In 1994, the Evoluent VerticalMouse was patented. Its unique design places the forearm in a neutral, hand-shake position rather than in a palm-down position. This relieves pressure on muscles and compression on nerves in the forearm that may become tight and pinched during long hours of positioning with the forearm in the palm-down pose. In spite of an enthusiastic response from trade show attendees, the larger mouse production companies did not share his vision and it took Jack Lo, the designer, over 8 years to move through the stages of product research, design and development before the release of the first Evoluent VerticalMouse in 2002. Since that time, the Evoluent Vertical Mouse has undergone 2 additional revisions with the goal of helping more people “cure and prevent mouse injuries”.
The Evoluent VerticalMouse is about the same height and width of a standard mouse. In fact, it looks very much like a mouse that has been positioned on its side. The most obvious difference from a standard mouse is in the height and button placement. The buttons are placed on the outside edge of the mouse with an indentation for the thumb on the inside edge. This mouse contains five buttons - three standard-sized buttons along the outside edge, a scroll wheel along the outside edge between the top and middle button, and a long, thin oval-shaped button in the thumb indentation along the inside edge. The top button performs the traditional left mouse click functions. The middle button performs the traditional right mouse click functions. The scroll wheel performs the traditional scroll functions. The remaining bottom button and thumb indentation button are for programmable functions. In fact, all five buttons are programmable with 59 different functions available through free shareware. Links are available through customer support on the Evoluent website. The buttons are easy to activate with a light force but are firm enough to prevent accidental mouse clicks.
Who Will Benefit From Using the Evoluent VerticalMouse?
- The neutral forearm positioning is comfortable and recommended for anyone with forearm or wrist pain and swelling.
- This mouse is also recommended for those with a tendency to activate the mouse by swiveling through the wrist rather than keeping the wrist neutral.
- Very comfortable to hold and to manipulate. Button activation is smooth. The scroll wheel in the latest version (the VerticalMouse 3) has been redesigned with detents (clicks) to provide improved feedback. The Vertical Mouse 2 offers a smooth rolling scroll wheel. The VerticalMouse 3 offers a small lip on the bottom edge to prevent the small finger from rubbing against the desk surface.
- Button activation and use is similar to standard mice so that adjustment time is short.
- Elegant appearance in a professional black matte with a soft-touch coating and choice of glossy black or silver buttons in a calming wave-like design.
- The ergonomic positioning and soft-touch coating just feel good on the hand.
- Helps keep the wrist neutral. It is more difficult to activate the mouse by swiveling the wrist and promotes mouse activation through the larger shoulder and elbow muscles.
- A high definition mouse that moves the cursor across the screen with smaller movements.
- Very adaptable with programmable buttons.
- Every person has a different idea of what is comfortable in a mouse – the way it fits in the hand, the way it moves, the tension of the mouse click, the speed of the cursor movement. It can take up to two weeks to become comfortable with a different style mouse. New equipment can be costly and you do not want to purchase something and then find out it does not work for your particular needs. If purchased through the Evoluent online store, a 30 day satisfaction guarantee is offered for the Evoluent Vertical Mouse if it is returned in new condition and in original packing with all materials and accessories.
- Uses a USB port for easy installation. A USB to PS/2 converter is provided for those who do not want to use a USB port.
- A wireless option is available for the latest revision in a right-handed model only.
- Rapid cursor movement. You may need to slow the speed down for more detail-oriented work. The latest version, the Evoluent VerticalMouse 3, has a toggle switch that allows you to change cursor speed quickly to 4 different settings - 800, 1300, 1800 or 2600 (dots per inch). If you have an injury or illness that makes it difficult to control cursor movement, this may not be the mouse for you.
- With the Evoluent VerticalMouse, it is important to have a mousing surface at or below elbow height. With a standard mouse on a higher surface, the wrist tends to bend back (extend) to compensate for the height (placing strain on the wrist). The wrist does not extend with the vertical mouse which is healthier for the wrist but causes strain on the shoulder if the surface is too high.
- The latest revision is currently only available in the right-handed model. Left-handed mouse users will need to purchase the second revision of the model.
Marji Hajic is an Occupational Therapist and a Certified Hand Therapist practicing in Santa Barbara, California. For more information on hand and upper extremity injuries, prevention and recovery, visit Hand Health Resources.
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For manufacturer information, visit http://www.evoluent.com/index.html