3M Ergonomic Optical Mouse in the Test Lab

3M Ergonomic Optical Mouse in the Test Lab

Abby Stone
May 16, 2008

Okay, okay, confession. I blog in bed. Yeah, yeah, I know. Bad idea. Ergonomically unsound, as my doctor pointed out. But at 5 am, my usual blogging time, my house is cold...and my bed is toasty. Trackpad + blogging in bed = numb thumb. I tried mousing with our left hand but even though I'm left handed, it's a little awkward. I'm used to doing it with my right hand. So, on to the search for an ergonomic mouse...

Most mice (mouses?) are designed so that your fingers are in a claw position. It seems natural but it's not. Even with a pad, your wrist is unconsciously suspended, minutely flexing, inflaming the nerves in your wrist so that they press against the bone that encloses them resulting in...pain a/k/a Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Not being the kind of person that goes halfway, I decided to go for the most ergonomic mouse I could find and picked the succinctly named Ergonomic Optical Mouse from 3M. It comes in two sizes. I ordered the smaller size; a colleague ordered the large size.

Okay, this thing looks weird. Less so perhaps if you're a 15 year old boy with a thing for gaming. That would not be me. But I figured, hey, I drive a stick shift, how weird could this be? Let me tell you, very weird. My colleague sent it back immediately. I'm a little more forgiving, and, after having had surgery on my left hand, I'd like to avoid it on my right. I've got 30 days to see if it works for me. I'm game.

The instructions give you clue as to what to expect: "week 1 - it is very different than what you are used to." That would be an understatement. Your thumb and your arm are doing the work here. I've got a little muscle ache in my upper arm, near my shoulder. Hmm, maybe this thing will give me cut delts. The other thing that's odd are the buttons. The top button is the left and right click button depending on which side you click. The third thing is the position. It's a little like driving, a little like, well, things I can't talk about on AT. This third button, on the stick, is the weirdest. It's for scrolling. That'll take some getting used to.

Three weeks later. Although I'm still learning how to control it with the finesse of my old mouse, overall I'm pleased. The pain in my wrist has subsided and the upright hand position is starting to feel normal. But it takes someone who's game to try new things or is experiencing enough pain to make the commitment to the transition period and the snarky comments from your colleagues. Recommended.

Available at Amazon and at Target


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