November 1, 2007
On the Other Hand
Humanscale’s ingenious Switch Mouse works equally well for lefties and righties.
Manuel Saez, of New York–based design firm Humanscale, has invented the Swiss Army knife of ergonomic computer accessories. His Switch Mouse (for both Macs and PCs) is versatile, compact, and—unlike most of its ergonomic brethren—doesn’t resemble a malformed joystick. (It actually looks nice.) Its symmetrical shape allows for both right- and left-hand use, and its body can be lengthened or shortened to suit most hand sizes. A patent-pending tilted base ensures that the user’s wrist rests at a healthy angle instead of the cramped position most users adopt. “People tend to anchor the wrist, grab the mouse with the pinky finger and the palm, and rotate side to side to move the cursor from left to right,” Argentine-born Saez explains. “That keeps a lot of pressure on the carpal-tunnel nerves. We extended the hand, eliminating that anchor point.” To reduce the risk of repetitive-motion injuries, a four-way navigation button replaces the usual scroll wheel on top.
The designer talks about the technical aspects of the Switch…