IT professionals who spend long hours in front of a computer risk developing Repetitive Stress Injury (RSI), muscle strain and pain.
It comes as no surprise that I have recently developed a bout of muscle strain and sometimes pain on my right wrist when using my computer both at work and at home.
To levitate the stress caused by using the mouse, I bought a Logitech M570 Trackball mouse so that my wrist can be kept stationary but I find that it helps relieve the stress on my right wrist only slightly so I started using the mouse with my left hand, which takes awhile to get use to but do-able, to take the stress off my right hand.
So it got me thinking, why not use a touchpad? You must be asking why. A couple of reasons:
- If you force yourself to not move your wrist while using a touchpad, the only part of your hand that you are moving is your finger across the touchpad.
- You can use a touchpad using either hands! If your left wrist feels strained, you can just simply move the touchpad to your left and you can start using it with your left hand!
I spend a long time looking through the internet for one and I’ve found one from Logitech; the Touchpad T650. To my disappointment, the T650 has been discontinued by Logitech for a number of years now.
Then we have got the Apple Trackpad which I find too expensive and you will need to perform a small ‘hack’ in order for the drivers to work on Windows.
After spending the last year or so looking for that elusive touchpad, I came across two viable options:
- The Ergonomic Touchpad by Ergonomic Touchpad; you can check them out via this link: http://www.ergonomictouchpad.com or you can just google for them.
- The Elcom TP01DS Desktop Touchpad which I bought off of someone from Japan through eBay.
I went for the Elcom TP01DS touchpad because of the size/price factor and its’ wireless which satisfy the criteria of me being able to switch hands.
The Elcom TP01DS is approximately 12.5cm (L) by 13.5cm (W). The usable part of the touchpad is 12cm (L) by 10.5cm (W). It cost me AUD$61 (Shipping is free!) and took around 2 weeks to arrive from Japan.
Comparing this to the largest offering by Ergonomic Touchpad, measuring at approximately 9.6cm (L) by 7.8cm (W) going for USD$59.95 which converts to roughly AUD$78.60. Not to mention an additional USD$28 shipping fee.
Choosing the Elcom TP01DS over the Ergonomic Touchpad is a no-brainer.
Even though it is stated on Elcom’s website that the touchpad supports Windows 8, I have no problem with using it on Windows 10. Just plug & play using the included USB WiFi receiver and you are good to go!
The native support of gestures is a welcome feature; of which I find the three finger swipe (Go to Previous/Next page) and the horizontal/vertical scrolling useful for navigating windows and websites.
However, there are a couple of minor downsides.
First is the one-finger left swipe from the left which allows you to switch apps/windows. There was a couple of times where I was trying to select text, I would actually trigger the switch apps gesture accidentally. This also means that your touchpad movement is limited to 3-quarter of the touchpad but I think that this can be easily resolved if one were to download the touchpad application to adjust the gesture sensitivity.
Second would be a lack of power on/off indicator telling you if the touchpad is on or off. Yes there is a power indicator on the top right of the touchpad but it doesn’t stay on to tell you the power status.
Otherwise if you are thinking of getting a touchpad to avoid repetitive stress injury while working long hours in front of a computer like me, look no further! The Elcom TP01DS touchpad is value for money and does the job straight out of the box.