GentleMouse is a software utility that may be of great benefit to users suffering from Repetitive Strain Injuries, as well as those with conditions such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, arthritis, or other physical disabilities.
GentleMouse eliminates the need to click the mouse. It does this by introducing a novel computer input method that replaces physical clicking, pressing and scrolling of mouse buttons with a gentle movement of the mouse pointer into a small, transparent Trigger Window that briefly becomes visible whenever you move and stop the mouse. In addition, GentleMouse enables a user to perform many common commands such as cut, copy, and paste by moving the mouse pointer into the corresponding Trigger Window.
What’s wrong with clicking? A computer user may click the mouse thousands of times every day. But for users with hand, wrist or arm impairments, the action of clicking the mouse can be difficult, painful, or impossible. Mouse clicking itself is believed to be associated with the onset of RSI, and clicking-related pain is a common complaint among computer users.
There are other software utilities that have attempted to address this problem. They typically work by using a technique known as “dwell clicking”, which initiates a mouse click whenever the mouse cursor pauses. This works fine in many cases, but can lead to numerous unintentional clicks, and this technique doesn’t help with actions such as right-clicking, text selection, and drag-and-drop.
GentleMouse solves this problem through the use of what it refers to as “trigger windows”. Whenever your mouse pauses, a trigger window pops up and stays visible for a short amount of time. The trigger window contains buttons for common actions such as clicking, holding down the left mouse button, and right-clicking. Because you first must move the pointer over the Trigger Window to trigger a click, unintended clicks are highly unlikely.
Jeremy Atkinson at ExtremeTech has written a complete review of GentleMouse (GentleMouse Ergonomic Software Review), which explains in greater detail how the software works, and examines how well it works. Here’s his conclusion:
We were pleased with its intuitive interface, execution, and software options, and it took us less than a day to get used to the software. GentleMouse is far from perfect, however. While it does precisely what it advertises, GentleMouse cannot overcome issues in certain apps where clicking a mouse is essential, such as when gaming or designing graphics. The software will also add to the time it takes to execute click commands because of the extra step or two it requires. And if you have a quick click speed, you’ll likely have the issue of the Trigger Window pop up unwillingly. These are things you’ll have to get used to, and with practice, they can be avoided or reduced.
So is GentleMouse for you? Since it’s free to try, you have nothing to lose. GentleMouse gives you a free 15-day trial period, which will allow you to fully evaluate the program to see it it’s worth purchasing.