TetraMouse HomeTetraMouse Homeby TetraLite Products
The low cost, hands free, high precision, full function mouth operated mouse.
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TetraMouse Mission and Goals

To provide persons with disabilities with a mouse capable of precision operation on the order of that required for programs such as AutoCAD, CorelDraw, Photoshop, etc., as well as a simple to use mouse for everyday tasks such as web browsing, email and word processing with full mouse functionality at a price lower than any other similar mouse on the market. Additional goals include making this technology functional without attachment to the user in order to provide greater independence and offering a transferable lifetime warranty and forever transferable customer support that follows the TetraMouse even if it is sold or given to another individual.

To promote the development of more affordable assistive technology and hopefully, to help start a trend in the "special needs" industry towards making all types of equipment less expensive and thereby more accessible.

To give customers the best possible support in a timely manner.

Why and How the TetraMouse was Developed

A good friend of mine, Mary, had a brother, Dennis, with ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig's disease). Mary asked me if I would research mouth-operated computer mice on the internet in order that her brother could use the computer, so I searched online and found several existing products (see the "Compare" page). These mice all look like good quality, usable products, but as I studied them I couldn't help but wonder why they all cost so much money. I also noticed that most other accessories for handicapped people seemed to have unreasonable price tags. It is understandable, to some degree, that the development costs of such equipment can be very high when that development is farmed out to professional design engineers. So, I would presume that part of the problem with the cost is due to the developers trying to recover their R&D investments. Another thing that seems to happen with equipment that is considered "medical" or "special needs" is that the market is smaller than it is for everyday items that are sold to hundreds and even thousands of people on a regular basis, hence, the price per item must be higher in order to stay in business. This is the reason TetraMouse models, being the lowest price units available, cost as much as they do! And then there are the cases where they apparently just plain gouge the customers because they have a product that is indeed a special item and not commonly available. They have a captive market and some of them just might be greedy enough to take advantage wherever they can. Hopefully, that is not the case, but I find it hard to justify some of the incredibly high-priced offers I've seen and the mark-ups by some vendors.

It made me angry thinking about how people with special needs have to deal with everything the least bit specialized being so expensive all the time. Being an electronics and mechanical design engineer with many years of experience, I asked myself, "Why not see how much it would cost for me to develop a no-hands mouse?" So I did. I didn't have to farm out any design work because I did it all myself. I didn't try to make it extra fancy with lots of frills. I just wanted it to work well, but it developed into a mouse having more features than most mice of any type! I noticed many of the no-hands mice use a joystick combined with a "sip and puff" switch to facilitate mouse clicking. Because Dennis was on a ventilator system, I decided to find another way to do the clicking. I figured if you can move a joystick you don't need to complicate the design by adding an expensive sip and puff switch with the associated messy saliva filter replacements. All you need to do is add another joystick to do the mouse-clicks. And in Dennis' case, sip and puff was not a good option because of his limited breathing capability.

My resulting TetraMouse design is no nonsense, simple, rugged, easy to use, affordable, precise and works great! The TetraMouse has undergone ongoing development and now I offer two advanced models with electronics made entirely without lead in a plastic housing that is tough, biodegradable and non-toxic.

Sadly for us, Mary's brother Dennis has now passed on to a better place. Mary, who, along with her brother Dennis, had the rare 'familial' variety of ALS. She passed away in my arms in 2005, the year I began building and selling the first TetraMouse models. Her passing only strengthens my resolve to continue the TetraMouse project and to try to be a positive example to the assistive technology industry in order to demonstrate that such products do not have to be prohibitively expensive -- it is a tough battle.

I dedicate this site and the TetraMouse project to Mary and Dennis, without whom this project would never have been launched. Even though Mary didn't like computers, and didn't want to use one, she supported my project completely because, well, she had a good heart (the best!) and liked the idea of helping those seeking assistive technology.

It is my firm resolve to do my very best to continue to help provide individuals with affordable assistive technology in order to improve their quality of life. Doing so has been most rewarding for me and has improved the quality and meaning of my life, as well as that of my customers.

-- Mark Snyder
TetraLite Products

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