Skip to Content

Under Your Thumb

A new kind of computer pointing device that spares the wrists could avert carpal tunnel syndrome

Like so many people who use computers all day, Abir Qamhiyah and her colleagues in Iowa State University’s Mechanical Engineering Department found that the mouse-intensive software they used was giving them numb hands and painful wrists-the signs of carpal tunnel syndrome. But rather than submit to the traditional solutions-wrist splints, painkillers, or even surgery-Qamhiyah decided to develop a new kind of pointing device, one that would leave the wrists out of the equation. The result: a kind of joystick without a base, with a pressure plate at the thumb end that can be used to move an on-screen cursor in any direction. Says Qamhiyah, “We looked at how much force a thumb is capable of exerting, and we specified the sensitivity range to be on the very low end”-meaning the new pointer shouldn’t cause its own ergonomic nightmares. Two buttons on the side take care of left-clicking and right-clicking. Iowa State is looking for corporate licensees to bring the device to market.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

individual aging affects covid outcomes concept
individual aging affects covid outcomes concept

Anti-aging drugs are being tested as a way to treat covid

Drugs that rejuvenate our immune systems and make us biologically younger could help protect us from the disease’s worst effects.

close up of baby with a bottle
close up of baby with a bottle

The baby formula shortage has birthed a shady online marketplace

Desperate parents just want to feed their babies. They’re having to contend with misinformation, price gouging, and scams along the way.

"Olive Garden" NFTs concept
"Olive Garden" NFTs concept

I tried to buy an Olive Garden NFT. All I got was heartburn.

Our newest issue spells out what you need to know about the dizzying world of digital money.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.