How the eSports community cares for injured players

How the eSports community cares for injured players
From Engadget - September 29, 2017

The theory behind the vertical mouse, as seen in the promotional video below, is that the handshake position, versus a palm-down position, is more natural and ergonomically sound, because it does not require the forearm bones to twist and put undue stress on the tendons. Lo came up with the idea while he was working as a patent agent -- a job that required him to create diagrams and detailed drawings with a mouse. He was using a brand-name ergonomic horizontal mouse, where the palm faces downward, toward the desk.

"I found myself rotating my hand up to the vertical handshake position to relax and rest it before using the mouse again," Lo recalled. "And I thought that it would be nice to have a mouse that would work that way."

Lo patented his idea in 1994, and although some hardware companies showed interest, they all rejected the idea. Microsoft, for example, sent Lo a letter stating, "There are no proven biomechanic effects that we can speak of." Lo was devastated. But in 2001, he decided to produce and market the mouse with his life savings. He worked with a distributor in China to get the mouse on shelves, and to this day, he still does all the design by himself.

"It's mostly a one-man shop," Lo said. "When you do not have overheads, a small business like this can still be profitable."

Today, Lo's company, Evoluent, is very successful, and his invention has garnered praise from PC World, PC Magazine, TechTV and Business Insider, among others. There has never been a rigorous, clinical study of vertical-mouse design that proves the ergonomic benefits beyond a doubt, but the user reviews, many of which are written by doctors, physical therapists and sufferers of chronic wrist pain, paint a compelling portrait. Evoluent has released five generations of its vertical mouse, and Lo is currently designing the sixth generation, which will be out by the end of the year.

"The mouse has proved itself in the marketplace," said Lo. "It's not what I claim; it's what my customers claim. It's what my distributors and resellers tell me: that this is the leading mouse brand in ergonomics."

Lo's customer base is mostly comprised of businesspeople and home users. But what about esports athletes? Could a vertical mouse be a viable, competitive alternative to the traditional mouse? Lo states that some gamers have reached out to him, and during the next vertical-mouse release cycle, he plans on manufacturing a gaming-spec version, which he will send out to gamers to gauge interest.

Harrison does not endorse the vertical mouse -- he wants to see more scientific backing behind it -- but he believes it is viable in professional tournaments, as long as the player trains with it.

"If someone used a vertical mouse for five or six years and that's all they used, then of course they are going to be great at it."


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