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Rewriting the Book on Ergonomic Mice: Penclic B2

Taking ergonomic computer mice in a bold new direction, Penclic reintroduces computer users to the advantages of that most ancient implement of the pen, by integrating it into an intuitive, easy-to-use design.

 

It’s an inevitable fact of the 21st Century that people are using computers more and more, both at work and at home. This means more and more time with our wrists over a keyboard, resting on the edge of the table, and constantly moving a computer mouse around. For some, the effort can result in the accumulation of carpel tunnel and other repetitive stress injuries –the increasingly common occurrence of these cases warrants a response from tech designers, and the result has been an explosion in ergonomics over the last few years.

 

The human wrist does require care and attention – the palms-down position that we have become so used to has been highlighted as a major cause of repetitive strain conditions. It has, very sensibly,

been the first target for tech firms looking to design a computer mouse that puts the wrist in a more natural, comfortable orientation that eliminates the risk of strain. Most especially, the Evoluent VerticalMouse 4 did exactly what its name suggested, and turned the mouse’s buttons through 90 degrees, while leaving the sensor on the bottom. The end result was a step in the right direction, allowing for a handshake grip that would be familiar to anyone that has ever held a tankard, but it was a steep adjustment to some users to adjust their orientation and remember which way was up and which was down.

 

The Penclic Mouse is, to be fair, not such a far cry from this innovation. It merely takes the same concept introduced by the VerticalMouse, and goes one step beyond.

 

The pen is, ergonomically speaking, perfect. It fits between the fingers, allowing for direct and accurate control, and can be controlled by the adjustment of the finger joints as much as by the movement of the wrist, thereby not overloading a single point with stress. The very worst injury a pen user might experience frequently is a mild friction in the fingertips and the flesh between the knuckle of the index finger and the start of the thumb. All it requires to make the application leap from paper to computer is the right kind of outside-the-box thinking.

 

As such, the Penclic B2 Mouse takes the buttons from a conventional mouse, and places them around a white joystick handle, which is then mounted on a swivelling ball-and-socket onto a casing that contains the infrared sensor, battery, and Bluetooth components.

 

The underside of the base is smooth and able to glide freely across a work surface without the need for a mat, while the buttons, integrated into the pen, mean that users can retain a traditional pen grip whilst continuing to be productive on the computer, enjoying the benefits of its integrated Bluetooth.

 

As a result, the Penclic takes the directional control of the pen and applies it to the functionality of the mouse – the practical upshot is that the mouse can be moved around like the nib of a pen, with nowhere near the same effort in the wrist as before, and in a more comfortable, familiar position.

 

The pen weighs barely anything in the hand – in fact, the whole device weighs a mere 1.6 ounces, allowing for fast and fluid control. The option to alter the angle of the mouse allows for even more precise control, across Windows, Mac, and Linux systems alike.

 

Activating the mouse is almost simple as using… well, a pen. After recharging the included AAA battery via USB, and selecting the right Bluetooth setting on a device, the green light on the top of the base means that you are good to go – with roughly 15 feet of reach, the Bluetooth connection allows a degree of freedom that simply has not been seen in a mouse before.

 

There are some initial teething problems in using this mouse, to be sure – as there are with any new piece of tech – but nothing that cannot be overcome with continued use and practice. To begin with, I struggled with letting go of the pen, typing something with both hands, and then going back to grip the pen. The pen does not return to a central home position on the pen like a Nintendo joystick – rather, it rests at an angle, against the edges of the opening in the casing, so reasserting your grip can require a bit of finger puppetry. Until you get used to it, that is.

 

The placement of the buttons, whilst convenient, can be a little confusing at first. The pronounced ‘right click’ button is directly behind the flatter, wider ‘left click’ button, and both sit where the index finger finds its grip on the pen. Moving one’s index finger from one to the other and remembering where it was left is something that this particular user is still adjusting to, which is not ideal in the heat of a Real-Time Strategy game. Also, the mouse wheel is sometimes difficult to get a finger on, positioned as it is on the main pad. However, the newer version of the Penclic mouse seems to have eliminated this issue by very sensibly putting the wheel on the neck of the pen instead, so that it sits under the index finder.

 

TAfter so many years of using two buttons and a mouse wheel, with not a lot else to deal with, the Penclic is such a departure from the norm that it is bound to be initially difficult to adjust to. At first it might see crowded and fiddly, but after some fine motor control work, it works like a miracle.

 

Any user may fully appreciate the Penclic for what it is – a welcome break from the usual joint stress that an ordinary mouse will bring. This goes beyond a mere fad of style over substance, for there is a definite application for taking the concept of the pen and applying it to a time of intense computer usage.

 

 

Media PR

Scott Shirwell, PR & Digital Marketing Executive

scott@mediapruk.com