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Input Devices Entertainment Games

Are Vertical Mice The Next Ergonomic Trend? 252

ThinSkin writes "Devoid of kookiness like many of its ergonomic counterparts, the VerticalMouse 2 is shaped like an ordinary mouse, only turned 90 degrees so that your arm is in a natural 'handshake position.' ExtremeTech's review of the VerticalMouse 2 suggests that its horsepower and familiar feel make it a worthy candidate to replace a horizontal mouse. Some of the drawbacks include its $75 price tag and difficulty to pick up in 3D gaming scenarios."
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Are Vertical Mice The Next Ergonomic Trend?

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  • by popra ( 879835 ) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @05:59PM (#14663845)
    ... yeeesss, this 'handshake position' seems very familiar somehow.
    Seriously though, might I suggest inventing a self cleaning keyboard/mousepad.
  • A step backward (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TripMaster Monkey ( 862126 ) * on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @05:59PM (#14663847)

    If you compare the design of the VerticalMouse 2 with the Quill Mouse [extremetech.com], you can see that they're virtually identical...with one important difference. The Quill Mouse is equipped with a shelf where the edge of your hand rests. The VerticalMouse 2 has no such shelf. Without a support for your hand, you'll have to support the weight of your hand by:
    • resting it in an abnormal position on top of the VerticalMouse 2, thereby completely negating the advantages of a vertically oriented mouse,
    • the use of your arm muscles, leading quickly to fatigue and muscle strain,
    • clinging to the vertical surface of the mouse with your fingers and/or thumb, again leading to fatigue and muscle strain.

    Now add to all this the discomfort the large-handed will suffer as the edge of their hands develop friction burns against their desktops.

    Any way you slice it, this product is a bad design and a non-starter. Save your money.
    • Now add to all this the discomfort the large-handed will suffer as the edge of their hands develop friction burns against their desktops.

      I am one of those large-handed people. In fact, my hands are so large that when holding my current mouse of choice - the basic logitech scroll mouse - that both the area behind my thumb AND the right side of my hand including the right side of my pinky are rubbing on the table when I mouse. Thus, this won't be any worse.

      • Try a mousemat with a wristrest. My hands are reasonably large, and I've found that if I get acceleration and sensitivity right I can reach my entire screen without needing to lift my wrist at all. Wish I could say the same for my keyboard, bloody RSI...
      • Re:A step backward (Score:3, Informative)

        by Bluesman ( 104513 )
        I had the same problem.

        You need this mouse. [tigerdirect.com]

        It's pretty large and high so it fills up large hands and keeps them off the table a bit.
    • Re:A step backward (Score:5, Informative)

      by Hays ( 409837 ) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @06:22PM (#14664057)
      I used an evoluent vertical mouse for months. Where did I rest my hand? On the mousepad. Maybe if you have small hands this is an issue?

      As it happens, the vertical mouse didn't seem to help at all with my RSI.
    • Re:A step backward (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jgc7 ( 910200 ) *
      Is it just me or am I the only person in the world who wrests their wrist on the mousepad and moves the mouse with my fingers. With this new mouse it looks like I would have to operate the mouse like a toddler and move my entire arm. The shelf design seems to only exacerbate the problem.
      • Yes, you are the only person to do so.
        Yes, the normal operation mode is not the bend around the wrist in all direction and ruining it, but rather use the whole lower arm for mouse operation.
        As therefor is no problem, this mouse design doenst exacerbate (is this a word?) it.
    • Re:A step backward (Score:3, Informative)

      by UVABlows ( 183953 )
      I have a quill mouse and it worked wonders for the pain in my wrist and forearm. I can't get linux to recognize clicking the scroll wheel though. It works in windows.

    • Having used a quill mouse I can say that it is one of the least comfortable computing experiences I've ever put myself through. I used to work for the company that made their website so they thought it was a good idea if we used their crappy mouses. Horrible devices all around. I for one don't tend to sit with my hands in a handshake position. Usually when I sit my hands rest palm downwards so that, to me, is the logical way to position my hand when using a computer while sitting.
    • The only problem with vertical mice is that you'll actually have to use your muscles more extensively to use it.

      With a horizontal mouse, you're only moving the mouse slightly (albeit unnaturally). With a horizontal mouse, you'll have to exert more energy to move the mouse (you're moving it against gravity at least half of the time).

      People are lazy, and as such they don't want a workout when they use computers. If they did, things like PowerGloves and the like would be more prolific.

      Who wants to hold their
    • That or your new gaming surface reduces the right side of your hand down to the bone by the end of your CS tourney.

      I dunno what's with all of this ergonomic input crap, I can't stand it. Of course I don't type the way you "should" so some keys just wouldn't be within reach anymore, but in any case I find that a normal keyboard is a much more natural position for my hands. Even just one-handed mice (Logitech MX700, etc) absolutely don't work with me... because unless the thing is custom-molded to your ha

  • by rueger ( 210566 ) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @05:59PM (#14663848) Homepage
    A main driver for this is the desire to reduce the risk or pain associated with carpal tunnel syndrome and other RSI disorders ... The idea is to allow your arm to control the mouse in a more natural position, with the thumb up, in a hand-shaking position. Doctors who specialize in ergonomics consider this position preferable.

    I have to ask, did anyone at ExtremeTech actually talk to a doctor who specializes in such things, or were these comments lifted from an Evoluent press release?

    The reality of RSI is just so, so much more complex than these simple solutions would suggest.

    Although how can you argue with a review like this [evoluent.com]:

    Gained all the votes in terms of comfort and facility of use, of "look", colour and sympathy: the panel as a whole totally adhered to this new product.
    • the panel as a whole totally adhered to this new product.

      (runs off to buy stock in a cyanoacrilate manufacturer)...

    • Carpal tunnel syndrome is usually associated with heavy use of the keyboard. It might be possible to archive the same syndrome with a mouse, but I don't know of any company looking for hardcore gamers right now (it's not like I wouldn't appreciate it).
      So in my opinion this is just marketing bs, because I can't think of any work related field involving the use of a mouse for 8 hours a day...
      • So in my opinion this is just marketing bs, because I can't think of any work related field involving the use of a mouse for 8 hours a day...

        Not much of a thinker, huh? I'm a "database manager" which really means that I write crystal reports, develop database-driven webcrap, and so on. I spend this time at my computer. I operate the computer with a keyboard and a mouse.

        Interestingly, when I worked at Cisco, you could walk around and see the programmer/engineers using their mouse pretty much all day

  • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) * on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @06:00PM (#14663854) Homepage Journal

    Ages ago I had a Gyration GyroMouse which totally kicked butt. With a mouse free from having to make contact with a horizontal surface, plus the fact I clicked with my thumb, rather than stressing my index finger, I found it to be a natural and easy feel. The only caveat was as the mouse remained in my palm the piezo-gyros would warm up a bit and the mouse would drift a little, but recalibration wasn't hard to do. $75 isn't an issue when you're talking about getting a superior mouse.

    Poo. I've got some real ideas on how a mouse really should work, which could allow hands to remain on the keyboard, but after seeing an idea of mine ripped right off of /. and for sale on ThinkGeek, you can guess why I won't post any of these ideas.

    and it makes toast, too!

    • There are some MEMS single-chip accelerometers out there that could be adapted to mouse use. Would make an interesting device.
    • I've got some real ideas on how a mouse really should work, which could allow hands to remain on the keyboard,

      http://www.fingerworks.com/ST_product.html [fingerworks.com]

    • I have one of these for my HTPC (ok a 900MHz/192MB/5 year old PVR) and you are exactly right. It allows you to use it at any angle and works perfectly for those who just need to move a bit every now and then to get comfortable. In fact, since the device easily resets when you use it there are no calibrations needed.

      Works great as a desktop mouse because of the featured optical eye and comes with a great recharging stand (I love the way the LED throbs as it is being charged!).

      I would just warn against leavin
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Care to tell us which idea they ripped off?
    • ...and 10 years from now, the exact same mouse design will STILL be the norm. Maybe it will use accelerometers and add a Windows Vista button, but bad designs never die once entrenched.

      I personally use a thumb trackball. I never run out of mouse pad, and I can set it at an angle on my leg or the armrest.
    • I've got one of those sitting around and never had a drift problem, so they may have fixed that. It was a lot of fun for FPS games since the view would follow my mouse rotation. Very direct. I don't use it anymore since I mostly use my laptop with built-in touchpad, but I liked it a lot when I did have need of a mouse.
  • by Andrew Aguecheek ( 767620 ) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @06:01PM (#14663857)
    Basically, no they're not. No more than we are ever going to drive our cars using joysticks or keyboards. People like what they're used to. This is a gimmick. Move along, nothing to see here.
    • This is a gimmick

      Tell that to the people suffering RSI [wikipedia.org]. I hear my girlfriend complain alot about pains, from her wrist to her neck since even though she just uses a PC about 2 hours a day compared to my +11hours for my work,research and entertainment. After working for hours, I often feel strained too much to handle a mouse. (I'm well adjusted to do most with the keyboard, but some interfaces force manipulated with a mouse.)

      I welcome all alternatives which eliminate that, PCs are not to be thought out of

  • Trackball (Score:5, Informative)

    by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @06:02PM (#14663871) Homepage
    Trackballs are the way to go. I don't know why we ever chose a mouse over a trackball. They are much easier, as you don't have to move your hand/arm all over the place. Only your fingers and thumb move. Since switching to a trackball, I have much less problems with wrist pain. Also, I find that trackballs are more accurate, and work greate for PC gaming, because you don't have to lift and reposition it every few seconds.
    • Re:Trackball (Score:3, Interesting)

      Trackballs are okay for some types of PC games, RTSs and RPGs in my experience, but for a fast paced FPS it seems just too hard to keep looking in all directions as well as aim accurately using just a thumb. In those situations a mouse gives you much finer control. You also still at some point have to reposition your thumb, when you spin the ball a full half turn.

      Now that I think about it, I suppose the sensitivity of a trackball could be adjusted so that a 'flick' of the thumb moves the player's viewpoint
      • I have a trackball with a ball at the top, and two buttons on either side of the trackball- left side of it is identical to the right side. While it is in fact lacking a scroll wheel (I kinda miss it...), after the month of adjustment my skill at FPSs actually improved. Left-clicking is done with the thumb, right-clicking with the ring finger, and moving the ball with the index and middle fingers.

        Of course, now my arm doesn't get any exercise at all... oh well.
    • Re:Trackball (Score:3, Informative)

      by Seraphim_72 ( 622457 )
      Amen to that brother.

      My personal choice is the MS Trackball Explorer [microsoft.com]. Wonderfull design, acurate optical and very nice drivers in MS (holy buckets does mouse button control in linux blow chow). As fate would have it they got discontinued. I snapped up 3 that I plan on slowly doleing out over the years even though my current 3 (2 at home, 1 at work) work great and have for years. I looked around quite a bit before I bought the three, but found nothing that came close to it's ergonomics, and abilities. And
    • I love my trackball too but a vertical Trackball might be pretty nice too, did a quick google search but wasnt able to find any. Is there such a device?
    • Mice allows you to interact with the desktop metaphor via your index finger. Trackballs do not permit this metaphor. But with that said, I can only use a trackball due to RSI and I swear by one inbetween (can use either hand) an IBM SelectEase.
    • Re:Trackball (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Feanturi ( 99866 )
      Actually, I'm totally the opposite and can't see how trackballs ever even got a chance. Personally, trackballs drive me completely insane. With a mouse, if I want to make a small movement and then have the pointer just sit there, I don't have to keep taking my hand off of the mouse, I just rest. With a trackball, I have to keep taking my finger or thumb off of it because, I don't know about you, but I haven't got 'surgeon's hands' that stay rock solid still while being suspended by their muscles. No I don't
    • I miss the old school trackballs that my dad had in the late 80's/early 90's with the huge balls in them. I remember pulling them out of the mice, and throwing the ball at his servers when I was little. They were great for KidPix.
  • I am hardly a trend setter. That said, I finally got disgusted with the equipment treadmill that gaming was putting me through and went 100% console for gaming. Sure, its not the same and sure, it took a while to get used to the console joysticks but now I wouldn't go back. As much as I will miss some types of games that are only possible with complex interfaces like what is possible with a mouse and keyboard, I am thankful I don't have to deal with video/sound card upgrades every year. Battlefield 2 is
  • by IceFox ( 18179 )
    You still move your wrist so it wont cut it unless there is a trackball for the thumb. I have contemplated slapping some wood on a logitech trackball to have it be upright similar to this mouse and seeing just how good it can be.
  • by Lispy ( 136512 ) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @06:06PM (#14663915) Homepage
    Get perpendiculahar [hitachigst.com]...
  • by jferris ( 908786 ) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @06:07PM (#14663921) Homepage
    $75 for the righty version. It is $105 for the lefty version. No wonder lefties are continually forced to conform to a right handed world. It was bad enough going to Catholic school, but I thought that the lefty-discrimination was over once I broke out...
    • Do you want some cheese to that whine?

      If you get the left/right handed ratio to 50:50, so that both items are produced and shipped in the same quantities, you can expect them to cost the same.
    • I'm afraid it's really just the economics than descrimination...

      Being partially left-handed has its advantages and disadvantages... although I personally have found it fairly easy to adapt to a right-handed world. I use right-handed mice, in particular.

      There is some very interesting information about left-handedness in its Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org].
  • by aardwolf64 ( 160070 ) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @06:11PM (#14663959) Homepage
    One of the major reasons that the standard mouse caught on is that a 2-year old child can understand the concept of reaching out and grabbing something. The traditional mouse layout mimics this behavior. This 90-degree rotated mouse is counter-intuitive to reaching out and grabbing...

    Long story short, you might like using this mouse but don't count on it ever replacing the current "horizontal" mouse for standard users.
    • Except that thumb-on-top is the natural position for you hand. It is the natural state of your hand and arm, and forcing them to remain in any other position is causing your muscles to work. If you pay attention, you naturally grab most things with your hand in this position.

      However, I do agree that a sideways mouse makes little sense at first glance. But I wonder if that has to with the fact that we are so used to the way they work. I would be interested to see how a two-year old child actually grabs a
  • ____-click? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by venomkid ( 624425 ) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @06:15PM (#14663993)
    So, if these take off, will we be top-clicking and bottom-clicking? Or maybe we'll renamed it index-clicking, middle-clicking and ring-clicking? Or maybe we'll just still call it left and right vestigially, sort of like the way we still click on 3.5 inch floppy icons to save files to other media...


  • I've owned a few vertical mice like this [3m.com], formerly known as "Dr. Mouse", now it's the "3M Renaissance" Mouse. I've had no complaints. Zero. They're fantastic. I'm using one right now. I got my friends hooked on them too.
  • by Hays ( 409837 ) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @06:19PM (#14664034)
    I have RSI problems in my hands and forearms and elbows. Not carpal tunnel syndrome- various inflammations that never seem to completely heal. Doctors have been little use, medical science doesn't seem to have caught up with RSI.

    Anyway I tried a vertical mouse (from evoluent) for several months. Eventually I started to find it uncomfortable and switched back to a normal mouse. I never found it to make much of a difference one way or another.

    I also use a Kinesis Essential keyboard, which I've also not found to make a big difference one way or another.
    • On a complete tangent: Have you tried using a trackball? Preferably one that has the ball under your thumb? You symptoms sound a lot like the ones I have from working 8+ hours on a computer for almost every day for 20 years, and the only thing that made them go away for 5 years was a Logitech Trackman. I recently started a new job and had to use a mouse for the first week which brought the pain back within a day or two. Finally got a trackball and it went away in a day.
  • No way (Score:3, Insightful)

    by squoozer ( 730327 ) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @06:21PM (#14664046)

    I could see a tilted mouse working but full on vertical is a non-starter I think. My guess would be that vertial is to steep for the vast majority of people. Shaking hands is something that one does breifly and therefore I am willing to move my body into a less than optimal position. I don't find shaking hands particularly comfortable therefore I don't think I would find shakign hands all day with a mouse comfortable. Anyway, the big problem I see is that the mouse will tend to move away as you click. This makes sense as it has nothing to push against. A hand rest would solve that at teh expense of making the device clunky.

  • by the_rajah ( 749499 ) * on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @06:26PM (#14664095) Homepage
    More than a hundred years ago telegraphers discovered that a key that moved side to side instead of up and down and that allowed the hand to be vertical instead of horizontal greatly reduced the incidence of the dreaded "glass arm". There have been and still are lots of keys produced that take advantage of this. For one of the prime examples, see the productes still offered by Vibroplex. [vibroplex.com]

  • I find that any RSI-type discomfort I feel has more to do with poor wrist cushioning, particularly if the mouse is too close to the desk edge and the desk edge puts sharp pressure on my inner wrist or arm.

    If you have wrist discomfort, be sure you're using a wrist pad to rule out that as a source of pressure.....

  • Ok, on the graphic example of the "twisted" arm, the hand holding the regular mouse, is twised WAY to far.
    (Link to graphic in the article here [ziffdavisinternet.com].)
    Also, it seems to me, holding the mouse in a 90 degree angle, like their many examples show, would stress my THUMB more than holding a regular mouse would stress my "twisted" arm..
    Try it yourself. Hold your arm like in their example, pretend like your holding the 90 degree mouse. Now move your wrist 90 degrees, as if you were going to hold a mouse. I'm not sure
  • Homer Simpson's Shoe (Score:2, Informative)

    by kleptonin ( 901871 )
    My girlfriend uses the VerticalMouse 2 (photo [ziffdavisinternet.com]) and it's come to be known in our circle of friends as "Homer Simpson's Shoe", mainly because of me constantly reminding her that it looked a bit like Homer Simpson's shoe. With some purple parts.

    In any case, after using it for a few months, the pains she had been experiencing in her arm from using a regular mouse are gone.
  • I can't believe no one has mentioned graphics tablets yet!
  • Like many of you I'm trying to prevent doing myself a permanent injury by mouse usage. I have a normal cordless mouse, a Logitech cordless trackman [compusa.com] trackball and a 3M ergonomic mouse [3m.com] (which is vertical but a better design than this thing I reckon). The 3M vertical mouse saved my wrist, but in recent months shoulder pain has started - there's a lot of repetitive shoulder movement with a vertical mouse. So I got the trackball, which is better, but a bit hard on the hand (the thumb in my case).

    I definitely rec
  • Not new (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Peregr1n ( 904456 )
    I used to sell these; maybe not this model, but this design has been around for at least five years. Good in theory - it eliminates the unnatural twisting of the hand - but in practice there's hardly a market for it.

    The companies that sell these (I know, I used to work for one) aren't actually aiming for the disabled-by-RSI market - in practice, there's very few people who actually HAVE disabling computer related RSI, and those that do usually just cut down on the intensity of their computer use - who they
  • I recently tried over $500 in pointing devices to help with carpal tunnel from playing internet poker and I'm settled on the evoluent mouse. Here are some criticisms of other alternatives:

    3M Mouse: Has no scroll wheel. That makes this mouse completely useless to me.

    Quill Mouse: The "shelf" is made of hard plastic. I much prefer using huge soft mousepads and resting my hands on those.

    Trackball: Fine for normal use, impossible to play 10 tables of poker with.

    Air/Gyration mice: Fun for a few
    • A *good* trackball is a very precise input device. I can use my trackball to play FPS games without any frustration. I recommend the Kensington Expert Mouse (and ONLY the Kensington Expert Mouse). The large ball enables you to use it from many different angles, almost entirely eliminating any repetitive motion. The best solution for me was not to find the One Best Position(TM), but to find something that offered many so I could switch up at the first sign of fatigue.
  • I bought one of these:
    http://www.monstergecko.com/products.html [monstergecko.com]

    Great mouse, and cheap too at $20. An added bonus is it frightens those who think like small children.

  • I already use my regular mouse with my hand vertical, my index finger drapes across the mouse to the button. This mouse would presumably make it more comfortable. I'm tired though of paying through the nose for hardware that is designed ergonomically. To try out all the interesting ideas would cost thousands. I wish there was some organisation which tested out all the neat ideas and then went to Dell and IBM etc and told them to make it mainstream.
  • by dindi ( 78034 ) on Tuesday February 07, 2006 @07:03PM (#14664446)
    If you thought it was easy enough to move that mouse just a notch, before putting that dot, connecting that poly, etc .... with a normal mouse, your problems will multiply with that.

    I am not a CAD worker nor a GFX designer, but mice annoy the hell out of me enough. I personally have a trackball, one that is an old Logi design, and that pointer has a approx 35 degree button surface, so the idea is not entirely new.
    I actually beleive, that an angle smaller than 90 is more appropriate and a more natural rest.

    But hey, what does that matter? I type all day on the console :) and when not - I use a trackball ...

    summary: I think it is a really retarded design
  • ...the vertical bacon sandwich.

  • Maybe it's because I've been using traditional computer keyboards and mice for 20+ years, of maybe it's because I've been playing drums for 15+ years, but to me the "wrists flat" position for my forearms seems a lot more natural than the "handshake" position.

    I mean, the human body wasn't designed for holding our forearms out parallel to the floor for long periods, anyway -- so what difference does the rotational position of the arm make?
  • I, for one, welcome our new bipedal overlords...

    Oh! New hardware. I didn't read TFA.

    Still, though, I'm equally submissive to my keyboard and mouse at work for eight hours a day, so it might not be much of a change.

  • OK, so, combining a "Power Glove (Nintendo)"-like device and this vertical mousing device should produce the greatest peripheral known to mankind. Thud your hand down on the mousepad and drag it around to point. Twitch fingers to click. Flick thumb across wheel in palm to scroll.
  • why not a mousepad with an adjustable sideways slope? it would do the same thing but with 'normal' mice. First to the patent office, wins the prize.
  • I've got one (Score:3, Informative)

    by taradfong ( 311185 ) * on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @03:56PM (#14672081) Homepage Journal
    Took a week or two to get used to it. The trickiest thing is that when you click, you are exerting force horizontally, not vertically like a normal mouse. With a normal mouse, the table resists the force. But with the vertical mouse, you have to train yourself to counter this force with your thumb. I don't even think about it now.

    The software is also somewhat crunky and I suspect it was causing BSODs, but it works reasonably well with the standard Microsoft mouse stuff.

    I'm glad I got it and I like using it. I was getting strain from most mice save the cheapo low profile Compaq one I had laying around. Mice are so thick these days, forcing you to arch your hands.

    But it has not had anywhere near the impact on life that I got by switching to the Kinesis keyboard.

Can anyone remember when the times were not hard, and money not scarce?