Stiff-Soled Shoes And Ergonomic Mice
From time to time, City Ergonomics receives professional opinions on the DXT design and other ergonomic mice from those in the world of computer ergonomics. The following observations come from a qualified ergonomist in California:
The DXT Ergonomic Mouse is the least intrusive of the many input devices I have tested. By “least intrusive,” I mean that it:
Allows the most natural movement patterns of the hand/arm/body, and… does not mandate, prescribe, nor force a particular movement pattern or posture.
Lets use shoes as an example. Some shoes have a stiff sole. Stiff-soled shoes mandate that all foot movement take place at the ankle, and force more movement to occur there than would otherwise. Very little movement in the hindfoot, forefoot, or toes is allowed…[Certain other ergonomic mice] are all like stiff-soled shoes. They all mandate a particular posture or block movement in the fingers and wrist, both of which force excessive movement to occur elsewhere in the wrist, arm, shoulder, or body. While a stiff-soled shoe has its place, it also can create problems.
The DXT ergonomic mouse allows a balanced distribution of movement throughout the fingers, hand, wrist, and forearm as discussed in The Homunculus and Ergonomic Mouse Design. There is therefore less aberrant movement in the forearm and shoulder.
We really like the shoe analogy used here. If you’ve ever worn a heavy, stiff pair of industrial boots, you know exactly how it feels. You can still walk, and your feet are protected – but you’re not going to be running races or doing aerobics in that kind of footwear. It just doesn’t have the flexibility.
As mentioned, stiff-soled shoes are sometimes necessary for safety or other reasons. The same, however, cannot generally be said of hand-immobilizing ergonomic mice. There is no safety benefit to such designs; indeed, we contend that there is no benefit of any kind.
Your hand and arm together form a complex, well-designed system that should be left free to work on its own. Quite simply, your hand is not your foot and it doesn’t need a shoe. It only needs a tool that will stay out of the way and allow it to function naturally. The DXT ergonomic mouse is such a tool.