Biomechanics and performance when using a standard and a vertical computer mouse

Ergonomics. 2013;56(8):1336-44. doi: 10.1080/00140139.2013.805251. Epub 2013 Jun 18.


Objective: to compare the biomechanics and performance while using a vertical computer mouse (VM) and a standard mouse (SM).

Methods: muscle activation (electromyography), forearm movements (electrogoniometers), performance (Fitts' Law test) and satisfaction (questionnaire) of 16 subjects were evaluated.

Results: there were significant differences between the VM and the SM, respectively, on motion (28° vs. 42° pronation, p = 0.001; 5° ulnar vs. 7° radial deviation, p = 0.016) and muscle activity (13% vs. 16% of extensor carpi activity, p = 0.006; 10% vs. 13% extensor digitorum activity, p = 0.001). VM user satisfaction was good (68); however, time to target was longer (4.2 vs. 3.4 s, p < 0.001).

Conclusions: using the VM decreased wrist pronation and lowered wrist extensor muscle activity, but additional training and familiarisation time may be required to improve user performance.

Practitioner summary: Using a vertical mouse can decrease the exposure to biomechanical risk factors for computer mouse use-related musculoskeletal disorders. Using a vertical computer mouse resulted in less wrist pronation and lower wrist extensor muscle activity. But, training and familiarisation are required.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Computer Peripherals*
  • Consumer Behavior
  • Electromyography
  • Equipment Design
  • Female
  • Forearm / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Pronation / physiology
  • Task Performance and Analysis*
  • Young Adult