An Apple UI designer freshens up the mouse on his own terms
Though Apple has of late declared war on computer mice of all shapes and sizes in an attempt to bring users into the sanctum of the Trackpad, there are still plenty of people who’ve stuck with an independently moving computer mouse, whether through necessity (because their fancy built-in trackpad broke) or because they prefer it ergonomically. While a better choice than many flat trackpads, however, mice are still not very kind to the hand. Most mice (including Apple mice) are made symmetrical to fit both the right hand and the left hand, but in the process of making a mouse that’s universally appropriate, they serve neither handed group well because they lie fairly flat and don’t conform to the hand.
Left-handed ergonomic mice exist, but they’re harder to find because many companies are unwilling to manufacture a product that only fits a small portion of the population. Plus, they render co-workers and collaborators unable to comfortably work on your computer to provide input and make changes. René Wooram Lee has exploded the left hand/right hand binary, however, with the Bean mouse, which is designed along a horizontal axis of symmetry instead of a vertical one. It curves upward in the middle, allowing your hand to be elevated from the desk, as is recommended for a comfortable experience. And since it can be upside-down or right-side up, regardless of which side of the keyboard it lives on, it tilts away from you, following the natural angle of your wrist.
Like Apple’s Magic Mouse, the mouse’s buttons are invisible and respond intelligently to the side on which they are clicked, and the mouse can also respond to different Bluetooth profiles. It may not surprise to learn that René himself now works at Apple as a UI designer.
Whether he is quietly showing off what he’s learned at the company or trying to bring about change in the company’s lowly perception of the mouse, we will hopefully see this attractive, ergonomic design on an Apple mouse someday — though it will probably be sheathed in glossy white plastic (hopefully the bioplastic Lee uses) and smooth aluminum.