A finger mouse is a tiny computer mouse worn on the user's finger. Most designs consist of an optical sensor light, two mouse buttons, a mouse wheel, and an adjustable finger strap. This compact mouse works on any surface, making it ideal for mobile computing. Both wired and wireless versions are available commercially, although a universal serial bus (USB) port is required to connect either to a computer.
The main appeal of a finger mouse lies in its portability. A typical finger mouse is roughly one-third the size of a regular hand-held computer mouse. Since the mouse works via an optical sensor, motion tracking is possible on any surface; mouse pads and other similar surfaces are not necessary. This allows users to navigate the mouse despite limited available space, as is often the case during travel situations. In addition, a finger mouse usually weighs a quarter to a third of the weight of a conventional mouse, making it easier to bring around.
Operation of a finger mouse begins by plugging its connector into one of the computer's USB ports. Most manufacturers make their devices plug-and-play, meaning the software drivers the mouse needs to function are automatically installed into the computer when the device is plugged in. In the case of a wireless finger mouse, the device will need to be charged before use. The mouse is typically worn on the middle or index finger. The thumb is used to click both mouse buttons and to manipulate the mouse wheel.
The user's finger should then be positioned vertically over the work surface. This allows the mouse's optical sensor to track the finger's movement. If the device is working properly, the computer's cursor should accurately follow the movement of the user's finger.
Reviews on finger mice have been mixed. Individuals who favor the finger mouse claim that its design relieves hand strain by minimizing the number of movements necessary for computer use. Others praise the technology, saying that it brings computer use a step closer to becoming more interactive with natural human motion. Less-practical reviews highlight the device's aesthetics, favoring the mouse for its unique appearance.
Negative reviews on finger mice usually dwell on its unconventionality. Many users complain that the vertical finger orientation takes getting used to, as does the method of clicking. Reviewers also raise the issue of the mouse's size; although smaller than conventional mice, a finger mouse feels relatively large when mounted on the finger and can often get in the way during typing. The orientation of the mouse buttons also leaves little option for left-handed computer users.