A Vertical Device
Based in the Netherlands, Bakker Elkhuizen is a company that specialises in the development of high-end and ergonomic hard and software solutions designed to help users adopt a more positive proper working condition for their general environment. As a result the Handshake Mouse has been designed to help compensate for issues such as unnatural posture practices which can bring about the development of wrist and lower arm problems that can occur through Repetitive Stress Injury (RSI). The results of this development can be seen with the approach adopted by the Handshake Mouse under review.
The Handshake Mouse has been designed for small and medium sized hands, up to 7.5cm in width (not including the thumb). My hands just qualified with regards to size. The mouse itself has dimensions of 68 x 70 x 120 mm (W x H x D) and weighs 147g. In order to ensure that the mouse is positioned relatively close to the body, it is of the tethered variety with a lead, connecting to a spare USB port, measuring 165 cm. The closer the mouse is positioned with regards to the body, the less taxing, it is claimed, it will be for the neck and shoulders of the user.
Bakker Elkhuizen has classified the Handshake Mouse as a vertical device. At a first glance the Handshake Mouse looks like a traditional combination of a laser powered unit with two buttons and wheeled arrangement but appearances can be deceptive. The silver mounted buttons and scroll wheel are not positioned, as you might expect, on the top of the mouse’s black body. Instead these elements are located on the right side of the mouse. The clue for this 90 degree turn in the alignment of the mouse is the flat base surface. This houses the laser beam and a small recessed button for changing between the four supported cursor speeds DPIs of 400, 800, 1600 and 3200 settings.
While the initial positioning of the Handshake Mouse might seem a little odd and awkward, especially to those who have been brought up using a standard mouse, I was surprised as to how easy the transition felt. The right-sided location of the two buttons and scroll wheel arrangement does mean that this particular pointing device is being aimed at the right-handed user, which does include me. With a depressed area on the left side of the mouse for placing my right thumb, three of my fingers rested comfortably on the grooved left and right mouse buttons plus centrally positioned scroll wheel for controlling this pointing device.
These are exactly the same fingers I would be using when operating a traditional style mouse. While the used fingers were the same, it was noticeable that my hand was positioned at a slightly different angle. Rather than the horizontal level positioning, my right hand was inclined at approximately 135 degrees from the upright. According to Bakker Elkhuizen, the research behind the Handshake Mouse indicates that using this type of device should mean that the wrist does not bend sideways too much and the lower arm needs less activity.
As yet, possibly due to my aging joints and regular switching between keyboard and mouse use, I have been unable to detect any physical benefits from using this mouse but maybe time will tell and I will have that to look forward to over the passage of usage. This mouse is comfortable to use and requires very little adjustment on the part of most users willing to make a change to their working environment.
Requiring Windows 7 and later, the Handshake Mouse bears a price tag of £62.
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