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Shake Hands with the Zero Tension Mouse 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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Shake Hands with the Zero Tension Mouse

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  • Already done... (Score:5, Informative)

    by stmfreak ( 230369 ) <stmfreak AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday July 27, 2006 @07:13PM (#15795438) Journal
    ... 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.
  • In any case. . . (Score:3, Informative)

    by kfg ( 145172 ) * on Thursday July 27, 2006 @07:19PM (#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.

  • Re:Snake oil (Score:3, Informative)

    by omeomi ( 675045 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @07:20PM (#15795483) Homepage
    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 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.
  • Re:Well (Score:2, Informative)

    by randomaxe ( 673239 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @07:26PM (#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.
  • Have One (Score:3, Informative)

    by EEBaum ( 520514 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @07:31PM (#15795540) Homepage
    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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 27, 2006 @08:10PM (#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: []

    Next time, be more careful before your spout off on something you clearly know nothing about.
  • Switch sides.. (Score:2, Informative)

    by SevenHands ( 984677 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @08:12PM (#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.
  • Re:Snake oil (Score:0, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 27, 2006 @11:52PM (#15796465)
    I've said it before, I'll say it again: the primary cause of RSI is masturbation, not mice!

    as an rsi sufferer, one coworker told me that was the cause. i responded by tellin gsaid guy that this couldn't be the cause, otherwise, his arm would've already fallen off. he said no more.

    folks, anecdotal evidence is bad. it's like saying, i'm not tall and extrapolating that to there being no tall people.

    pretty dumb, no?

    imho, there are two components to rsis.

    1. genetics
    2. type of use

    diet also may play a role, too, but my guess it isn't in the same ballpark as the two i list.

    i didn't have carpal tunnel, rather, i had cubital tunnel syndrome - my ulnar nerve was damaged at the elbow. it took almost 10 years to show up positive on the electric conductivity tests. i preferred death to living like that - and if my nasty little surgery didn't help, i might not be posting this.

    1. cut open skin at elbow.
    2. drill holes through inner elbow bone.
    3. completely saw off top of bone.
    4. pick up and move funny bone to other side of bone (inner elbow part).
    5. realign sawed off bone top with holes in base bone.
    6. sew bone top in place.
    7. sew up elbow.

    this is on the back end of almost a decade of varying levels of disability culminating in not being able to finish writing a paragraph without stopping due to pain. a calculator was a torture devise to me. tax time was miserable for more than writing that check.

    i'm posting this so you know that the surgery helped, although recovering from it was a pain. it took me years to almost get back full extension of the arm.

    my left arm has a similar problem, although it isn't as bad. i now know why i had to rub linament on my arm after pitching in little league. in high school i could type 130 wpm. i've spent years using 2 pens hunting and pecking.

    i'm typing with my fingers now, though, it isn't all bad. it hurts a bit, but nothing like that nerve pain that had me scheming to take out life insurance and then drive off a cliff. nights were the worst. laying in bed aching - and the pain was automatically the primary focus at night as you try to mentally shut down.

    so, yeah, some people have good genetics and can brag about abusing the crap out of their hands for decades w/o a problem.

    a lottery winner can also go up to a poverty stricken child and brag about their winnings, too.

    both show about the same level of class.

    specifically, none.

    don't worry about me, i hurt, but not drive off the cliff hurt. i have been there and i have the deepest amount of compassion for the unfortunate people who were in my situatioo (or worse) with no way out. if they are still alive today, they have more courage than i think i had.
  • Re:No thanks (Score:2, Informative)

    by bampot ( 814270 ) on Friday July 28, 2006 @10:02AM (#15798335)
    The difference is that with a guitar you're not playing the same 2 or 3 notes hundreds or thousands of times every day as you do with a mouse. RSI is all to do with the *exact* same movement repeated (hundreds) of thousands of times.

    I ran into some RSI tendonitis problems a couple of years back with my mouse hand, which involved being off work for a while. Our HSE advisor got me to try a few different devices, one of which was a similarly styled "joystick" mouse, so this is nothing new. However it didn't help in my case because my fingers still used the same muscles/tendons to activate the mouse buttons even though the orientation is different. Always having been a "keyboard man" I tried with no mouse for a while, however you'd be surprised at the number of applications which cannot function without a mouse because of bad design (or bad developers).

    Additionally I also tried going left-handed for a while, however within a couple of months I started getting the same problem - weird.

    Eventually I settled on an external touchpad, although it was fiddly at first it didn't take long to get used to and has some nice programmable features like scroll/zoom zones, hotspots that can be assigned various functions like browser back/forward controls etc. I have one button set up as a "double-click" function which is a real lifesaver.

    That was two years ago and now I don't get any problems - until I pick up a mouse for more than 5 minutes. So the notion that the "injury" will heal is a myth - the scar tissue on the tendons will be there for a very long time, probably until I haven't used a PC for a decade. I have a spare touchpad I use for when I'm not working at my desk. Also the sprung hand-strengtheners seem to help.

    Amyway back to the original point. The interesting thing is that even at the peak, it didn't affect any other activity (yes, that one too), including playing the guitar. And I'm talking fast thrash metal for hours on end, not strumming along to Kumbayah. However it is well known that dedicated guitarists are likely to develop back problems from the weight of the instrument hanging round the neck/shoulder area. Violin & viola players etc. are also liable to carpal tunnel sydrome from the same movements required in the wrists over many years. However I don't think "musicians practice for hours to figure out how not to hurt their wrists." - it never occurred to me or any I know and I used to play bassoon in a three different orchestras and two bands.

    Unfortunatley it's an afflication which no-one thinks about until it's too late, and it's very sudden - I probably average computer use at about 8 or 10 hours a day (still) but it took 15 years to rear it's ugly head, and it was a case of hero to zero in less than a week.
  • by enderwig ( 261458 ) on Friday July 28, 2006 @03:49PM (#15801417)
    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..

    One issue I see with this mouse is the scroll wheel. As a scientist that works at the bench, I use pipetman alot. From the pictures, using the scroll wheel seems to produce a very similar range of motion to using a pipetman (assuming you use your thumb). If you love to use the scroll wheel, this mouse will cause undue stress on some of those tendons you are trying to protect. Half of my co-workers have been put on PT for the beginning symptoms of RSI. I do admit that this solution is way better than the traditionaly scroll wheel, which is amazingly bad.

    Ergonomic pipetman now use electronics and motors that allows the use of a single trigger button to control uptake and dispense. The designs are looking alot like flight sim joysticks, which are quite comfortable.

"The one charm of marriage is that it makes a life of deception a neccessity." - Oscar Wilde