NZ mouse maker seeks partners

After finding normal mice too much of a pain, Christchurch designer Hugo Sandall knew he could do better.

After finding normal mice too much of a pain, Christchurch designer Hugo Sandall knew he could do better.

Five years and almost $500,000 of his own money later, he is ready to bring his patented Hugo Mouse to market. But he wants it made in New Zealand.

"I was suffering badly in my hand and had substantial pain from normal mouse use and decided that there had to be a better product." The resulting cordless mouse comes in three sizes for left and right-handed people. "It has the ability to support the majority of the inner surface of the hand in its most relaxed state. This position enables the blood flow to the extremities of the hand, reducing the risk of repetitive strain and/or health risks associated with cccupational overuse syndrome," Sandall says.

The Hugo Mouse interacts with a desktop receiving device that includes a web camera and USB hub. It is radio-frequency wireless and has a thumb scroll pad, with finger print memory for extra security.

Sandall's one-man company, Softech Design, is now looking for a joint-venture partner to manufacture it. Sandall "is exhausting all avenues" to find one and has eliminated a few prospects both here and overseas as not specialist enough. But he still believes the expertise exists within New Zealand.

Sandall says his Hugo Mouse has received universal acclaim from occupational therapists and "power users" of input devices.

Softech Design has just received $2000 from the Ministry of Economic Development's Enterprise Award Scheme for business mentoring and planning and "fine tuning" the product to get it ready to market. "It is now fully prototyped to manufacturing specifications. All the hard work has been done," Sandall says.

The retail price, with availability depending on manufacture, is expected to be in the $120 to $140 range.

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