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Biomechanics and performance when using a standard and a vertical computer mouse

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Objective: to compare the biomechanics and performance while using a vertical computer mouse (VM) and a standard mouse (SM). Methods: muscle activation (electromyography), forearm movements (electrogoniometers), performance (Fitts' Law test) and satisfaction (questionnaire) of 16 subjects were evaluated. Results: there were significant differences between the VM and the SM, respectively, on motion (28° vs. 42° pronation, p = 0.001; 5° ulnar vs. 7° radial deviation, p = 0.016) and muscle activity (13% vs. 16% of extensor carpi activity, p = 0.006; 10% vs. 13% extensor digitorum activity, p = 0.001). VM user satisfaction was good (68); however, time to target was longer (4.2 vs. 3.4 s, p <  0.001). Conclusions: using the VM decreased wrist pronation and lowered wrist extensor muscle activity, but additional training and familiarisation time may be required to improve user performance.

Practitioner Summary: Using a vertical mouse can decrease the exposure to biomechanical risk factors for computer mouse use-related musculoskeletal disorders. Using a vertical computer mouse resulted in less wrist pronation and lower wrist extensor muscle activity. But, training and familiarisation are required.
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Keywords: biomechanics; controls and input devices; office ergonomics; upper limb disorders

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Physical Therapy, University of Franca, Franca, Brazil 2: Department of Physical Therapy, Florida International University, Miami, FL, USA

Publication date: August 1, 2013

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