Choosing a mouse: what does the research say?
Our Swiftpoint GT mouse has been in the market for over 3 years now. In that time, we’ve received, and continue to receive, end-user testimonials, telling us the GT’s ergonomic and unique pen-like grip design is helping them resolve health issues associated with mouse over-use.
With the launch of our 3rd Generation ProPoint Ergonomic mouse, we thought it was timely to underpin those end-user testimonials with a blend of objective scientific and academic research to support that the GT and ProPoint’s ergonomic design and its pen-like grip does indeed offer a solution to managing and preventing musculoskeletal discomfort related to mouse over-use.
We’ve commissioned a White Paper from Ergonomist and Occupational Health Therapist, Nicola Green, MPhil(Hons);BA(Business Psych); Adv.Cert.Occ.Health Physio (UK): DipPhysio (Otago). Nicola is currently completing her PhD in Ergonomics.
The White Paper is, by its nature, technical. We summarise highlights here.
The White Paper considers likely factors of mouse use that contribute to discomfort, compares traditional, pronated mouse design with alternatives, and discusses if alternative designs can help to manage discomfort. Research has found that “prevalence and incidence of right forearm pain was independently related to intensive use of the mouse device” and that ”computer mouse time was associated with neck, forearm and wrist discomfort.” Not surprisingly, it also found that “Carpal tunnel syndrome…has been associated with prolonged mouse use” and that the research evidence is that “using a traditional (claw-grip) mouse can be associated with development of upper limb discomfort or disorders”.
The paper states that “the traditional (claw-grip) style of mouse is used with the forearm and hand fully pronated, held with fingers and thumbs, buttons depressed with fingers and moved mainly with wrist movements. Alternative mice (into which category both the GT and ProPoint fit) are used with less forearm pronation….in a pen-like position, using fingers and/or thumbs for button activation, and move mainly with whole arm movements” or with a neutral pronation hand position. Studies have found there is less ulnar deviation and less muscle load with a neutral pronation hand position compared to the traditional “claw grip”, with 5-10% less muscle load in hand muscles, and reduced bicep, forearm, shoulder and neck muscle activity when using a pen grip.
Although research on the pen-grip is limited (more likely than not because the GT and ProPoint are the only computer mice in the world with a true and unique pen-like grip), there is evidence that a mouse with “less pronation can influence recovery from musculoskeletal discomfort associated with mouse use, and that this reduction in discomfort is sustained”.
The research and evidence suggest:
- A traditional (claw grip) mouse design, which requires a fully pronated hand position, is a contributor to discomfort related to computer use.
- A pen-like mouse design, decreases pronation, ulnar deviation and muscle activity and, with less pronation, can reduce contact pressures.
- With alternative mice, pen-like designs appear to have better acceptance than vertical mice designs, and acceptance may be improved if the design aspects included the functionality of the traditional mouse e.g. buttons and scroll wheel. The GT and ProPoint both consider and incorporate these design features.
- Alternative mice (as opposed to traditional mice) offer potential to prevent and manage musculoskeletal discomfort related to mouse use.
Where to from here?
Swiftpoint proposes to submit the unique and patented design features of the Swiftpoint GT and ProPoint mice to further and more in-depth scientific and academic research to validate the inherent benefits of our design that both end-user feedback and this White Paper suggest. We’ll keep you informed when the outcome of this further research is available.
Chief Executive Officer
*“Disclaimer: The testimonials with this document are all bona fide, and represent feedback and views of current and past users of the Swiftpoint GT Ergonomic Mouse. Swiftpoint makes no current claims or representations that use of the Swiftpoint GT Ergonomic Mouse will prevent, cure or mitigate a medical condition, disease, pain or discomfort for everyone – even though it does indeed appear, from these unsolicited and subjective testimonials at least, to have been very beneficial for more than a few. The White Paper also confirms that the GT and ProPoint’s unique pen-like grip offers potential to prevent and manage discomfort associated with mouse overuse.
If you’re interested in our newest ergonomic mouse, watch the ProPoint overview video to learn more about its unique features and then preorder through the Kickstarter campaign:
If you would like to download the full research paper, please fill out the form below and we will follow up with you quickly with a link to download it.