What are Touchpads?
Touchpads are a unique
class of pointing devices which utilize a flat
low-friction, durable specialized surface which
translates the motion of the fingertips of a
user into mousing actions. Various
technologies are used, most of which are
capacitance based and respond to precise finger
movements by creating an electronic field which
is changed as a finger enters it, and moves
within that field.
What are the Ergonomic Benefits of a Touchpad?
Touchpads eliminate the ability of the
user to pinch or grip the mouse which eliminates the common
risk factor of Static
Grip Force and help address Trigger
Finger (and associated fatigue with clicking) as
clicks are generated by lightly tapping the touchpad
surface. Instead of 'grip and click' the user can
'glide and tap'.
Touchpads help to reduce Overextension (awkward reach) and arm and wrist movement as touchpads do
not need to be moved to achieve cursor control.
Touchpads can also be angled in any direction while moving
the cursor, allowing the hand to be aligned straight with
the forearm, reducing any bending at the wrist (Ulnar
or Radial deviation).
Touchpads are compact ambidextrous pointing devices, which
allow the user to place them to the left, the right, in
front of, on top of, even in between sections of the
keyboard or on the leg of the individual. This also
permits effortless switching between left and right handed
mousing, permitting Load
Touchpads can even be positioned in a vertical orientation,
of the hand (i.e. instead of using them 'palm down' they can
be used in a 'handshake' position), by attaching them to the
edge of a keyboard or other items using velcro or
What are Potential Concerns when Considering a Touchpad?
Touchpads can be difficult for some users to become
accustomed to as they change the paradigm of mousing
substantially. If a user is accustomed to a
traditional mouse, they may feel 'out of control' or
experience a sense of lack of precision which accompanies
the type of interface that a touchpad provides.
Touchpads have a physical limitation; unlike a mouse,
at some point the user will reach the edge of the surface of
the touchpad if moving in one direction at a low enough
acceleration. While there are technologies and
features to address this limitation, it is a
Touchpads also have real limitations with respect to
precision and typically are not suitable for intense
graphical work or precise actions on large multi-monitor
For What Types of Tasks / Users are Touchpads
Touchpads serve as complete mouse replacements for most
users apart from users requiring very intense and precise
control when mousing. Touchpads are suitable for
almost everyone and all tasks other than those that graphic
artists, intense gamers and CAD designers typically perform.
What Physical Injuries or Conditions Typically Benefit
from a Touchpad?
Touchpads can be of benefit to a wide variety of users
including individuals with hand conditions such as
Tunnel Syndrome and DeQuervains
Tenosynovitus. Due to the minimal movement
required, they also are of potential benefit to individuals
with Rotator Cuff, Bursitis and Cubital