While many inventors set out to build a better mousetrap — two Iowa State University researchers think they’ve built a better mouse. Abir Qamhiyah says she decided to try and design a new type of computer mouse, after experiencing problems while working with her computer.She says using the mouse caused discomfort in her hand, wrist and neck. She says the discomfort is one thing, but some of her colleagues had to have surgery after suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome. Qamhiyah says working in computer aided design led to the problem — but also spurred her to come up with a solution. She says she decided there has to be a better alternative. She started working with professor Don Flugrad, he also is involved in machine design. She says they started thinking about what the machine should be like. She says they started by identifying the things they didn’t want the device to do.She says they needed to de-couple the functionality of the mouse from the motion and position of the hand wrist arm and shoulder. Qamhiyah says two years of work led them to develop a device that’s soft like one of those “cush” balls used to relieve stress. She says the shell is soft and the functionality comes from a small area under the thumb that allows you to steer the device on the computer screen. She says the device has right and left click buttons like a regular mouse, but there are major difference.She says it doesn’t need to be placed on a flat surface, and you don’t have to twist your wrist to steer the operations on the screen, you can do it all with pressure from your thumb. Qamhiyah says they’ve already had interest from people wanting to buy the device. She says right now they’re working on the marketing and licensing of the new product through the I-S-U Foundation. If all goes well, she says you could see the new mouse device on the market in a few months.
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