What makes a product truly innovative? Well, at Kensington™, we believe that any device or peripheral that improves the life and convenience of the user is an excellent place to start. When we envisioned the Orbit® Fusion™ wireless trackball, our team stayed true to the main tenant of ergonomics, which is designing for the user.
The result speaks for itself, but we thought we’d let our Senior Lead Industrial Designer, Erik Campbell, chip in and provide more comments on the latest addition to our trackball range of input devices. Below we’ll take a look at what drove the development of the Orbit Fusion wireless trackball and why we believe it will usher in a new era of precision control and user convenience.
Q & A: Thoughts from Our Senior Lead Industrial Designer on the Development of the Orbit Fusion Wireless Trackball
Choosing between an ergonomic mouse and trackball comes down to your personal preference. Our first trackball hit the market in 1992, and we’ve been refining our range with more efficient and comfortable versions for nearly 30 years. Here’s what Erik Campbell had to say about the Orbit Fusion wireless trackball project.
Question 1: What Was the Inspiration Behind the Orbit Fusion Wireless Trackball?
We derived our inspiration from the physical attributes of the hand while in its resting position. The intent was to design a trackball that felt comfortable when a user places their hand on the device. To achieve this, we studied many different hand sizes and recorded the way the arm muscles reacted to the design with different iterations of the product.
Proper ergonomics were the guiding force in our methodology while we fine-tuned the overall shape of the Orbit Fusion trackball. We optimized the size and location of the trackball using research, which also allowed us to perfect the button sizes and press force required to operate the device. By gathering valuable data using Electromyography (EMG) during the design stages, we could rely on sensor technology that informed our mockups, prototypes, and final design from multiple data points recorded during the process.
Question 2: How did You Decide on the Color of the Orbit Fusion Trackball?
We are well-known for our unique trackballs and security devices. The signature black with the prominent metallic red ball has become part of our brand identity when it comes to our trackballs. This made deciding on a color scheme for the Orbit Fusion Kensington trackball a no brainer. We wanted a recognizable device that people would immediately associate with a brand known for their versatility, convenience, and comfort.
The final color scheme was also informed by the public. After surveying users, we noted that most consumers wanted a device that looks professional while still having a pop of color for their desks. The black and red color scheme came out on top (once again), and that made it easy to design this finger-operated trackball’s appearance.
Question 3: What do You Think is Special about the Orbit Fusion Trackball Mouse Design?
Compared to others, the Orbit Fusion trackball is special as it features a forefinger actuated ball and scroll-ring. These technologies are unique to Kensington and have become popular with audio and video recording artists around the world. Sound engineers, in particular, favor Kensington trackballs, as it provides a greater level of precision when working with cuts and beats during studio sessions.
We take pride in knowing that our solutions are helping create music that positively touches millions of lives. Audio and video engineers understandably have an expectation of quality when it comes to their input device, and Kensington is happy that this community prefers our solutions to create new and exciting productions.
Question 4: How Long Did it Take to Create the Orbit Fusion Wireless Trackball and How Many Rounds of Mockups Did You Go Through?
From our first sketch to the final product (and with many bumps along the way), it took us about two and a half years to finalize the design. To make sure we were creating something that consumers would love, we built approximately 50 different mockups.
The design goal was to create a trackball that sophisticated consumers would enjoy, while also making it possible for first-time trackball users to convert quickly and easily to a new device. Our design considerations focused on both new users and those who wanted the best trackball for pro tools.
Question 5: Can You Describe the General Process You Used to Create the Orbit Fusion Trackball?
The process we use focuses heavily on ergonomics. We constantly review data points and make adjustments to find the optimal design for users that keep their wellbeing and comfort in mind during every iteration.
To find the optimal design, we started with basic sketches before moving to hand-sculpted 3D models. We then used 3D CAD models to tweak the design and used 3D prints for hand testing and ergonomic reviews. We constantly used:
- User reviews and survey testing for the Orbit Fusion trackball.
- EMG testing and button studies.
- Ball size and form development research were also featured heavily during the process.
There is never one clear path to developing a new product, so we knew it would be a unique experience to create this trackball mouse. Designing the best trackball made every day interesting and offered new challenges while giving us experiences we could learn from.
Question 6: What’s Your Favorite Thing about the Trackball Computer Mouse?
There are so many innovations that went into building this ergonomic trackball mouse, that my favorite thing is hard to choose. The sculpted shape and specialized scroll ring stand out, but boosting a user’s productivity and enhancing their wellbeing is probably what elevates this project beyond others.
Ushering In a New Era of Productivity with the Orbit Fusion USB Trackball
Kensington remains committed to developing products that help professionals and general users get the most out of their devices. Our Orbit Fusion wireless trackball provides greater convenience and comfort to users while showing our commitment to helping everyone be as productive as possible, no matter what environment you work from.