only at high sensitivity (I have very fine motor control).. The only problem is that smaller movements tend to be limited by the friction of the mouse pad/sliders, but that can be accounted for. The Logitech mx518 gaming mouse is a joy for me since it has buttons that control the sensitivity on the fly. Using one setting I can reach all the way across my dualmonitors, and on another I have very fine control for things like Photoshop/sniping etc. I used to have an mx700 wireless mouse, which although had the same shape, it was quite heavy due to the batteries, going from the heavy one to this über light g15 is a night and day difference. Not to mention that it's physical design allows me to grip teh moues with my thumb and ring and pinky finger quite nicely. It makes me want the g5 http://www.logitech.com/index.cfm/products/details /US/EN,CRID=2142,CONTENTID=10715 [logitech.com] because that one has adjustable weights. I figure that a computer is only as usable as it's input and output devices, so I figure a sacrafice in memory and processor speed is well worth haveing useful and accurate mice and keyboards. Now if only I was rich and could figure out a way to get a crossfire setup that can run 4 monitors at once...

Nice mouse but... (1)

Stephen Tennant (936097) | more than 7 years ago | (#15795357)

From article:

Given that computers have become so common at both work and in leisure pursuits, some long-time users are experiencing a gradual build-up of pain attributed by RSI, or Repetitive Stress Injury.

For me, chock up the RSI to those "leisurely pursuits." The only way this thing could improve over my wireless is if it was easy to use ambidextrously and dispensed lotion...

The solution is obvious (1)

50000BTU_barbecue (588132) | more than 7 years ago | (#15795366)

It's simply lack of circulation due to incomplete motion. Just get one of those hand gripper thingies and squeeze it about 20 times every half hour. Solved.

Re:The solution is obvious (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15795713)

It's simply lack of circulation due to incomplete motion. Just get one of those hand gripper thingies and squeeze it about 20 times every half hour. Solved.

Wow, that is an ignorant comment. That is as clueless as my Doctor when I went to him with
RSI complaints in late 1993. In fact, you've advised the exact solution my Doctor advised. Completely and utterly the wrong advice for a problem that you have incorrectly diagnosed.

Fortunately for me I found a physiotherapist that understood the problem, fixed me, told me how to keep myself fit and move on. I still live with the RSI injuries to this day and still have to do the remedial exercises.

If you want to know more: http://www.objmedia.demon.co.uk/rsi.html [demon.co.uk]

Next time, be more careful before your spout off on something you clearly know nothing about.

Re:The solution is obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15796040)

One doesn't need to go out and spend money on a hand gripper device. I have one that kind of came attached to me. And it's fun squeezing it 20 times every half hour. Really.

anyone want to buy a Datahand? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15795389)

It's a Professional II [datahand.com], just updated to the latest software version (1.8.something, with the 'windows key' and 10 macros), extra large, large & small palm pads. PS2 mouse & keyboard connectors. It's extremely clean because it's barely been used. Make an offer, I check that email address every so often.

I ended up going to an Osteopath, to straighten out my poor broken body, and I don't need it anymore.

datahand offer (1)

nido (102070) | more than 7 years ago | (#15795442)

forgot to make sure I was logged in before I hit 'post'. oops. :)

so anyways, these "ergonomic devices" are just crutches that don't make the actual problem go away. Sure, having a crutch is better than having nothing at all, but before long you'll become dependant on it, and thusly begins a downward spiral. Better to fix the problem than to continuously treat a symptom (surgery is usually for a symptom, and not a cause).

With that said, anyone want my datahand for $500? :)

Re:datahand offer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15795747)

Why you selling it?

Zero Tension? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15795405)

My 10 year old Logitech mouse doesn't require any grip or tension. It's wide and flat and has three indentations to rest your fingers in so you don't have to use muscles to hold them in place. It doesn't have a scroll wheel, so your middle finger sits comfortably where it wants to.

The FUTURE is Here NOW (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15795423)

Tonight, in the Cartoon network we have

Futurama: Space Pilot 3000 (SciFi) A pizza-delivery guy, accidentally frozen, awakes 1,000 years in the future. TV-PG CC Stereo

Already done... (5, Informative)

stmfreak (230369) | more than 7 years ago | (#15795438)

... It's called a Logitech TrackMan Marble FX. Keeps the pressure on the outer side of your hand and away from the carpal tunnel. I bought three for ~$50 each back in the day. Last I checked, the were going on eBay for ~$100. Too bad they're discontinued.

Re:Already done... (1)

no_pets (881013) | more than 7 years ago | (#15795520)

Try the Trackman Marble that you roll with your thumb instead. They still make it (just checked) and I have been using one for well over 10 years. I'm only on my second one. You may hate it at first but stick with it for a day to get the feel of it then you'll be in mouse heaven. And it definitely helps the mouse syndromes not to mention that marble technology virtually eliminates mouse jumping on the screen as you are probably already aware.

BTW I do not work for Logitech. :-)

Re:Already done... (1)

Vancorps (746090) | more than 7 years ago | (#15795551)

I too am a big fan of the Marble FX, the logos and all writing are long gone but the mouse is still going strong. Periodic cleaning is the only thing it needed. Probably one of the better investments I made.

Re:Already done... (1)

demental (937991) | more than 7 years ago | (#15795751)

You are absolutely right. I used a trackman marble 7 or 8 years ago and it was the best mouse i ever had. No pain in the wrists, and it was suprisingly functional for Unreal tournament(Well, for me anyways. Anyone else sitting at my workstation was euchred). Alas after my kitty finally got my mouse, i was dissapointed to find no retail outlets carried trackballs anymore. Dont know if i would ever be able to get used to one again.

funny looking? (3, Interesting)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 7 years ago | (#15795440)

I remember seeing the first boxy mice and thinking they were funny looking. "What's the use of a keypad with only two buttons on it? What? You're supposed to MOVE it?"

And yes, I did have to walk to school when I was a child. Uphill. Both ways.

Zero Tension Joystick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15795456)

Hmmm .... "its shape and ability to cup your hand ... can be moved around without bending the wrist or moving the fingers ... keeping the hand in a vertical position and the arm in a more ergonomic neutral position."

Sounds like my zero tension joystick!

It's not new.... (5, Interesting)

Yuan-Lung (582630) | more than 7 years ago | (#15795507)

A person with wrist problems in our office has been using a joystick-like mouse [3m.com] for a long time. It's hard to use for me, and gives me a sore elbow. Maybe I am using it wrong, but after having learned how to protect my wrist using a conventional mouse, I would rather not start over and having to learn to protect my elbow from a new product that doesn't offer any real advantage.

Re:It's not new.... (1)

mbakunin (258573) | more than 7 years ago | (#15795782)

I've used that 3M thing since before 3M bought the design. My wife actually got a sample off a guy on an airplane who worked for, or was, the original designer. For me, it's freaking great, as long as I don't try to play games on it. Keeping your hand vertical rather than horizontal is a huge win, and you get used to it quickly.

The drawbacks:
  - your wife will call it "the penis mouse"
  - the previous 3M models suffered from permadoubleclick
      (but they'll replace those with a phone call)

The advantages:
  - less hand and forearm tension
  - less temptation to fire up UT2004 when you're bored

All in all, a win-win. I don't see the point of the odd-looking "zero-tension" version when you have 3M's delectably corporate version out there. Go, buy, die happy.

Mmmmm-kay... (3, Insightful)

jpellino (202698) | more than 7 years ago | (#15795523)

How many of thes things have we seen that are supposed to put your hand in a more natural position?
They all end up at Big Lots for $9 after six months...
From the looks of that scroll wheel, it's going to be a banner year for RSI - grab the top of a bottle and roll your thumb straight back and forth over the top like the pictures show for the scroll wheel. If you can do that for more than a minute, you're not put together right.

Sounds familiar... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15795527)

This big input device allows the hand to fully rest on the unit in a more natural "thumbs-up" or "handshake" position. You fingers wrap around the mouse handle...

Yep... that's sounds like a hand position that most slashdotters are quite familiar with! Hmm... I wonder what the inventor was doing when he first got the idea for this mouse?

Obviously (2, Funny)

CrimsonScythe (876496) | more than 7 years ago | (#15795965)

IIRC the first such mouse was designed by a Norwegian company. (The mouse looks exactly like the one 3M makes, so I guess they licensed the design.) Anyway, to lend some credit to your excellent observation, I can add that "mouse" in Norwegian is in fact a common slang for the Holy Grail of Objects Unattainable to the Average Slashdot User: the female reproductive organ*. Taking this into account, it's hardly a surprise that it was invented in Norway.

BTW, this gives us the euphemism "ergonomically mousing", which helps relieve some of the strain of the old euphemism "left-handed mousing". Well, I'm off to do some "flight simulatoring" and get to bed**.

* For more info on this topic, see pretty much anywhere on the Internets.
** All quotation marks should be accompanied with air quotation mark gestures, unless you're busy "ergonomically mousing", "left-handed mousing", or "flight simulatoring"** ***.
*** Damn, I managed to make a recursive footnote!

Have One (2, Informative)

EEBaum (520514) | more than 7 years ago | (#15795540)

I bought one of these over a year ago, as part of my tendonitis-triggered moratorium on regular mice. I used it pretty extensively until I got a Kensington Expert Mouse Trackball, which I find gives a better match for my needs while maintaining good ergonomics. I still pack this one with me whenever I'm going somewhere (e.g. campus computer labs) that has nasty mice in it. It's pretty nice in my experience (i.e. it doesn't make my tendonitis go crazy like regular mice), though the motions required are a bit odd in its own way, leaving me to just put my hand on top of it every now and then and use it like a really tall, funkily-buttoned, regular mouse.

I second this -- Everyone, get one! (1)

John Nowak (872479) | more than 7 years ago | (#15795918)

The Kensington Expert Trackball is the best thing for RSI in my experience. The large ball and scroll ring allow it to be used in dozens of different had positions which negates the "repetitive stress" part of RSI.

Kensington is also a great company. They honors their five year warrantee for me three years in when I (ab)used the trackball far too much and broke one of the little floater things inside. (Note: It is not a basketball hoop.) Without even any proof of ownership and without me sending mine back, they had me a new one in three days -- All it took was an email.

It is also supported very well on Linux, OS X, and OpenBSD (which are all I've tried with it).

Perhaps the best input device on the market. Get one.

Re:I second this -- Everyone, get one! (1)

chgros (690878) | more than 7 years ago | (#15796234)

which negates the "repetitive stress" part of RSI.
So you're left with the injury?

Looks just about perfect to me. (4, Insightful)

Kaenneth (82978) | more than 7 years ago | (#15795550)

I have severe, very severe, as in on federal disability for 5 years, $1500/month medications, arthritis. The fingers of my right hand are turning to the left (Ulnar deviation), and the base joint of my index finger is basically destroyed (subluxation). I developed 'sausage fingers', where the joints swelled so much and so fast I got stretch marks on my fingers. 4 doctors, one of whom was in a wheelchair determined my arthritis bad enough to make me unable to work. Right now with the medications, I'm working, but with the knowledge that I'm slowly destroying my hands.

I looked at some of the previous ergo mice, and they mostly have the flaw mentioned in the article of having to grip the mouse to push it away (up the screen), I have difficulty with doorknobs, bottlecaps, and steering wheels, gripping is a problem. I also used to work in the Microsoft Hardware (mouse/keyboard) group testing device drivers, where I was working at the time I suddenly developed arthritis (genetic cause, not from work), so I do have some knowledge about pointing devices.

This mouse is basically exactly what the physical therapists described as ideal; hand in the hand-shake position, not needing to bend the wrist, with the arm relaxed. and at $80 it's not bad compared to some ergo devices. It's not a 'quack' device, it's designed to help a real, legitimate medical/work issue. If it's lightweight and Optical (I hate mechanical mice so very very much), I'll buy several. Another few years of work would repay the cost a few thousand times over..

Re:Looks just about perfect to me. (2, Insightful)

Eideewt (603267) | more than 7 years ago | (#15795753)

It sounds like this mouse would be perfect for you, since you can't grip things, but I question how much utility it has for a person who is either trying to avoid injury in the first place or who is combating a minor RSI.

Re:Looks just about perfect to me. (0, Flamebait)

Sargeant Slaughter (678631) | more than 7 years ago | (#15795985)

Right now with the medications, I'm working, but with the knowledge that I'm slowly destroying my hands.

You keep working on coomputers with a mouse (GUI dependent???) despite the fact that it may destroy the afformentioned appendage?


If it's lightweight and Optical (I hate mechanical mice so very very much), I'll buy several.

So, you;d rather loose complete function of your hand than use a mechanical mouse? And why several? Don't you wanna try one first before throwing hundreds of dollars at it?

Talk about having your priorities straight... How the hell did this get modded up?

Re:Looks just about perfect to me. (3, Interesting)

Kaenneth (82978) | more than 7 years ago | (#15796324)

It's slow damage, over years of time. In order to afford surgery, and better medications than insurance coverage provides (the Mayo clinic has some interesting fine joint replacement implants), and to relieve the boredom of not working (Playing CounterStrike and Everquest all day would be as bad as programming; except most programming environments allow speech recognition software).

I'm doing the best I can with what I have and the time I have, instead of spending the rest of my life sitting in a trailer watching TV and smoking pot on the government dole, and dying with perfect hands.

My priorities include being a useful person to the rest of the world, not simply doing the best thing for myself.

Re:Looks just about perfect to me. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15796213)

$1500/mo? Wow - Nice scam you got going on there, buddy. Why don't you try doing some real work for a change, you lazy nancy boy. Quit sucking on the government tit! Sincerely, Taxpayer

Re:Looks just about perfect to me. (1)

Kaenneth (82978) | more than 7 years ago | (#15796291)

The fed's arn't paying for my medications; when I was 22, and got my first good paying tech job, I bought medical insurance out of pocket before I knew I was going to develop arthritis. The Medications cost $1500; but that's 90% covered by my non-government insurance. Enough so that I declined Medicare coverage. Getting my own insurance was the smartest thing I ever did, you don't see many 20 somethings do that.

Which was good because the SSA sent my hearing notice to the wrong address, lost my file for 9 months, withheld 10x the proper amount for legal fees, and all in all took 5 years to start paying my benifits (Disability Insurance, i.e. paid for by deducions from MY paycheck, not Welfare) during which time my incurable illness had a new treatment developed, I started taking it, and returned to work. I've paid more in taxes than I've gotten in benifits. Dealing with the SSA is a real nightmare, unfortunetly, most people don't get their own insurance/retirement plans.

The first ergonomic mouse (2, Funny)

slowbad (714725) | more than 7 years ago | (#15795559)

At a press conference introducing the "radical" Microsoft curved mouse, Bill Gates talked about how 7 million dollars was spent just on ergonomics.

Then a reporter asked about the availability of a left-handed version. After a two second pause, the audience was told that it works either way.

"Cootie" keys for the telegrapher.. (2, Interesting)

the_rajah (749499) | more than 7 years ago | (#15795631)

Telegraph and wireless operators had similar RSI problems going back, probably at least, to the 1860's. They called it having a "glass arm". The JH Bunnell Double Speed key, also known as a side-swiper, was patented in 1888 to help solve this problem and was sold well into the 1920's when it was replaced by semi-automatic keys known as "bugs" (first patent 1892). The operation of the side-swiper was such that the motion was side to side instead of up and down. There is a contact on either side of the armature or lever so pressing the lever either way made the contact. There was no attempt to automate the dots as the later semi-automatic keys did. You can find example pictures online by searching for "Cootie key" or "side-swiper" key. I have one of the early Bunnell cooties in my telegraph apparatus collection.

No mouse required... (1)

1053r (903458) | more than 7 years ago | (#15795691)

Of course, for us more hardcore hackers, we have the ultimate ergonomic solution: no mouse (I swear GUIs were sent from hell to make us suffer).

Re:No mouse required... (2, Funny)

Millenniumman (924859) | more than 7 years ago | (#15795791)

Huh, you think you're tough. A real computer only needs a kernel, a shell, and ed. ed for programming (binary), ed for writing, ed for editing pictures/movies/music (hexadecimally), ed as a browser, ed for everything. Output other than "?" is useless.

Re:No mouse required... (1, Funny)

Eideewt (603267) | more than 7 years ago | (#15795876)

Editors are for wimps. I use a magnet on a stick to flip the bits on my hard drive directly.

Switch sides.. (2, Informative)

SevenHands (984677) | more than 7 years ago | (#15795718)

If injury is caused due to mouse utilization via the right hand, use the mouse with your left hand for a while. This would give the injury time to heal. This is something I tried a few years back and although there's a bit of a learning curve (I was sloppy and slow at moving the pointer at first) I don't even think about it now. My girlfriend also tried this approach due to tension in her right shoulder.

standard old school keyboard (1)

hikerhat (678157) | more than 7 years ago | (#15795724)

The other day I tried a standard, rectangular, old school, non-ergonomic keyboard, and I found I could type much faster and more accurately than with my fancy split key thing. Not sure what would happen if I used it for long periods of time, but I might actually try switching back. Perhaps I was suckered by some ergonomic snake oil.

Were you having pain/problems? (1)

porkchop_d_clown (39923) | more than 7 years ago | (#15795779)

Why did you start using an ergo keyboard?

Personally, I use one all the time and for long coding sessions they are essential for preventing pain in my left wrist. I can type equally quickly on both, but when I use my laptop keyboard the discomfort builds up pretty quickly.

Re:Were you having pain/problems? (1)

hikerhat (678157) | more than 7 years ago | (#15796353)

I've been lucky to never have problems. But I've used an ergo keyboard for years though. So maybe it actually has prevented problems. But I learned on a standard keyboard, which is probably why I'm still a little faster on those.

No thanks (3, Insightful)

Eideewt (603267) | more than 7 years ago | (#15795864)

I'm really not convinced of this thing's utility. It's assuming that since a neutral "handshake" position puts the least strain on a person's wrist, it must be best to hold it in that position all the time. Joints are made to be used, so it's silly to decide that immobilizing them will solve the problem. I suspect that staying immobile too long is a bad idea. The real problem is, like the acronym says, repetetive *strain*. Learning to use your joints in the way they work best will get you farther than locking them in place.

Guitarists, for example play for long stretches at a time, but most (decent ones) don't end up hurting themselves. Anyone who's played the guitar can tell you that it's not really an ergonomically constructed device. Why don't we hurt ourselves when we twist our wrists backwards and make strange movements very quickly, while office workers manage to destroy their wrists pushing buttons and scooting a mouse around? First of all, musicians practice for hours to figure out how not to hurt their wrists. Second, musicians don't usually play for eight hours straight. My advice to anyone who feels an RSI coming on is to take breaks, but also to examine very closely how you operate these devices. Are you bending your wrist funny to move the mouse, or reaching with a single finger rather than moving your whole hand when typing?

Basically, it's okay to move joints within their range of motion all you like, but every joint has positions in which it can take some stress, and positions in which it can't. Everyone has been told to "always lift with your legs." You need to know similar rules for other joints. You stress a joint whenever you move it out of its safest position then try to exert force through it. For keyboarding, this means reaching with a finger or bending your wrists back then trying to press a key. Keeping your wrists straight and moving your whole hand when you reach for a key is the way to go. Also, making sure never to stretch your hand out when chording is a good idea. Left shift for right hand keys, and vice versa. For mousing, putting your whole hand on the mouse and bending your wrist to move it strains you unduly. A better solution is to hold it with your fingertips and use every joint you can to distribute the action. The fingertips and wrist for fine motion, and the rest of the arm for gross motions. It's also helpful to rotate your hands a little closer to the handshake position, for both mousing and keyboarding.

Of course, some people have already sustained joint damage, and may need to immobilize the joint until it heals. After that, better mousing technique should prevent further trouble, unless you're prone to injury for some other reason.

IANAPT, but I am a guy who types a lot, mouses a lot, and plays a lot of musical instruments, but has never sustained an RSI (except once when I played with a noisemaker for too long). I attribute that to my amazing technique.

It's an ergonomic disaster (for me) (1)

jeremyp (130771) | more than 7 years ago | (#15796139)

From the manufacturer's web site [zerotensionmouse.com]:

Zero Tension Mouse(TM) (available only in right-handed models)
(my emphasis)

It's always the same: you get these beautifully sculpted mice/trackballs/joysticks and they are only good for right handers.

Lovely ergonomics (1)

MasterDebator (991572) | more than 7 years ago | (#15796207)

I love (loath) companies like this. Sure, they care about the proper ergonomics of computer mice. They want to ensure that the world doesn't succumb to RSI, they love everyone. But, lets not bother making a left-handed model. Hell, only 10 % of peopl are lefties. It sure as hell isn't worth the R&D.
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