aiming at solving several problems related to shouler–arm–wrist–hand issues and computer use.
One of the major problems wiht keyboard designs for right handed people is that the number pad is fixed on the right side. This generally means that in order to mouse, the user must reach past the numberpad and place the shoulder in an awkward position, either abducted or rotated out away from the body. The larger the keyboard, the more awkward the position. The awkward shoulder posture also places the elbow in a less than optimal position. The wrist is less directly affected. When the shoulder and elbow are constrained in their movement options, the user will ofen compensate with movement from the wrist. THEN the wrist becomes impacted.
There are many approaches to the problem.
- Use the left hand for mousing
- Use a very small keyboard
- Use a keyboard without a number pad.
- In combination with the numberless keyboard, use a portable numberpad and learn to use the left hand for numbers.
- The RollerMouse Solution.
By far, the easiest and most elegant solution is the RollerMouse.
The Contour RollerMouse is designed to place mouse movement and control at the midline of the body. The Free2 design includes all dimensions of cursor movement, left and right click, cursor speed control; scroll wheel and scroll click, double click, copy and paste all centered at midline within a 5 by 2 area. In addition, the scroll bar is placed abutting the space bar and reaches the length of the most keyboards so that minimal movement is required to achieve good mouse control.
I often choose the RollerMouse when I've already tried other potential solutions to work technique or pain control and have not had a good response. I hesitate to use if first primarily because many people look at it and can't imagine it would work and because of the cost. In this day of mobile devices and wearable computers discomfort with odd devices is becoming less of a problem.
The RollerMouse allows a person to mouse without using their thumbs, making it a great choice for those with DeQuervains. Any finger or set of fingers can apply the motion and click the buttons. It keeps the work area close and central to the body. It takes away the reach distance imposed by the number pad on the keyboard. It's a low force and intuitive tool. However it is not cheap.
The RollerMouse requires no driver downloads and works easily with a USB connection. It is easily portable making it a good choice for travel.
Accomodation time varies but is faster than touch-pads. It is durable. I've seen one last for 10 years (although it was looking quite worn by that time).
I have included links to two different versions of the RollerMouse. The Pro2 control placement is somwhat less optimum and it may not have all features. It is offered at a lower pricepoint and the most important features are present. The Free version is lower and sleaker, working well with more modern and flatter keyboards.