Joystick-like mouse eases muscle strain
- By Ania Bernat
- Sep 27, 1999
If you've ever been in a position in which you find yourself using a mouse
for many hours, you may have experienced stiffness, pain or even numbness
in your shoulder, arm, hand or wrist. AnimaX International has designed
an unusual product to relieve some of those irritating aches and pains.
Dubbed "Dr. Mouse," this pointing device helps to keep your wrist in a stable,
Dr. Mouse has the look and feel of a joystick. Unlike a joystick, however,
Dr. Mouse is designed to be moved on a mouse pad, just like a conventional
mouse. The product is designed to keep your arm in a natural and comfortable
position. It keeps your wrist stable to prevent and relieve conditions such
as repetitive stress injury (RSI) and carpal tunnel syndrome.
According to AnimaX, clinical studies have shown that using Dr. Mouse reduces muscle
loading in the arm and wrist when compared with using a traditional mouse.
Another difference between Dr. Mouse and a joystick is that the button on
top doesn't launch missiles. Instead, it is used for left and right mouse
clicks. In addition, the mouse has a button along the shaft that provides
four-way scrolling in all Microsoft Corp.- and Internet-compatible programs.
With this extra button, you also can access the Quick Access menu. The menu
has two folders, one listing applications that are running and the other
displaying a programmed list your favorite or most frequently used programs.
Unlike a regular mouse, one size does not fit all with Dr. Mouse. It comes
in two sizes: medium and large. It is available for IBM Corp.-compatible
PCs, Apple Computer Inc.'s Macintosh and iMac systems, and Sun Microsystems
Inc. and Silicon Graphics Inc. workstations.
After installing the software, a pop-up menu appears on the screen that
takes you through a step-by-step process on how to use Dr. Mouse.
Unfortunately, learning how to use the mouse and getting used to using it
are two different things. We quickly learned how to get Dr. Mouse to do
what we wanted. But we never got to the point of feeling comfortable with
the device. Moving one's entire arm instead of simply one's hand and wrist
seemed like too much work. What's more, with Dr. Mouse, you need to rest
your entire forearm on the desk, which can be tough if you have limited
desk space. After the fourth day of using Dr. Mouse, we returned to using
a traditional mouse.
It's possible that if a person suffered from certain types of RSI and if
using a conventional mouse was painful, Dr. Mouse, awkward as it is, might
provide relief. Still, the device presents enough hurdles that we strongly
recommend keeping your receipt if you decide to give Dr. Mouse a try.