Snug-fitting, hand-sized mouse designed to combat RSI
Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) is a general term for a variety of painful symptoms associated with prolonged computer work.
You might expect that hammering at a keyboard is its primary cause but actually a high proportion of problems come from mouse usage.
The Handshoe Mouse, based on research from Rotterdam’s Erasmus Medical Centre, is the latest of many designs that claim to ease the problem.
The mouse’s manufacturer, a company named Hippus, provides a chart to find which of the three sizes available is best suited to the size of the user’s hand. This gets the user a mouse that is almost precisely the size of the hand and moulded to fit it, with the thumb resting at the side and three fingers falling naturally over the two buttons and the scroll wheel.
According to the company, the design will support the user’s hand and wrist and discourage them from making potentially damaging pinching movements with the thumb.
We got several mouse users, some of whom suffer from RSI, to try it and most said the mouse felt comfortable, even restful, to hold, but it was a disappointment in use. The large area it takes up on a desk meant our test subjects tended to swivel it around when using it on a crowded desk rather than trying to move it sideways, resulting in wrist movements that made one RSI sufferer wince. Hippus does warn users against doing this but the fact remains that the design encourages it.
The mouse as supplied seemed heavy and the friction caused by its large underbelly moving against the desk surface made it hard work compared with a standard model. We were about to give up on it when we found a note on the Hippus website about a set of weights inside the mouse that can be removed to suit individual taste. Once we had removed these the mouse was much more usable, and still more so when used with a large and smooth mouse mat.
There are four models, each with left- and right-hand versions: one connected by USB cable, one was wireless (which uses a USB adapter), and these are also available with laser tracking for better accuracy, which adds £20 to the cost. No special drivers are needed so setting it up involved no more than plugging in the cable or adapter.
It may be that the Handshoe will help some RSI sufferers who have particular quirks of grip and posture. But be warned that if you try one on approval it must be returned within 30 days if you don’t like it, and Hippus offers only 75 per cent of your money back.
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Look for a UK dealer who lets you try before you buy. And clear a large space on your desk Good points Very comfortable in the hand; prevents pinching movements Bad points Hard work with weights in; encourages unhelpful wrist movement; expensive
£89 (wired); £109 (wireless)
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