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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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  • Snake oil (Score:5, Insightful)

    by keesh ( 202812 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @06:51PM (#15795319) Homepage
    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...
  • Radical Ergonomics (Score:4, Insightful)

    by LaNMaN2000 ( 173615 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @06:53PM (#15795329) Homepage
    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.
  • by EmbeddedJanitor ( 597831 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @07:24PM (#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.
  • Mmmmm-kay... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jpellino ( 202698 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @07:28PM (#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.
  • by Kaenneth ( 82978 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @07:34PM (#15795550) Homepage Journal
    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:Well (Score:1, Insightful)

    by pklinken ( 773410 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @08:05PM (#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 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Eideewt ( 603267 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @08:12PM (#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.
  • by Eideewt ( 603267 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @08:25PM (#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.
  • No thanks (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Eideewt ( 603267 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @08:52PM (#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.

Someday your prints will come. -- Kodak