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Show HN: Ergonomic mouse where you lift your fingers to click
28 points by dbenamy on July 25, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 31 comments
I've developed a mouse where I click by lifting my fingers instead of pressing them down. I've found that this helps with my RSI and I'm running an Indiegogo campaign (like Kickstarter) to see if others are interested in me doing a production run.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the idea!

http://igg.me/p/173482?a=881199




This is an interesting idea. Have you consulted the keyboard and mouse enthusiast groups? There are two well known groups to propose the idea to, the local experts would definitely have some insight:

http://geekhack.org and http://deskthority.net


I didn't know about those groups. Thanks for the links! I'll definitely contact them.


Good luck. If it doesn't work out, and you haven't already tried this mouse, give it a shot:

http://www.amazon.com/3M-Ergonomic-Optical-Compatible-EM500G...

I like it a lot. Use my thumb to click.


Interesting. I just bought this vertical mouse last month: http://www.amazon.com/Evoluent-Vertical-Mouse-Right-Handed/d...


same idea. I've tried that design. for some reason I didn't ever feel like I had a great grip on it and pushing buttons right-to-left felt weird to me.


I honestly bought it a bit hastily. I rock climb, play cello, and program, so when I started to get some wrist pain I immediately ordered ergonomically-better computer parts. This mouse specifically has helped a lot.


Thanks arn! I have tried that mouse. It was great for a while but then I started getting pain from clicking my thumb too much :-/ I suppose that may eventually happen with the up mouse. fingers crossed


ah interesting. When I use a regular mouse, I click like crazy - I think more than needed, so that might explain it. For the vertical mouse, I don't find I click as much. fwiw, I also use http://www.marcmoini.com/sx_en.html - which allows me to use the button on the shaft of the vertical mouse to grab-and-scroll windows. useful for scrolling web views, and probably reduces my actual clicking.


Oh cool. Thanks for that link!


I wonder if you could hack something like this together purely in software using a Magic Mouse, since its surface is just a big piece of multitouch glass. There's still the problem that the physical form factor isn't the most ergonomic, but the barrier to entry for trying it out is pretty low.


Cool idea, I think it'd be more appealing if you could somehow do it without the "hood" over the mouse.

I don't know much about hardware but is it possible to have touch sensors where the mouse buttons are so it can sense when you lift your fingers instead of when you push a button above your hand?


Re-posting my reply as an actual reply in case you don't see my top level comment:

Thanks! Using touch sensors that detect when you lift your fingers is an interesting idea. I bet it would be more difficult than buttons. Maybe version 2? :-)


Surely the simplest solution is just to use microswitches that are lightly sprung, so that the weight of the finger is enough to hold them down. There are probably some that would work as drop in replacements in already existing mice.


Do you have any ideas about how to handle taking your hand off the mouse?


How about yet another lightly sprung microswitch, this time attached to the plastic casing?


That's in interesting idea. I'd have to try it out to see how well it works.


Forgive my ignorance: I get that it uses the extensors instead of the flexors, and it doesn't go through the carpal tunnel, but wouldn't you just eventually get RSI in another part of your wrist then?


Good question! It's possible that this will eventually happen, but I think it's unlikely for 2 reasons:

Lots of stuff goes through a small area in the carpal tunnel so it's easy for it to all rub too much and get irritated. My understanding is that the extensors don't all go through a similar narrow area so are less likely to have this problem.

The flexors are used a lot for typing. By moving some of the wear from mousing to the extensors, the idea is to better spread out the wear and tear.


One note of caution. Until you have a lot more data from a lot more users, this is not an ergonomic mouse, but is more of a test platform to test the idea of whether this is an ergonomic mouse.


Fair enough. I'm not sure if that'll fit so well in a HN title though :-)


It would be nice if the mouse was tilted slightly so that your wrist is not parallel to the desk. For the scroll wheel, you could put that under the thumb, i.e. on the side.


@Foy, thanks! Using touch sensors that detect when you lift your fingers is an interesting idea. I bet it would be more difficult than buttons. Maybe version 2? :-)


Perhaps you can use light sensors instead? I haven't tested it, but it would seem that something like the QRD 1114 sensor might work.

As for the scroll wheel, how about a thumb-controlled analog stick? (although it would be hard to make that compatible with both right-handed and left-handed people). The main thing preventing me from buying something like that is the lack of a scroll wheel... many applications require one, including 3D modelling software, first person shooter video games, etc.


Thanks for the ideas!

With light sensors, do you mean that the fingers would normally cover them and when you lift them off the sensors they would detect that? That's pretty clever. Although you'd have to make sure that when your fingers are down, you're lined up and covering the sensor. Maybe the mouse could have indentations which guide your fingers to the right spots.

I'll bookmark that part for future reference.

I thought I was going to hate not having the scroll wheel but it turns out I don't mind much. The only game I've played recently is diablo 3 which doesn't need it, but 3d modeling was a PITA. Maybe I'll try the analog stick idea for version 2.

Thanks again!


Good as a functional prototype. Sensor placement would be tricky when moving towards production due to different hands and grips.


The biggest problem I foresee here is that there would be no tactile feedback -- it's essentially the inverse of using a touch screen! You wouldn't know whether your "lift-click" actually went through or not, whereas on a normal mouse you get that very satisfying physical click as feedback.

Can anyone think of a way to get around this issue? Very cool idea by the way.


Thanks Sherwin!

It's possible to use buttons that click like normal mice buttons for the same kind of tactile feedback. The prototype happens to use buttons that don't quite click just because I had them around, and it still feel fine because I can feel when the buttons have bottomed out.

Edit: I just realized you were responding to the touch solution. In which case, I agree! :-)


I wonder if this could be implemented with the existing Apple Magic Mouse? There are programs like BetterTouchTool which allow you to make additional gestures. How hard would it be to add additional click gestures?

Of course you still have no tactile feedback with this method.


Right. Still, an interesting possibility.

Thanks for the comment.


It'd definitely make it more expensive, but I think there'd be more resistance to adopting a mouse where you stick your hand in it.

Reminds me of the power glove: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AacoxHFYvZw


How would you feel about something shaped like the prototype? https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-CUDaxDwJyR0/UA1sdGipv4I/A...

Hehe.




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