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Floating computer mouse could help with workplace illness

A designer recently announced that he is developing a computer mouse designed to prevent a work-related illness that many Connecticut workers know all too well. The proposed mouse will prevent carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive-strain injuries, the designer says, because it levitates above a user's desk.

The mouse, called "The Bat" by the designer, will float 10-40 millimeters above a mouse pad on an invisible cushion of magnetic force. This could eliminate pressure on the wrist, a leading factor in carpal tunnel syndrome.

The Bat is in early pre-production stages, according to the designer. Some detractors say the design is impractical and doubt that it will ever come to market.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is an irritation of nerves in the wrist. It can be very painful and in some cases sufferers require surgery to fix the problem. It is often associated with computer users, and those who use a computer mouse more than 20 hours a week have an increased chance of developing the condition. However, carpal tunnel syndrome can affect workers in a wide variety of jobs. According to some experts, it is actually more common among assembly line workers using vibrating hand tools than it is among people who sit at a desk all day.

Workers who suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome may receive workers' compensation benefits, but they must show that their symptoms are the result of a work-related injury. An employer who refuses to extend workers' compensation benefits to an employee with carpal tunnel syndrome may argue that the symptoms are the result of computer use at home or some other activity that is not related to the employment.

However, there is a lot of evidence to support the connection of carpal tunnel to work, whether it is data entry or machine assembly. Those who are hurt on the job should be compensated for their injuries.

Source: Huffington Post, "Levitating Computer Mouse 'The Bat' Aims To Prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome," Betsy Isaacson, March 14, 2013

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