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A bug for a mouse? That's the look of the new mouse for youngsters designed by KidzMouse, Inc. But this bug has another design goal beyond aesthetics in mind -- meeting the unique needs of children. According to the makers of KidzMouse, not only do children have smaller hands than adults, they have more difficulty learning how to 'tap' a conventional mouse button. Ergo, the need for a "better mouse[trap]".
The KidzMouse is initially available in three colorful models: a ladybug, a bumble bee, and a funny bug. Each is approximately 3-1/2" long by 2-1/4" wide, compared to perhaps 4-1/2" by 2-1/2" for a more conventional mouse. But in addition to being smaller and brighter, a KidzMouse can be clicked by simply squeezing a side of the head of the bug, as well as by the more conventional tapping technique.
Our four, seven, and 10 year-old testers liked the looks of the bugs, er, mice, and found the size comfortable. Our seven year-old reported that, "It's fun and it works well." Hard to beat that for concise! One of our review families also reported that the KidzMouse has become the permanent mouse on their kids' computer.
According to KidzMouse, the bugs work with the standard USB and PS/2 mouse driver that is installed with Windows 95/98/2000/Me/XP, and with the Mac operating system. In our tests on Windows Me, the mouse installed without any problems. We simply plugged it into the USB port on the back of the machine, turned on the computer, and it worked.
Relative ease of use, versus a conventional mouse, however, was a matter of personal preference in our tests. Squeezing the head of the bug to click on an on-screen object or link is simple and comfortable. However, all of our young reviewers encountered occasions where their squeezing action inadvertently clicked both the left and right sides of the head simultaneously -- producing unintended effects. Interestingly, not all of our adult reviewers encountered this problem, because they tended to use the mouse as a conventional mouse, tapping on either the left or right sides of the bug's head. Is this a major problem? No -- but it can negate the claimed squeeze versus click coordination advantage.
KidzMouse is a colorful, child-sized mouse, sure to attract a young child's attention and enthusiasm. The product worked well in our tests, once users learned how to position their fingers so that squeezes were focused only on one side or the other of the mouse.
PC: Windows 95/98/2000/Me/XP using the USB port or serial port.return to top of page
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