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oldmouse.com

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oldmouse.com

Finger Mouse

4D Off-Table Hand Track with USB Interface

The 3G Green Green Globe Co. 4D Off-Table Hand Track mouse lets me lean back in my chair and surf the Web without having to keep my hand in place on a mouse at the desk. The ring finger clicks the trigger like left button function on a desktop oriented mouse. The left button, in contrast, sets the stage for scrolling so that rotating the green trackball with the thumb moves a Web page in the desired direction. The dexterous thumb rolls the ball and clicks the top buttons.

For my untrained thumb, a slower cursor motion than for a mouse works better, right in the middle. I pointed at the slider for the control panel Mouse Properties and held the trigger, then precariously slid the indicator by rolling the ball with my thumb. Stabilizing the mouse with my free hand helped a lot. Maybe less coffee would have helped as much. Cut and paste seemed impossible, but this Off-Table Hand Track is awkward for coordinating with the keyboard anyway. You can sort of keep it on your finger while typing, which might be better than putting it down and picking it up in between keyboarding.

The knob on the bottom provides a comfortable anchor for the ring and little fingers to hold. When I picked up the little round device from my lap without looking, however, my fingers mistook the knob for the ball so that I was trying to operate it upside down. Otherwise it is conveniently shaped with tactile ridges on the sides and bottom contrasting with the smooth contours and slick ball. The bottom ridges would probably orient a trained user by touch. The right button brings up a context menu, just like typical mouse right buttons. The buttons are probably programmable, but my mouse came as a recycled gift without software.

This USB trackball looks like a Fellowes' MicroTrac Finger Mouse. I thought Fellowes introduced the Finger Mouse years ago for specialized uses, but a search on the production numbers brings up 3G Green Green Globe Co.'s claim to the patent and sole production. Apparently Fellowes gets 3G to produce them with the Fellowes' branding or else Fellowes was bought out.

Hands which cannot use a desktop mouse [think repetitive motion injury] and hands distant from the desktop ought to find this an easy to operate alternative. A presenter might use it from a podium more easily than a remote control. Or where lack of space is a problem. The five foot USB cable would make this pointing device handy for Web movie viewing while gliding on an elliptial machine.

Gotta love that shiny M&M-bright-green ball, but if you don't they also make a purple or black ball with the black body or white with a black ball. The company's website displays similar models in transparent colored versions (while an annoying music loop devoid of an embedded off switch intrudes upon the visitor). An identical looking inexpensive device made by BTX got rave reviews for comfort among users along with complaints about its short lifespan.

Fellowes MicroTrac Finger Mouse

By the way, Bud Barber in Colorado acquired a similar black on silver Fellowes MicroTrac mouse in good shape except that it is missing the ball or retaining ring. He reports that it works with a marble! His transcription of the production numbers on the mouse helped reveal 3G's claim of the patent for the gadget.

Reader comment - "...The biggest thing on this mouse is lint..."

Fellowes finger trackball

4D Off-Table Hand Track
gift to oldmouse.com from Ashley Wilson

3G finger trackball

Fellowes finger trackball

Fellowes MicroTrac finger mouse missing its ball and retainer ring.
Photos courtesy © Bud Barber 2009

Fellowes finger trackball

Fellowes finger trackball