Volume Number: 18 (2002)
Issue Number: 12
Column Tag: Reviews
by Michael R. Harvey
MouseMattress.com, Inc. recently released their namesake product, the MouseMattress. This mouse pad is unlike any other ever seen, in that it is designed to rest on your thigh instead of on a desk surface. It is made from a thick piece of foam, that is notched to sit comfortably and securely on your thigh. The pad itself is atop the foam. A locking clip is also attached to the edge of the pad to guide the mouse cord. The idea behind this device is with the mouse sitting on your leg, you put less stress on your hand and arm. When the pad is on your thigh, your arm, wrist and hand are at an ergonomically correct angle. This reduces the effects of RSI (repetitive stress injury) issues the user may have, or possibly get.
That's not all it is good for, however. The company markets the MouseMattress as being useful for kids; that it is easier for a small one to use a mouse on his leg rather than trying to reach a desk that is too big for him. Likewise, according to the company, gamers will find using a joystick on the pad will feel better. The MouseMatress is also useful for those with a disability that makes using a normal mouse more difficult. Craig Collins, CEO of Mousematress.com, originally designed it for his own use as a disabled person. Additional functions for the mouse pad touted by the company include a nice way to use a PDA, and if you buy two, you can make a desk on your legs for your laptop to sit on.
We performed some decidedly unscientific tests with the MouseMattress, giving the mouse pad to a couple of users with RSI problems, to get their reactions. The first person we gave it to already had her workstation set up to comply with ergonomics rules. She immediately liked the feel of using her mouse on her leg. However, she almost as quickly needed to set the device aside. With the pad on her leg, she had to sit too far away from her keyboard, and she found that repeatedly moving the MouseMattress on and off her leg, then sliding her chair in and out, was just too much for her. The other user we had test this mouse pad liked it. Her workstation is rather lacking in ergonomic appointments, and she mainly uses just the mouse. For her setup, she found the MouseMattress comfortable, much more so than her previous setup. Her only issue was that she had to move the pad often, as her work required her to get up from her desk.
The MouseMattress has the potential to be useful, and can save you from or relieve some of your RSI problems. While it is not suited for everyone, you may find this device will work for you. And with a MSRP of $14.99, it's worth looking into if motion or RSI problems are an issue. The MouseMattress is available directly from the company's website. It is available in several colors, and also with a suede leather surface, costing $19.99.
Michael R. Harvey