The Moldable Mouse
With so many people spending so much time at the computer, carpal tunnel syndrome has taken off in the last few years. Designers and engineers are fighting back with ergonomically-designed keyboards, mice, and other peripherals. One of the best purchases I ever made is a mousepad with a wrist pillow; that red streak I thought was permanent is finally gone from my wrist! But everyone has a different hand, and a different way of using it. What if you could design your own mouse? Better yet, what if you could change that design whenever you wanted?
That's what the Moldable Mouse from Lite-On Technology is all about. It is made of modeling clay, covered with fabric. Knead it into any shape you like! The only rigid part is the base, where the batteries and circuit board are. Wireless technology makes it all possible, as the click buttons and scroll pad are powered by RFID and can be stuck on anywhere. Once molded, the shape is self-retaining. That is, as long as you want it to be. If you decide your shape isn't perfect after all, or when your hand gets tired and you want a change, you can mold it again.
Modern components are so small that the bulk of a mouse is only neccessary in order to fit our human hands, so it makes sense that we should be able to manipulate that bulk to fit our hands the best way possible. I see a couple of possible drawbacks. The obvious one is that you'd spend too much time playing with it and not enough time doing your actual work. That's a common problem and not a design fault. But how would you clean it? Phones, doorknobs, and keyboards are notorious germ farms because people touch them so much. A computer mouse is the same way, but a hard plastic mouse can be wiped off and even disinfected occasionally. A fabric-covered mouse might be pretty grungy after a year or so of daily use.
The Moldable Mouse won a red dot award for design concept in 2007. It's not yet available at your local computer shop.