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What is the Unimouse?
At Contour Design, our goal has always been to push the limits of ergonomic mousing. And we've done it once again with the Unimouse.
The Unimouse is a fully adjustable ergonomic mouse. It's unique design allows it to be quickly and easily adjusted to fit your unique hand posture and mousing style. No two human hands are the same, so we made a mouse which can fit them all.
The Unimouse has 4 unique adjustments to create the most comfortable mousing position for any user.
Tilt Adjustment: The body of the mouse can be tilted at an angle from its base in order to achieve a more vertical hand position. Not only does this allow for you to find the best angle for your workstyle, it also helps you to rest different muscle groups every time you make an adjustment. The tilt range is from 35 degree min. to a 70 degree max.
Thumb Extension: The Unimouse thumb support can be adjusted in multiple ways. One of which is Thumb Extension. The extension of the thumb can increase or decrease the grip width of the mouse for varied hand sizes.
Thumb Position: Thumb Position allows the entire thumb support section to be shifted forward or backward as much as 14mm from center position. By shifting the position of the thumb support, you can keep your thumb centered on the pad regardless of your individual thumb length, increasing your accuracy while mousing and reducing thumb cramping.
Thumb Rotation: The Unimouse thumb support is mounted on a rotating ball joint, allowing for free movement in nearly any direction. Just one more way to create the most comfortable grip for your hand.
The Unimouse Project started in 2016 with a single goal. Create a mouse that could adjust to fit any hand size. We chose this goal for the reasons listed.
1. A mouse for any size hand, taking into account all of the benefits of ergonomic posture and shaping, could provide relief to any user without discrimination.
2. A one-size-fits-all solution could be sold to everyone equally, eliminating the need for multiple tools or skews.
Early concepts explored the idea of segmenting the mouse into areas which could be shifted independently, even going so far as to imagine adjustable buttons. Ultimately these options were too difficult to engineer and would have resulted in large spaces which could become "pinch points" if used incorrectly.
However, it was from this brainstorming that we came up with the idea to do an adjustable mouse that also adjusted its' tilt angle. This feature, while not addressing variable hand sizes, did present a unique ergonomic benefit which would give users the ultimate control over their comfort while mousing.
Using these concepts, we consulted with resellers, ergonomists, and end users in order to narrow down the sizes, shapes, and adjustments which would provide the most benefit to users.
In the end, we discovered that along with varying the tilt angle, the adjustable thumb support ended up being the most beneficial feature. It was a unique feature that was absent from competitor designs and carried an important role in mousing precision. Not to mention that articulation of the thumb allowed for previously unattainable hand postures which were more comfortable for end users.
First Functional Prototype
The first prototype of the design included a locking tilt adjustment, double ball joint thumb support, and an extendable key section.
Although this design was promising and confirmed some of our thoughts, it also brought attention to many areas which needed improvement.
The locking mechanism which held the tilt adjustment in place was too cumbersome to use. Also the gap created by the extended key section created pinch points which caused discomfort. And the overall size and weight of the model was unrealistic for daily use.
Based off of the feedback we received on our first functional prototype, we went back to the drawing board.
We removed the extendable key adjustment in favor of a more comfortable top surface. The double ball joint thumb support was replaced with a telescoping mechanism, and we began to focus more on the aesthetic qualities of the product.
Our target market included general office workers as well as those in both the tech and creative industries. This inspired small adjustments to the shaping to give the design a less industrial look. We also spent a lot of time considering areas of texturing and placement of rubber grips in order to create the best possible grip feel. Other colors and materials were chosen based on their direct relation to the Contour Brand Language (red pop color, aluminum accenting, black or metallic grey body color).
Thumb Support Design
We focused a considerable amount of time on the shape, curvature, and texture of the thumb support.
Considering the importance of the thumb support, we wanted to create a pad that would successfully cradle the thumb while also acting as an anchor point during mousing. This required a lengthy exploration which culminated in the final shape.
The final design was launched in the fall of 2017. It's currently available in the United States, Canada, and Europe.
The Unimouse awards for design excellence from the following institutions.
RedDot Design Award 2018
Computer Input Device
Learn more at RedDot21
IDA Design Award 2018, Bronze
Media and Home Electronics-Consumer Electronics and Cameras
Learn more at IDA Design Award