Computers use with tremors: What solutions are available to computer users who have tremors impacting their use of a keyboard or mouse?
What solutions are available to computer users who have tremors impacting their use of a keyboard or mouse?
Products mentioned in our answer below are provided to inform you about the types of technologies available and have not been evaluated by CanAssist. They may or may not be appropriate for your particular situation. Some technologies and devices may require an in-person assessment. Speak with your health care provider for additional information and support.
Computers and technology have so many benefits including facilitating communication and artistic expression. However, the conventional mouse and keyboard can be a barrier for computer users with tremors. Fortunately, there are some innovative solutions to help improve digital accessibility.
One possible option is to dampen the tremor by using basic wrist weights. For example, theEverlast Comfort Fit Wrist Weights (at Amazon Canada) are made of soft terrycloth and weigh 2.5 lb each. This product costs about $24 (CDN).
There is also mouse smoothing as a software solution that helps computer users with tremors to use a mouse. This option acts to filter out the shaking motions, thus allowing for smoother control of the cursor. SteadyMouse is a computer program for Windows intent on addressing mouse-related challenges associated with tremors. The features include reducing the impacts of shaking motion and blocking out unintentional mouse clicks. There are three versions: SteadyMouse 1 which is free, SteadyMouse 2 which is $43 (USD), and SteadyMouse X which is $127 (USD).
There are also several promising hardware solutions that are intended to improve mouse control for users who experience tremors. For users who intend to keep their existing mouse the AMAneo USB by CSS MicroSystems (from inclusivetlc.com) is an assistive 'Anti-Tremor Mouse Adaptor'. It connects between the mouse and the device to facilitate the smooth movement of the cursor. It has adjustable controls and does not require any software installation. The Windows version is available for $265 (USD) plus a shipping fee, and an iOS version is available for $350 (USD). Another option is We have listed a few hardware options below that could replace an existing mouse or touchpad:
- Bigtrack Switch Adapted Trackball by Ablenet (at bridgescanada.com) is a trackball mouse with distinct left and right-click buttons. Trackballs do not require the same amount of accurate finger and wrist movements as a mouse does. This product costs about $135 (CDN).
- Hippus HandShoe Mouse by Prestige International, Inc. (at amazon.ca) is a mouse with a unique ergonomic shape that does not require as much gripping for pinching as a conventional mouse. Users with Parkinson’s, arthritis and other movement disorders have identified this mouse as a useful product. It costs about $150 (CDN).
For computer users who make brief or repeated keystrokes, there may be a solution within the settings. Newer versions of Windows offer the Filter Keys function within the keyboard settings which tells the computer to ignore accidental keystrokes.
Keyguards have also been helpful in improving typing accuracy for some computer users with tremors. Keyguards are placed over the keyboard and put space between each key, thus reducing the chance of pressing one of the adjacent keys while typing.
- Keys-U-See Keyboard and Keyguard by AbleNet (at specialneedscomputers.ca) is a highly visible keyboard with a transparent keyguard. These two products cost about $59 (CDN).
- Chester Creek Keyguard by AbleNet (at specialneedscomputers.ca) is a transparent keyguard for the VisionBoard 2. The keyboard features 2.5 cm square keys and works with PC, Mac, or Chromebook computers. The keyguard costs about $117 (CDN) and the keyboard costs about $118 (CDN).
- iPad Keyboard Keyguard by Keyguard Assistive Technology has a variety of customization options to support typing on an iPad starting at about $40 (USD), plus shipping fees.
- If the tablet is intended for running a specific communication app, such as TouchChat, there may be custom keyguards available such as these from LoganTech. Prices start at around $90 (USD), plus shipping fees.
Here are some additional products and resources specifically for Mac users.
- DwellClick by Pilotmoon Software (at pilotmoon.com) is a program that allows clickless operation of a computer, with features such as auto-click and auto-drag, and costs about $10 (USD). There's a similar program for Windows called Dwell Clicker 2 by SmartBox Assistive Technology.
- To learn more about the accessibility features of Mac computers, here are guides from imore.com and Shirley Ryan AbilityLab.
There are so many more ways to control a computer beyond a touchpad, mouse or a trackball -including new options for using your head, eyes, voice, and more. You can read more in this article from Better Living Technology where they address the wide range of computer mouse alternatives.