Will the “air mouse” really help?

Do you know or work with someone who has a computer-related repetitive stress injury?

Fancy, but do you need an air mouse?

The main expression of RSIs is carpal tunnel syndrome, which can cause excruciating pain. The medical remedy is surgery but no matter how much a person may long for hand surgery it can take up to a year to work your way through the system to get it (anybody reading this can have my place in line!)

Ta-DA! An MBA who worked himself into Carpal Tunnel Syndrome by “mousing” for up to 70 hours a week during his student days at McGill University decided it was time for a technological solution. Enter THE AIR MOUSE!

It’s a wearable device and you have to see it to really grok it, so watch the video! It’s worthwhile because there’s a nice description of how one actually acquires Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and some detailed anatomical drawings (notice how brilliant the mouse is, in its mimicry of human anatomy!)

As a bonus, there’s also a pretty clear set of instructions unintentionally embedded for Feldenkrais practitioners — the video shows pretty succinctly exactly what you need to show your clients so they can learn to use the pointing devices that are already sitting on their desks in a way that will prevent the injury in the first place!

The good news is that at $150, people may think twice about it even if they’re waiting for surgery, and that gives them time to find a Feldenkrais Practitioner who can give them something else to do with a few hours every week so they can cut down on mousing in a way that gives them the side benefit of having the lessons!

By the way, I’m thinking about sponsoring a contest, to see who can predict the most likely injury the Air Mouse will cause while it’s busy preventing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome! To submit your entry, you’ll have to prove that you use your mouse less than 70 hours a week!

Watch the air mouse in action … do you see the real solution?

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11 Responses to Will the “air mouse” really help?

  1. This is clever, and no doubt will be a huge seller. I have no idea what injury it will cause, maybe to the fingers because they will be doing most of the work? Looks pretty wild. Amazing that so many of us spend so many hours clicking on a mouse!

    Jennifer Duchene
    Home Makeover Mixtress

  2. Laine D says:

    Allison – Very interesting and detailed product review – those guys need to take a lesson from our vlogging friends they look so stiff in there presentation.

    What a very weird looking device ! Just mimicking the position of the hand seems uncomfortable – I think our hands tend to be more cupped during directional operations. Because of the position of the optical sensor I would imagine it will cause strain to the thumb to keep the optical portion in contact with the table, and will exacerbate tennis elbow. I can’t imagine it will do much for peoples hand writing either!

    Reprogramming your own movements seem more logical Thanks for sharing info on this invention.

    Laine D.
    Aspire to Inspire


  3. Laine D says:

    oops ” their” presentation!

  4. I’m really not sure what other injury it will cause – it’s a crazy little contraption though. Never heard of it before.

    Sharon Hiebing
    Follow Your Dream Compass

  5. Allison says:

    Interesting puzzle, isn’t it?

    The first clue is that they tell you that one major source of the pain is the pressure on the wrist from resting the base of the hand on your desk. So really, if you can figure out how to keep yourself from putting pressure there, you alleviate a major part of the problem without needing their mouse.

    Why do you need to train to use their mouse? If you watch the video at the point where they are showing you how to use it, you see that it’s not just the mouse that’s different… but the entire organization of the user… they’ve got the entire arm involved. Basically, what they’ve done is move the pivot point from the wrist to the shoulder.

    So, if you can use your entire arm to move your mouse, you can do the same thing with the mouse you have now, as you can with the air mouse. In fact, you don’t have to move the pivot point to the shoulder, you could make it the elbow… or the pelvis… or your feet!

    Thus my challenge regarding which injury will come next, because it isn’t a given that you have to get carpal tunnel syndrome from using a mouse — but if you consistently overwork one joint, you can expect to create something you don’t want. Will it be tennis elbow? Bursitis? Frozen shoulder? Intractable neck pain? Burning pain between the shoulder blades? All — and more — are possible if you mindlessly substitute one unconsidered action for another.

    The reason we instinctively make the movement from the wrist is that the movement we make with the mouse is pendular, and the shortest pendulum — and therefore the fastest movement — is achieved by fixing the wrist and moving the mouse only with the hand.

    Unfortunately, with or without carpal tunnel syndrome, misuse of the mouse is likely to cause a variety of problems that people may or may not attribute to mousing… and so we always come back to the desirability of moving in our full range, and using our entire selves to live our lives.

    And the lesson for Feldenkrais Practitioners? The same as always, really! If you teach your clients how to use themselves well as they work at their computers, they will compute with awareness instead of idiocy, and they can use the $150 on your services instead of on the air mouse!

  6. Gail Nott says:

    Interesting gadget, but even though I’m a gadget geek, that Air Mouse looks like a pain to take on & off. I don’t like the feeling of being tied to my computer. (I already have enough of that feeling!) I remember almost getting carpal tunnel syndrome when I did data entry over 10 years ago. While I’ve never had a Feldenkrais session (I have taken ATM classes), learning about ergonomics and stretching helped me to never have that issue again, even as a programmer, massage therapist or in my current profession as a social media consultant. Another mouse alternative would be a track ball mouse. It takes a little getting used to, but it prevents too much movement from the wrist or the elbow.

  7. Tim Wilson says:

    I gotta say there is something in this that makes me think of air-guitar. I can’t shake the feeling that in order to use this thing I have to have swing my arm in a huge circle while vigorously “head-banging.”

    • Allison says:

      To be honest, the head-banging part hadn’t occurred to me, and I think you should get extra points for the tangential problems it could cause!

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