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Ergonomic Product Categories > Central Pointing Devices
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Central Pointing Devices

What are Central Pointing Devices?

A Central Pointing Device is a term used to describe an alternative mousing device that can be effectively used in the space between the user and their keyboard (i.e. below the spacebar).  They employ a variety of technologies to achieve this goal including a rolling cylinder, a 4-way treadmill, or capacitance based tracking technologies.  What all these solutions have in common is their ability to address Overextension for the mouse to the right or left side of the keyboard.   

What are the Ergonomic Benefits of a Central Pointing Device?

Central Pointing Devices can address Overextension as they are placed directly in front of the user and unlike traditional mice are not displaced to the left or right by the keyboard.

Unlike conventional mice, Central Pointing Devices cannot be pinched or gripped which eliminates the risk factor of Static Grip Force.

Central Pointing Devices are ambidextrous pointing devices which permit effortless switching between left and right handed mousing, permitting Load Balancing.

What are Potential Concerns when Considering a Central Pointing Device?

The most significant concern is to ensure that the personal Anthropometrics of the individual do not result in an awkward posture when reaching into their Midline.  If this is a consideration, consider Central Pointing Devices which allow access to mousing functions other than a narrow band around the Midline of the user.

Central Pointing Devices can be difficult for some users to become accustomed to as they represent a completely different interface.  For example, solutions which employ a cylinder require the user to use both a 'rolling the cylinder' action for vertical movement and a 'sliding the cylinder' for the horizontal movement.  These represent two distinct types of muscle movement to achieve all cursor movement (including combining these actions when moving diagonally). 

All of these solutions have a physical limitation in that unlike a mouse, at some point the user if moving in one direction at a low enough acceleration will exhaust the motion-capture capabilities of the device (i.e. the cylinder or treadmill reaches the 'end' of its travel distance laterally).  Although all these devices have features to address this limitation, it should still be a consideration. 

For What Types of Tasks / Users are Central Pointing Devices Suitable? 

The latest generation Central Pointing Devices serve as complete mouse replacements for practically any user.  Some of the older generation solutions may not be suitable for users requiring very intense and precise control when mousing such as graphic artists, intense gamers and CAD designers.

What Physical Injuries or Conditions Typically Benefit from a Central Pointing Device?

Central Pointing Devices can be of benefit to a wide variety of users including individuals with hand conditions such as arthritis and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.  As they also reduce the amount of movement to use the mouse, they are of potential benefit to individuals with Rotator Cuff, Bursitis and Cubital Tunnel Syndrome.



Last edited December 9th, 2013

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