Some thoughts on ergonomics

For the last week or so, I’ve been wearing a wrist brace in an attempt to ward off the tingling and uncontrollable finger-twitching that seem to inflict my mousing hand every so often. The brace has helped tremendously, but I can’t keep wearing it indefinitely. Without it, though, the symptoms begin to return. The last thing I want is carpal tunnel syndrome, so I’ve started trying to think of ways to solve the problem.

The first thing that has to go is the mouse. It’s too damn inconvenient and there’s just no way of using it comfortably for any extended amount of time. A trackball or a touchpad wouldn’t be any better, especially since they’re harder to control (thus adding to the mental frustration factor).

What I need is eye tracking. Instead of using my clumsy hand and arm to move an imprecise physical object, the cursor should simply follow my gaze. The military has been doing this with targeting systems for years; there are even plug and play consumer level solutions that do this, although they’re expensive and not very advanced. This is technology that needs to be improved, and fast.

Keyboards I can live with. For now, all I want is eye tracking and better chairs. Even the crazy expensive chair I bought for myself a few years ago isn’t nearly as good as it could be.

What’s frustrating to me is that I know someone else had probably already realized all of this in like 1980, but nothing is being done about it. Instead of coming up with a better human interface device than the mouse, we’ve just given mice more buttons and more wheels and more flashing lights. There are even mice with built in cooling fans to keep your hands from getting sweaty. But if you want something altogether better than a mouse, I hope you like touchpads or trackballs.

You might say we’ve fallen into a—brace yourself—mousetrap. Bahahahahaha!

Seriously though, I’m very bitter about all this. Really.