Saturday, January 19, 2008

The new mouse?

Trackbar replacement for mouse helps RSI ...

"... When you think about it, he said, today’s personal computers barely resemble the first products that were introduced in the 1980s. “Everything has changed,” Sjoeblom said, “except the mouse.”

Sjoeblum said the method we’ve all become accustomed to — the right-hand swivel of that little rounded thing — takes its toll on frequent users, those who use a computer more than five hours a day. “Prolonged use of conventional mouse leads to everything from carpal tunnel syndrome to migraine headaches,” he said. “In Sweden we call it ‘mouse arm syndrome.’”

Rather than using one hand repetitively, he said, “you should have your hands in the center.”

... The device, little known in the U.S., has become widely used in Europe, particularly in health-conscious Sweden. Sjoeblom and his family use the Trackbar at home, and he said, his children now find the old mouse cumbersome when they use computers at school.

The Trackbar, about 12 inches by 4 inches, fits in front of a key board and is controlled by both hands using a rollbar. It takes some getting used to, Sjoeblom said, and several Register staffers who tried it, said it initially slowed them down.

“Users find it uncomfortable at first,” he said, “but studies show it takes three days to change a habit. After a month you don’t want to get rid of it.”

Sjoeblom said he developed the device using a “benchmark” of doctors from 21 universities in 19 countries, who provide feedback. “When I have their comments I know how it should be,” he said. The sleek design comes from an industrial designer in Silicon Valley, and the newest model is available in a range of colors.

Right now Sjoeblom said the greatest fans of the device are “reactive” users who are suffering pain and “will do anything to get away from it.”

He said, “I get hundreds of e-mails and phone calls from people who were in pain, and after using this device for weeks, the pain is gone and they think it’s magic, but it’s just this simple change.”

Sjoeblom’s goal is now to reach “proactive” users — to get people to try the trackbar before they’re in pain. “The awareness is not here yet,” he said."    (Continued via Napa Valley Register)    [Ergonomics Resources]

The Trackbar - Ergonomics

The Trackbar

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