Creative Alternatives to the Typical Mouse and Keyboard Setup

Design Lists

When elements of design moved from physical blueprints and canvases to the digital realm, new problems cropped up for creators. Typing on traditional keyboards, sitting at a desk for umpteen hours and navigating interfaces with a stern grip on a mouse has led to chronic pain for many designers. And what about those without hands at all?

That’s where these unique technologies come in. Their inventors realized that differently abled designers may not flourish with time-honored artistic methods. So these innovations strive to give a limitless outlet for creativity.

1. Leap Motion

Good things come in small packages, and this one is only 3” wide. Leap Motion is a tiny Mac and PC-compatible box that senses the movements of your hands. Designed to mimic the intricacies of your digits, Leap Motion allows creatives to work their wizardry without tactile force. For $79.99, the device opens up a Matrix-like world of possibility, easily adapting to stylus-type finessing. While the Leap Motion isn’t intended to replace a mouse or keyboard, it can absolutely ease creative endeavors that normally might strain your wrist.

2. Look No Hands

Designer Michelle Vandy developed RSI in her arms and needed an alternative to her standard computer setup. After ages of trial and error, she developed a system using her nose and mouth to bring her visions to life Her apparatus includes the Manfrotto Table Top Tripod, the Apple Magic Trackpad, a tripod adaptor plate and some Velcro. With those items, she is able to make in Photoshop and Illustrator some incredible works.

3. 3D Rudder

The makers of this best-feet-forward concept stress the importance of bipedal motion in human exploration. We’ve traversed unknown physical territories with our feet, so why not virtual territories? The 3D Rudder is used by sitting and placing the feet on the device, steering visuals so designers’ and gamers’ hands are free to fine-tune their artwork. It’s made to cut down on unnatural hand movements in the designing process and costs $110 for the base model.

4. SafeType Keyboard

Looking like a dismantled Rubik’s Cube, the SafeType Keyboard is actually designed more ergonomically than flat ones. A Cornell University study found that the 3D folding station reduced ulnar deviation and wrist extension. Once users acclimate to the accordion-like setup, they generally can type as fast as on a normal
keyboard. The SafeType retails at $289.

5. Penclic Mouse

Do you miss the bygone days of designing on pencil and paper? Penclic marries the old school with the new by simulating a pen grip. The stylus allows users to make precise changes to the smallest of pixelated images, with its swivel mount and laser technology. The Penclic is both PC and Mac compatible and costs $69.

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