Mouse recommendations

Hi there!

I wish I could live a mouse-free life, as my RSI is really aggravated by mouse usage. Voice computer helps immensely, however at times I do need to use the mouse — for example to copy and paste content from a news article onto a document I’m working on. I’m interested in the pen mouse, however, clicking a button in order to get the cursor to appear and then move sounds like hell. A vertical mouse doesn’t work for me either because my hands are too small so separating my thumb and forefinger that much really bothers me. Does anyone have any recommendations for RSI-friendly mice? Or know of a pen mouse that doesn’t require you to click in order to use the cursor?

Thanks all!
Ali

I can’t make any mouse recommendations but I can offer some tips on how you can use VoiceComputer to copy and paste content from a news article onto a document you’re working on.

Technique one:
Create an overlay with a lot of numbered points for the news article.
To select a section of the article use the Drag 5 to 8 command to select the section of the article that you want.
(Where 5 is the beginning of the section and 8 is the end of the section.)
Then copy the selection and paste it.

  • It’s more reliable to use the ;Press control C" and Press Control V commands to copy and paste rather than the Copy that and Paste that commands.

Technique two:
use the Press Control A command to select the entire article and then paste the article to Notepad.
You can then review the article in Notepad and copy and paste from there.

Hi Ali,
As an assistive technology and ergonomics specialist, I have worked with a number of people in your situation. As you indicated, even when using VC with Dragon, there are times when it is more efficient to be able to use a physical mouse. One frequent solution I recommend is to “separate the mouse from the click.” If you have a mouse device that you feel comfortable using to move the cursor (trackpad, trackball, vertical or standard mouse, etc.), you can use a separate switch–typically with your non-dominant hand–to generate a mouse click. (Or hold it down for dragging actions.)

Most often, I recommend the AbleNet Micro Light switch as it only requires very little effort to depress and can easily be positioned as desired—I sometimes Velcro it to the side of the keyboard or stick it onto an old CD disc and use the weight of the keyboard to hold it in place in the desired location. I have also set people up with a larger switch mounted next to their knee. Some folks have done well enough placing a second mouse under their non-mousing hand and just using that for the mouse click. Whatever works for the individual.

For connecting the switch to the computer, there is the Swifty USB switch interface made by Origin Instruments. (With a 1/8” stereo to mono splitter, you can connect two switches for left and right actions.) If you or a friend are handy, you can crack open an old mouse and solder a 1/8” mono jack across the internal mouse button switch to accept the external one.

This can be a lot less taxing than saying “Left or Mouse Click” constantly and dragging to select text can be a challenge—unless one uses the click (at the start of the text block) + shift-click (at the end of the block) strategy. [by voice, you’d say “press shift left click”]

Good luck,
Ray

Here are a couple links:

Micro Light switch: Amazon.com: AbleNet Micro Light Switch : Tools & Home Improvement

Origin Swifty USB switch interface: https://www.schoolhealth.com/swifty-usb-switch-interface-beam-wireless-transmitter?scid=scbplp87161FL&sc_intid=87161FL&msclkid=88055ce8137b1c28245f3dfcb4c87cf0&utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=SC%20Shopping%20-%20Branded&utm_term=4577610505385347&utm_content=SC%20-%20Branded

Oh that’s a great suggestion — both of those are solid workarounds. I will try them, thank you!

Oh this is so helpful, thank you. I pretty much have any problem clicking whatsoever, that’s the biggest source of my RSI. Do you think it would work to use this with your foot? I thought about getting a foot mouse to click! Also, just tried the overlays to and am happy how they work!

Yes, I forgot to mention that some people use their feet to activate a switch. (That’s different from a foot mouse, which I encourage you to avoid for a number of reasons–mainly that our larger leg and foot muscles are not designed for such fine movements.) You’d want a heavier duty switch that you can gently rest your foot on and possibly support your heel on a block so you don’t have to flex your foot as much to depress it. Radio Shack used to carry them, but you’ll have to hunt around…and maybe get an adapter from 1/4" to the smaller 1/8".

People have also used a switch mounted on an arm next to the side of the head or any place that works for them.

This one on E-Bay will need you to connect a longer wire and a 1/8" mono plug to it. Switch Foot Momentary Electric Pedal Power Spdt Metal Non Slip Push Switch Tool | eBay

If this USB foot pedal works as advertised, it can be an all-in-one solution as it claims to be able to send mouse commands. A very affordable $17 (of course you get what you pay for). I’d check their manual first because it might only be able to send keyboard commands and they might be fudging on the mouse clicks.

{When I first met Ron–the developer of VoiceComputer–many years ago, he was promoting programmable foot pedals to use alongside of Dragon Dictate and for other tasks. Things circle back around…}

Amazon.com: [Upgraded] iKKEGOL USB Foot Pedal Switch Video Game PC Hands Free Footswitch One Key Control Program Computer Mouse Keyboard HID with 2M Cable : Electronics

I use the Handshoe mouse but never click using it:

Home - HandShoe Mouse

But I have a left clicker using MouseKeys:

I use the mouse for movement but the left clicker for clicking.

The clicker need not employ fingers. I click with the palm of my hand. The clicker is a garden hose attachment screwed onto the number 5 key. The Microsoft MouseKey need to be switched on.

Thanks all for these recs! It sounds like I’ll need to buy some sort of switch – whether for the hand or foot-- to avoid actually clicking with the mouse. I do use commands for mouse clicks that are shorter, but so far have no command that can actually hold a mouse click so I can drag items.

My problem is very much that I cannot finger click. With Microsoft MouseKeys, I can hold a mouse and drag items as follows:

Position mouse, press 0 on keypad (in MouseKey mode), drag the mouse, press . on keypad I MouseKeyMode) to release hold on mouse.

Hi Roy,

Well I definitely agree that a switch will make a huge difference. I tried a foot switch, but yes, alas the legs are rather bothered. I’m not tech-saavy at all so am a bit confused how to connect a regular switch (like the one here or the one off ebay) to my computer…let alone program the switch so that when I click it, it clicks the mouse. Is this something you need advance computer skills for? Or do you have a suggestion on how one might figure this out? A switch that’s easy to compress sounds fantastic, especially now that I’m experiencing some vocal strain and would love to switch up when I click and when I use VC.

Thx!!

Ali

Hi Ali,
The Origin Swifty USB switch interface eliminates the need for you to do any programming. It is specifically designed to send a left mouse click–and right click if you have the splitter and a second switch attached. There are a range of “ability switches” available at sites such as AbleNetinc.com, not just the Micro Light one–but they don’t offer foot switches on their site. What they have in common is their 1/8" mono plug. While it is very simple in concept, it can take a bit of soldering to connect a generic eBay foot switch to to the plug, but you can perhaps get help from a local Maker’s Space or take it to a computer repair shop (not the corporate Best Buy type).

I will also second Nimbargent’s use of MouseKeys (a setting in Windows or Mac OS) which is commonly employed to move the cursor in any direction using the 10-key number pad, with 5 in the center generating a mouse click, or drag lock, as he noted.

The PI Engineering X-Keys are great but more complicated–and more full-featured-- than the Swifty, so it ultimately depends on what you are needing to do.

The Kinesis Savant Elite 2 is also nice, but pricey.

Ray

Got it! ordered these two items! fingers crossed they’ll work - swifty folks seem really great!

I realize that you’ve already ordered a solution, but I can recommend GentleMouse as a way to click mouse buttons without moving your fingers. Basically you move the mouse or trackball, and when you stop movement a little bubble appears and you can move your mouse to the bubble to activate a mouse click. It can also do right click, double click, copy, paste. It’s a flexible tool. I haven’t used it in a few years, but sometimes I do need it and it helps. I don’t know if this will work with the pen tool, but it might be something to consider if you need another tool in your arsenal. Probably like me, most people have several things they use when RSI is acting up.

Thank you for the recommendation! I ended up downloading the Dwell Click and it seems to be going great, I really just need one single mouse click so this is perfect.