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Input Devices

Is Horse the New Mouse? 349

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the kinda-doubt-it dept.
lopati writes "Europhysics News writes about a new ergonomical mouse called Horse (jpeg) that reduces repetitive stress injuries by allowing 'the three middle fingers to adopt a flexed position to relax the tendons' and including a thumb scrool [sic:] wheel. Just a few simple changes for so much more comfort!"
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Is Horse the New Mouse?

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  • by CtrlPhreak (226872) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @02:12PM (#11859392) Homepage
    This is something I've known for a long time, when I put my three middle fingers into my horse it relaxes me a lot too, let alone the horse. Including a thumb every once in a while is a simple change that gives so much more comfort.
  • Mirror (Score:5, Informative)

    by betaguy9000 (863878) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @02:14PM (#11859403)
    Mirror here [nyud.net].
  • Dodgy (Score:5, Funny)

    by m50d (797211) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @02:15PM (#11859416) Homepage Journal
    If you think I'm clicking a link to "Horse.jpg"...
  • by Gunsmithy (554829) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @02:15PM (#11859421) Homepage
    ...would it be beating a dead horse? I'm here all week, ladies and gentlemen. Don't forget to tip the wait staff.
  • It's slashdotted, so I can't tell, but I use a Microsoft Trackball Explorer [microsoft.com], which is very comfortable for me.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I use a drawing tablet..

      Man i can OWN you on Unreal Tournament!! Take that!!! *scribble* *erase*
    • I switched to trackballs for this reason too. This mouse might help, but quite frankly, there is nothing that can still beat a good trackball.
      • I used to LOVE this one...
        Link to eBay [ebay.com].

        This is one of the most ergonomic pointing devices that I have ever used. It is sort of like a trackball, and it uses your fingertips. But you can use your thumb too, if you want to. Lots of buttons.

        Tragicly, Logitech stopped making them. They are PS/2 (no USB), and are not detected as a scroll mouse from Linux. Very comfortable, though.

        And they were optical before optical was cool.
    • There's 2 main kinds of trackballs: the ones with a ball at your fingertips, and the one with the ball at your thumb.

      I CANNOT stand the fingertip ones like you're using, and I've tried several models. I have yet to see anyone like them.

      I love the ones where you use your thumb. It's millions of times more useable. And I have lots of friends, family members and co-workers using those. At least a 50 to nothing ratio.

      But if you use them a lot (I got 4 trackballs at home, and 2 at work), eventually you get st
  • Not a horse (Score:2, Funny)

    by moofdaddy (570503) *
    That's not a horse, its just a fat mouse. Maybe a pony at the most...
  • by murderlegendre (776042) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @02:17PM (#11859433)
    Of course, of course.. unless, of course it's a mouse; in which case it's actually neither.
  • by Saven Marek (739395) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @02:17PM (#11859435)
    This is an option for some people but not others. In the late 1980s I used a device with a thumbwheel much the same and man a scroll thumbwheel after 5 minutes is hell on tendons more so than any other mouse I used.

    But I can use a normal mouse all day long and not have a problem and have been doing so for years now.

    So your mileage may vary.
    • I do the same (normal mouse for years without problems). The worst devices regarding wrist-problems are hand-writing ones, I have to use them once every six months for exams and I my hand and wrist ache like hell after the exam-season (and after writing 90 minutes or so of the usually 2 hour exams).
  • New hardware (Score:2, Interesting)

    by clean_stoner (759658)
    Various companies are always coming out with new hardware designs that they claim will revolutionize how we interface with computers, like those split keyboards, and that keyboard that looked like a video game controller, etc but none of them ever pan out. This will be no different.
    • Re:New hardware (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Alric (58756) <slashdot@tenh u n d f e ld.org> on Sunday March 06, 2005 @03:11PM (#11859787) Homepage Journal
      I don't think the split keyboards were meant to "revolutionize" the human interface with computers. They were introduced as a means to reduce stress on wrists.

      I love my split keyboard, and the majority of my MS-oriented professional developer friends all use the split keyboard as well. I was having some my wrist fatigue a couple years ago, but it has disappeared since switching to the more ergonomic keyboard. I'm sure they're not good for everyone, but I am extremely grateful that somebody produces them.

      Regarding your main point, slightly improved keyboards and mouses are never going to revolutionize anything. For a revolution, an entirely new input device will be needed.
      • Re:New hardware (Score:4, Interesting)

        by evilviper (135110) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @07:30PM (#11861408) Journal
        I was having some my wrist fatigue a couple years ago, but it has disappeared since switching to the more ergonomic keyboard. I'm sure they're not good for everyone, but I am extremely grateful that somebody produces them.

        I have to suspect the reduction in fatigue is due to a placebo effect. The split keyboards really put more stress on your wrists in most cases, and they are usually more inclined than a typical keyboard, which is the exact opposite of what you want to reduce stress. Perhaps it's not placebo, perhaps you've started using something else about the same time, such as an elevated wrist wrest, which was the real cause of the stress reduction.

        There are REAL ergonomic keyboards out there, and they aren't of the split MS variety...
  • Hmm. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 06, 2005 @02:19PM (#11859444)
    I assume they must have put at least a certain amount of research into the ergonomics of it, but I can't see how that would be comfortable to use -- particularly for someone who has bone or joint ailments like arthritis. Having your hand contorted over something that size seems like it'd probably be a little painful at best.
    • Re:Hmm. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gl4ss (559668)
      well.. they couldn't have come up with something that looks like the mouse you already got, right?

      and they couldn't have come up with something that tilted your hand either because that had been done.

      seriously though, whats wrong with resting your hand over your current mouse?
    • Re:Hmm. (Score:2, Funny)

      by MamiyaOtaru (517187)
      I can see the reasoning behind it. Normally you have to work ( a small amount) to keep your fingers extended so you aren't constantly pressing the buttons. A regular mouse serves to keep me awake.. When I nod off, my fingers relax and I click, and the noise usually brings me back. With this horse, that wouldn't be a problem.
  • Stupid article... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 06, 2005 @02:19PM (#11859446)
    This will never catch on, especially on public computers. What about lefties? This thing doesn't look like it can be used properly with either hand at all.
    • I kinda blame the bad angle of the picture.

      Try to imagine it from another angle and try virtually putting your hand on it. I think it could work.

      I don't think they would be that stupid to design something you cannot use. Especially if usefulness and comfort was their main goal.
    • Re:Stupid article... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      My Logitech ergonomic mouse can't be used by lefties either.

      What was your point again?
    • by iantri (687643)
      I'm left handed.

      I've never met one left handed person (myself included) who uses the mouse in their left hand.

      It is just too much of a pain to use someone elses' computer.

      I'm sure people who use their mouse in their left hand exist, but they must be rare..

      • Re:Stupid article... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by CastrTroy (595695)
        I'm right handed, and I use the mouse on my left hand. Is started this with my first computer because the way it was set up, there was no room for the mouse on the right. It's stuck with me ever since. Putting your mouse on the left allows your right hand to have access to the keyboard, which is the part that requires more precision.
      • Re:Stupid article... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Dracos (107777)

        I'm left handed, and use my mouse with my left hand, even going so far as to reverse the buttons (which is easier than making a hand cursor showing an obscene gesture).

        I can use other people's computers reasonably well, but anyone who tries to use mine invariably pulls the mouse to the right side of the keyboard, then gives up after 10 seconds of making the context menu appear wherever they click.

  • by venomkid (624425) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @02:23PM (#11859475)
    I can (and do) grip my logitech MX1000 [logitech.com] in a way that looks like what they're trying to accomplish... Fingers bent a bit, hand relaxed over the top arch. Its buttons extend quite far along the body of the mouse, it's very comfortable.
    • I can (and do) grip my logitech MX1000 in a way that looks like what they're trying to accomplish... Fingers bent a bit, hand relaxed over the top arch. Its buttons extend quite far along the body of the mouse, it's very comfortable.

      Funny enough, this sort of comfortable 'loose grip' on the mouse is great in FPS games. You'd be surprised the amount of control gained from the standard and limiting flopping the hand on the mouse. It works well enough for me with my mx510 and mx700.
      • But don't try playing games with a MX1000 (which I happen to own and am very happy with).
    • by Jameth (664111)
      Not really. The Logitech MX-1000 does try to get the fingers slightly further forward, but it undermines that same goal by leaving the scroll-wheel and thumb-groove back so that if the hand is as far forward as the buttons allow, the scroll-wheel is awkward and the thumb-buttons are misplaced.

      By contrast, the horse appears to have changed the thumb-groove so its more of a shelf, giving more support and allowing the hand to rest at most any point along it. Also, the image implies that the scroll wheel may b
    • Been doing that for decades, now.

      My palm never actually touches the mouse, except my Wingman, which has that big bump in the back, and then only when I pull it down.

      I've never had any sort of hand problems despite 8-60 hours of daily use of mouse-equipped computers.
    • AUGH. From the page you linked...

      Wheel tilts for side-to-side scrolling, Cruise Control(TM) rocker for speed-scrolling up and down, and zoom with a click of the wheel

      They've put four buttons around the wheel like a Nintendo Gamepad. Great idea, but then... who needs the wheel? Give me one of those without the wheel (or with a trackpoint controller that works the same way).

      Ironically, Logitech did a half-assed implementation of a better way to scroll with the mouse. They had a program that let you use t
  • How long... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Snommis (861843) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @02:23PM (#11859476) Homepage
    ...until we find out what type of repetitive stress injury THIS causes? Face it, do something enough times, and it can cause problems.

    Maybe we need a Horse, a mouse and a trackball each, then rotate them once a week...

  • But, Doctor Evil... (Score:5, Informative)

    by argent (18001) <peter@slashdot.2 ... m ['nga' in gap]> on Sunday March 06, 2005 @02:23PM (#11859478) Homepage Journal
    that [fentek-ind.com] already [quillmouse.com] happened [evoluent.com] ! [thehumansolution.com]
  • by eviltypeguy (521224) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @02:24PM (#11859480)
    The world is full of right handed biased designers! Evil! Where's my left handed version? Don't you people know that your biased right hand designs make only a few of us left? (pun intended).
    • I'm a right hander, but I mouse with my left hand. Here are a few advantages I've found:
      • The mouse is closer to the active typing space of a keyboard.
      • The more dexterous hand is on the keyboard; mousing requires much less finger precision. Consequently, more efficient simultaneous use.
      • It also allows use of the numpad and mouse simutaneously as well without moving the keyboard way off center or trying to find a reversed keyboard - or a separate numpad.

        Great if you need to enter lots of numbers.
  • by PxM (855264) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @02:24PM (#11859482)
    When you use a mouse, do you have your forearm at an angle to the mouse with your index finger on the left button (assuming right-handedness), your middle finger on the right button, and your ring finger on the "forward" button on 5-button mice? I've found that having my forearm parallel to the mouse with my middle finger on the scroll, my ring finger on the right mouse button, and my pinky on the forward button reduces the stress on my wrist since my wrist is no longer twisted at an odd angle. I was wondering if anyone else did this too.

    --
    Free iPod? Try a free Mac Mini [freeminimacs.com]
    Or a free Nintendo DS [freegamingsystems.com]
    Wired article as proof [wired.com]
    • Almost, but the opposite way. I rotate my hand so my index finger is on the right mouse button, and the rest of my fingers are curled around the side of the mouse. I then move my fingers as necessary when I have to click, but for mouse movement I prefer my hand in the above configuration.
      • Close but I think mine is more ergonomic. I rotate my hand further so my ring finger is on the left mouse button, index on the scrollwheel and thumb on the right button. Might sound wierd at first but it's a very comfortable setup for long coding sessions esp. when used in comb. with the logitech foot pedal (shift/alt/meta) and MS Nose Explorer (numpad + meta-keys at your nosetip).
  • What is so new? (Score:5, Informative)

    by houghi (78078) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @02:27PM (#11859503)
    For me it just looks like a trackman that you move around. If you want to talk about really new things compared to the mouse, take a look at the Ergonomic Vertical Mouse [keytools-e...mics.co.uk] That one is realy inovative compared to the old mouse. Or any of the other mice on that site. Want something REALLY new? Thy this one [keytools-e...mics.co.uk]
    • Re:What is so new? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Speare (84249)
      A co-worker has to use that piece of junk. It's not a joystick, it slides around the desktop just like a mouse. Except you have to hold your hand vertically. And the buttons suck. This takes all the fine control out of your hand (where it causes problems for some people) and into your elbow and shoulder. If you want to know what it's like to pick small menu items with this poor excuse for an electronic dildo, try doing calligraphy with your shoulders.
  • Help with (Score:4, Interesting)

    by saitoh (589746) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @02:30PM (#11859519) Homepage
    Since it causes the hand to be in a more downward (as opposed to a straighter possition) if you can find a spare baseball or rubber band ball it gives you a good idea of what this would feel like to use. I happen to have a rubber band ball from a conference I went to in September handy and noticed the similarity when looking at the pic.

    Personally, I kind of like it, I can kind of tell the difference with the tendons, but I'm not sure how well it would react in uses where your moving your hand a lot now that the center of where your pressing on the input device (no longer can you just call it a mouse...) seems to be more toward the wrist, so forward or side to side movements would require more effort or at least leverage. Would be interesting to try it out though.
    • I've been looking for a thumb-wheeled mouse for a while now, so this looks interesting. The thumb seems to be a lot better adapted for... well, rotating little wheels. I'm not sure about the rest of the design, but I'll probably give it a test drive if/when it ever reaches market.
      • I've been looking for a thumb-wheeled mouse for a while now, so this looks interesting.

        So have I. Mostly because I use the middle button. A lot. So I detest wheel mice that have a half sized middle button with a wheel on it. Sadly, this new mouse screws up a good idea by only having two normal buttons. Sigh. I have a feeling that when the time comes that apps start requiring the use of a wheel, I'm going to have to mutilate my existing Logitech Pilot mice to add a thumb wheel, just so I can get something

  • by AtariAmarok (451306) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @02:33PM (#11859541)
    "'the three middle fingers to adopt a flexed position to relax the tendons' "

    Why not a special version for Slashdot moderators which allows just the one middle finger to be used for moderation?

  • by icypyr0 (636724) <icypyro@@@wi...rr...com> on Sunday March 06, 2005 @02:36PM (#11859564)
    horsies?
  • by Opus01 (863572) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @02:38PM (#11859577)
    I've been using this for more than a year now. Love it. Solved my wrist pain almost immediately. The Vertical Mouse http://www.evoluent.com/
  • One thing that manufacturers overlook is that not everyone has the same size hands.

    I have fairly large hands (the original X-Box controller fit me nicely), and these form-fit mouses just don't work. I use Logitech's original optical scroll mouse and I move it around with my fingers, barely moving my wrist at all. I actually prefer this to moving my whole arm.
    • I tend to agree that this is a problem with form-fit mice... me, I hold the mouse with my fingertips and thumb anyway... but...

      You might try the Perfit mouse [contourdesign.com], it comes in 7 different sizes...
  • From the looks of the picture, it should be called the "Beluga (Whale) Mouse"!

    I'm forced to wonder, however, why there is such a focus put on mice and not trackballs. Every person that I've ever convinced to switch to a trackball has said that they'll never go back to mice again. It offers finer control than most mice and doesn't need any desk space except where it sits.

    Then again, Windows, like a mouse (not the live kind), is cluttered, unrefined, requires a lot of room, and can be a pain in places
    • Every person that I've ever convinced to switch to a trackball has said that they'll never go back to mice again.

      I've tried half a dozen trackballs and I've always gone back to a mouse.

      Trackballs hurt me... they require more precision than I'm easily capable of. They don't seem to want to stay put, so I'm forever chasing the pointer around the screen.
      • Fair enough. I wasn't trying to imply that a trackball should be used by everyone. There are obviously reasons, such as yours, why mice are preferred.

        I just don't understand why there seem to be a bazillion mice (most of which are pretty much the same anyway) for each model of trackball that's out there. Oh, well.

        I understand what you're saying, though. I have large hands, and the only trackball that I could find at the time that would fit is the *ugh* Microsoft Trackball Optical. Believe me, I h
        • I just don't understand why there seem to be a bazillion mice (most of which are pretty much the same anyway) for each model of trackball that's out there.

          That's OK, I can't understand why every time I get to the store there's a bunch of different kinds of trackballs and half a dozen variants of the Microsoft Optical Wheel Mouse and *zero* three-button mice. No, a wheel mouse that lets you click the wheel isn't a three button mouse... it's a two-button mouse with a wheel.

          What I really want is a mouse wit
  • so I prefer to call it a rat.
  • I always prefer a trakball. It doesn't need extra deskspace, it's faster and more accurate, its stationary base doesn't require wireless for freedom from entanglement. Its buttons are isolated from its cursor-movement, so clicking doesn't change position. And the fingerflicks don't torture my hand, as manipulations are hardly ever repeated exactly, even during long sessions. Of course, I'd prefer a simple pen interface, but that would really only work with a new GUI paradigm, like executable flowcharts, and
  • by theLOUDroom (556455) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @03:07PM (#11859766)
    Personally, I find the problem has almost nothing to do with the shape of my mouse.

    The most fatiguing aspect my own mousing is wrist-related. While you're using a mouse, your arm is just sort of hanging out there, putting a lot of stress on your wrist.
    Think about it, in order to use your mouse, you MUST hold your elbow above the desk the whole time.

    Some work has been done to alleviate wrist strain by adding those gel wrist pads, but I think what we really need to see is another pad further back to support your forearm.

    The actual standard mouse shape itself is pretty good.
    Try this:
    Put your hand on your mouse.
    Allow it to rotate to a comfortable angle. (For me about 10 deg CCW.)
    Freeze your hand and wrist in that position, lift your hand up and look at it.

    For me, the result is a very natural even spacing between all my fingers, almost the same you would see if let your arm go limp at your side.

    IMO, workstations need more forearm support, not a different-shaped mouse. Take writing for example, you typically rest not just your wrist, but your whole arm on the paper as you write.
    • *While you're using a mouse, your arm is just sort of hanging out there, putting a lot of stress on your wrist.
      Think about it, in order to use your mouse, you MUST hold your elbow above the desk the whole time.*

      well.. actually.. you don't.

      i always use the mouse with the elbow supported on the chair OR the mouse far enough on the table that my whole hand from elbow forwards can lay on the table. i use quite high mouse responsiviness so small movements of the wrist is all it takes. so if i'm not actually mo
    • I agree that mouse ergonomics needs work.

      Recently, I started having to use a Mac on a very small table where there was no room to put the mouse to the side of the keyboard. The mouse was bluetooth enabled so I started putting it between my chest and keyboard.

      Though I set the mouse up headed vertically at 12:00 on the desk, I found that after a week of use the mouse was aimed at 10:00 and looked almost horizontal. My mouse finger was aimed at 11:00 or so. Yet despite the odd position, it was very nice to b
  • So when will Apple come out with their 1-button horse?
  • http://www.3m.com/cws/renmouse.html
    http://www.3m.com/cws/renmouse.html [3m.com]

    My wrist soreness disappeared in a week using this. Everyonei know who had wrist problems had them go away after using this. Get one, and try it for aweek to get used to it. I will never buy a normal mouse again.
  • I have been using one of these [powerbookcentral.com] for well over a year.

    Coupled with USB Overdrive [usboverdrive.com] (Sorry, Mac only!) this is the best mouse I've ever used. Good luck finding one in North America, though.

    I keep my hand straight and rest my arm on the desktop. The mousepad [thinkgeek.com] I use raises the mouse just enough so that I can rest my wrist on the pad and move the mouse with my fingers and a minimum of wrist/arm movement.

    I've rotated the pad 90 degrees, so that the "top" is now one of the "sides". This give me more than enou
  • An ordinary three button optical mouse is best. Combining buttons 4 and 5 with 3 (scrollwheel) is the most significant development ever for the lowly mouse. I can type hours after I'm unable to click. A keyboard with an integrated trackball might be better still. (Who makes one?) Use the useles meta-keys ("Windows keys", "penguin keys", "apple keys", etc.) Possibly toggle the trackball to be a scrollwheel with a simple key combination or with another useless key, like "CapsLock". Since I don't have such a k

  • I distinctly remember seeing similar computer mouse in the early 90s. Pretty sure that one was made by Philips and probably Logitech too.

  • hmm (Score:2, Funny)

    by pureone (850367)
    lets hope its not made by microsoft other wise it will become a trojan horse :o

    someone had to say it didnt they?

  • more [ergocube.com] weird [ergocube.com] mice! [ergocube.com]
  • It looks like one of the cute little ghosts from the old Super Mario 64.
  • That's not a horse, its a DUCK! [nyud.net]
  • I made the switch over to a trackball a couple years back, and I never want to use a mouse again. Not only does it provide much more precision, I find that it's more automatic to keep your hand in a more erogonomic position, because you aren't moving it around all the time. It's also a big advantage if you happen to have a small or messy desk, because it requires much less space to operate. I also find that I have to clean it much less, and don't have to worry about what surface I'm using the mouse on.
  • My Kensington Expert Mouse [kensington.com] does this somewhat already.

    It's a large trackball (the size of a billiard ball), and your three middle fingers do curve over it to reach the buttons during normal use. It does have a thumb scrollwheel, going around the circumference of the trackball! This is a very handy feature, and lets you dial through pages extremely fast (faster than you could wiggle your middle finger using an ordinary mouse wheel). It's optical, so it's precise and doesn't have the sticky-wheels problem older trackballs used to have.

    Disadvantages:

    * No place to rest a wrist (the provided wrist rest is a small little joke). A folded-up old sock fixes this.

    * Dodgy Windows driver [kensington.com]. (It's marked as "beta", but really is the only choice, since the officially released driver is absolutely ancient.) It really hates my switchbox, and doesn't have any way of regaining synchronization short of rebooting the machine. Works fine in Linux, though, but all the buttons aren't recognized (there are 4 buttons).

    * The trackball doesn't track fast enough when rolled at high speed, making it useless for certain applications [klov.com].

    Still, I like it because it does fit my fingers better, and has some of the advantages of this new "horse" mouse.

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