tech Review

The computer mouse has changed very little since it was invented by Douglas Engelbart in 1964. The original consisted of a wooden shell, circuit board and two metal wheels placed underneath the unit. A minor detail was changed eight years later when a ball replaced the wheels and gave mobility in any direction. Fast forward another eight years and the ball was replaced by the optical mouse which was developed around 1980, eliminating the ball which often became dirty from rolling around the desktop all day like a child in the dirt.

Since 1998, when the optical mouse was made commercially available, there hasn’t been much in the way of development outside the conventional design. The generic mouse has embraced wireless technology and has been customised for specific markets, like gaming, but the shape and basic fundamentals have stayed the same.

Penclic is a Swedish based company whose aim is to combine the latest optical mouse technology with the sleek design of a pen. Their flagship product, the Penclic series, is a neatly designed unit that integrates a small base with a makeshift pen attached on top. The pen has the traditional scroll wheel in the middle and two buttons placed on either side.

Penclic’s design is supposed to create a relaxed and natural working position, counteracting problems like repetitive strain injury and carpal tunnel syndrome. The latest release, the D3 model, delivers in it’s aim to provide less stress on the wrist and counteracts long winded and unnecessary movements of the arm.

Although it takes sometime to get used to (reading the manual definitely speeds things up), with little practice it’s possible to operate the Penclic with incredible pinpoint accuracy. The delicacy and lightness of the mouse makes it a joy to use but also means the unit is flimsy at times in comparison to the sturdy build of conventional mice. The mouse definitely relieves tension with it’s comfortable positioning and only requires minor movements from the fingers and wrist.

It’s hard to imagine the Penclic gradually replacing the conventional style of mouse, but for niche markets like graphic design the mouse can really show its worth. The Penclic brings the natural experience of putting pen to paper to the digital world, allowing users to emulate the techniques associated with drawing, painting and calligraphy.

With more and more designers taking to computers screens and tablets, it feels like a natural progression for them to use equipment that emulates the original methods, the stylus being a popular example of this development.  I think for this particular purpose, and for those who suffer from the injuries mentioned, the product can really prove beneficial.

The supported platforms for Penclic Mouse are all operating systems including Windows XP or later, Mac OSX version 10.1 or later and Linux. No extra software or driver installation is needed, just plug and play.

Dimensions: 22.2 x 8 x 8 cm

Weight: 245 grams

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