This is part 7 of a series on RSI. Here, I’ll recommend that you consider vertical mouse alternatives.
(In my last two posts, I talked about Trackballs and Graphics Tablets.)

Move To Vertical Mouse Alternatives

The tablet and trackball combination kept me going for a good while, but recently I went through another stage of having trouble in my hands and arms.
vertical mouse - ergonomic mouse alternatives
Thankfully, the company where I work has been very supportive and got an Occupational Health Nurse (OHN) to come in to look at my setup.
Incidentally, having a proper setup and regular work station assessments are legal requirements for computer workers in the UK!*
The first thing the OHN did was take a good look at my posture. Having read up on this in the past, I thought I was doing the right thing, but she corrected several issues immediately, and got the company to buy me a new chair.
I’ll talk about the importance of posture in another post but for the moment, take a look at the vertical mouse she recommended to me:

 

Molten Vertical Mouse Alternatives

“That’s the weirdest looking mouse I’ve ever seen!”
“It’s melted!”
These were just two of the comments I got when my vertical mouse first arrived. However, once that was out of the way I plugged it in and was immediately impressed by how comfortable it was. I didn’t find any kind of learning curve with it, but that may be because I am already used to different kinds of controllers.
I will post a separate review of this device (hint: I think it is fantastic and very well thought out), but the main thing that they advertise is that is puts your arm in a more natural position. See Evoluent.com for details of the mouse and what they call the “handshake grip”.
There are multiple, programmable buttons and a scroll wheel which all seem to be positioned at the perfect place for your hand to fit like a glove.

Vertical Mouse Drivers

You will need to install the drivers for your vertical mouse in order to program the buttons. These are easy to install although oddly, they come on a mini-disk in the box. I’ve never had a machine capable of reading a mini-disk, but you can download the drivers from their website anyway.
The default configuration is for the middle button to perform a double-click with your middle finger, while the third button (operated by your third and/or fourth finger) is for right-clicks.
I thought this was very odd at first and promptly switched them over with the easy to use interface. However, I switched them back again within a day as I found that my third and fourth fingers were aching!
Double-clicks are far more common than I would have expected, so they really have thought of everything.

Gotta Hand It To My Vertical Mouse

“Any downsides?”, I hear you ask.
Well, it’s expensive for a mouse, but then one could argue what price is your health?
It’s “handed”: you can get left handed or right handed versions so no swapping between them ..unless you buy one for each hand!
It uses your arm, similar to a normal mouse, so it may not be suitable if your pain is primarily in your arm and/or neck.
I still occasionally get aches in my arms/shoulders/neck, but overall I have found this mouse has done more than any other to reduce the problems I had.
Currently, I have a left handed vertical mouse and still retain my trackball to the right hand side of my keyboard. At some point, I may see if I can get a right-handed vertical mouse to complete the set!
That wraps it up for now. Next time, I’ll be looking at the importance of posture.
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