With prolonged and active use of a computer mouse, discomfort and pain in the hand may appear. In addition, the workplace is often organized in such a way that it simply does not fit with a standard mouse. There are also applications and specialized workstations, which, in principle, are sharpened for manipulators, alternative to mice. Let’s figure out why else and what exactly can be replaced with a computer mouse.
This kind of manipulators are similar to regular mice. The main difference is that the shape of the manipulator changes the tilt and position of the brush. The hand rests more comfortably, resting on the table with the edge of the palm, or the palm rests completely on the mouse without touching the table.
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Using such a mouse is similar to using a standard one, since it is a similar manipulator with similar keys. The difference lies in the position of the hand and the movements that it makes during work. At the same time, in fact, the movements along the X axis do not differ much from those that are performed using a conventional mouse, and along the Y axis the cursor is slightly more difficult to move.
There are some peculiarities of pressing the buttons. The difference is noticeable the more, the more vertically the hand is turned during the grip. To press, you have to squeeze the device in your hands, holding the manipulator on the other side with your thumb.
Just like standard mice, vertical ones are available in different form factors: they differ in size and shape. But at the same time, there are no universal solutions suitable for any hand among vertical mice. They are mainly designed for right-handed use. In principle, there cannot be universal models that can be used with one or the other hand among vertical mice due to ergonomics. Nevertheless, if a regular mouse has become completely uncomfortable and the problem with pain in the hand does not disappear, you can try such a manipulator: perhaps it will solve your problem.
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The trackball looks like a 3D version of the trackpad on a laptop on one side, and an inverted ball mouse on the other. The cursor in such a mouse is controlled by the rotation of the ball. In this case, the manipulator remains in place, which is important in a confined space.
Since the trackball does not need to be moved, it can be placed anywhere. There are no surface requirements. You can place it on a cushion or side of a chair, or sit on a small table in a confined workspace. But at the same time, the use of trackballs still remains limited. Why does this happen?
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The fact is that in practice the use of a trackball differs depending on the parameters of the ball that is used in it – its weight, size, structure. If an ordinary mouse is, in principle, universal, then you have to get used to each type of trackball. And if you are used to a certain trackball, then another will have to get used to again. Trackballs from different manufacturers differ more from each other than mice.
This becomes clearer when used. For example, one trackball will be comfortable to control with your finger, and the other – with your entire palm. In addition, to move the cursor over a long distance, for example, when working on two screens, you will have to spin the ball, making more movements. An important point – the dpi of trackballs is usually set less than that of a mouse for ease of use.
Another problem with using a trackball is scrolling. An additional ring or sensors are built into the structure. These sensors allow you to slowly rotate the ball in one plane.
Also, different models of trackballs differ in stands: their shape, number of keys and functionality. This is one of the important points in using this type of manipulator. For example, two-key trackballs do not have a button like clicking on a mouse wheel. In such models, there are only left and right buttons, only they are controlled most often with the thumb and little finger.
There are also models with a large number of buttons. But the caveat is that they are most often sharpened under the thumb. But in this case there is both the possibility of programming and dpi adjustment. The most classic option is four buttons around the ball. In this case, you can press them both with different parts of the palm that controls the ball, or with the other hand, as you are used to. Trackballs with several buttons have the ability to customize the profile and button functions for your software and tasks.
An important point of using trackballs – as in old ball mice, the trackball ball will inevitably have to be cleaned, as it will accumulate dust and dirt over time. Although the trackballs are not sensitive to the surface on which the manipulator is located, their sensors very much react to ball contamination and begin to work worse. Those who found ball mice remember how the cursor began to behave inadequately on a mouse that was heavily contaminated and clogged with dust.
There are certain disadvantages in that the cursor in the trackball is controlled, in fact, by a separate manipulator-ball. When you press the buttons, the cursor almost inevitably jerks to the side. To prevent this from happening, you need to remove your hand from the trackball ball or, on the contrary, put it tightly on it and not jerk it. In general, you will have to spend time mastering a new manipulator. Therefore, it is possible that before switching to a trackball, it is worth trying a hybrid version – a mouse with a trackball.
Hybrid pointing device – mouse with trackball
The hybrid pointing device is more tilted than a conventional mouse, but not as rotated as a vertical mouse. The hybrids do not move on the table, since the cursor is moved by the trackball located under the thumb. Additional buttons in such a manipulator are located next to the left key.
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The hybrid pointing device has the same advantages as a regular trackball – it has no surface requirements, since the mouse is in place and does not move on the table. To move the cursor over a long distance, the centrifugal force of the ball is used, which spins up for this.
The disadvantage of such a manipulator is that although the hand works less, the thumb is more stressed, since it controls the trackball. The ball in the hybrid pointing device has to be cleaned regularly, just like in a regular trackball or ball mouse. On the other hand, it is easier to get comfortable with such a manipulator than with a trackball.
It is not necessary to use a computer mouse if you experience discomfort when working with it or cannot place such a manipulator in a small workplace. There are other devices that can replace it. The easiest way is to switch to a vertical mouse, which redistributes the load on the hand.
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It is also possible to switch to a trackball or hybrid manipulator, which is a mouse combined with a trackball. In this case, you will have to master a new type of control and get used to it. But it is possible that in your case the trackball will be more convenient and will allow you to solve your work tasks more comfortably.