I’ve recently been gifted a curious piece of technology by a colleague at work.
It was cold in the office that day and we jokingly wondered why nobody had yet invented a mouse pad hand warmer. One quick Google search revealed that someone indeed *had* invented such a device, and not much later, said colleague had ordered one for me to try.
The concept is fairly straight forward. Instead of having your hand exposed to the elements, you keep it in a safe, protective pouch that becomes heated when plugged into your usb port. My version has the appearance of a blue fish. Your hand goes inside the fish’s mouth, and there is a hole at the tail end for the mouse cable. It’s not the most imaginative design, but I guess such things as an oven, a volcano, a gutted Taun taun, or the bosom of an October fest waitress were either too obvious or not safe for work.
Anyway, I do genuinely like the idea of a hand warmer, but a lot seems to have gone wrong in the execution.
The hand warmer has a few notable problems.
- The cable is too short to use in combination with a pc, unless the tower sits directly on your desk. I tried plugging it into the usb slot of my monitor, but the heating elements can’t draw enough power that way, so nothing much happens.
- The pouch is too small to perform any kind of meaningful mouse movements. I suggest setting cursor movement speed to max if you want to use this thing.
- The outer fabric is nice and soft, but on the inside, the fabric is a little scratchy. I understand that the product looks more attractive with a furry skin, but the only purpose for its existence is to warm your hand, and it’s going to do that a lot less effectively with the scratchy part of the material.
- Even though the bottom layer is made out of rubber (the hand warmer will smell like the inner tire of your bicycle for the first couple of days), it’s so smooth that you end up sliding the pad around on your desk. The best you can do is sort of pin it down with your wrist and make small gestures with your hand. But even then it’s hard to prevent the tail end from sliding around.
- The heating is performed by two thin strips of metal, guarded by a thin piece of fabric, that get hot when the device is plugged in. It’s not super distracting, but you will notice that the strips are getting hot, while the rest of the pad isn’t. It would have been nice if the heat was more dispersed somehow, and if I could set the intensity myself.
I feel that a longer cable, a more rugged bottom surface, a softer inside, and a larger surface area would have gone a long way to make the hand warmer actually useful.
So yea, it’s a mostly useless device, but probably an OK gift for guys who need to keep their other hand warm while “browsing the internet”.