The Ratpadz GS

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The original Ratpadz was created using an 11.5″ x 9.25″ surface; the surface was a textured plastic surface to create low friction that was easily washable and sturdy; strong rubber feet kept it in place.

The new version of the RatpadzGS improves on the original design by reducing its thickness, improving the surface, and by using a cunning ribbed backside to distribute forces better to the rubber feet so it does not slip.

A Closer Look – Physical Inspection

Now taking a closer inspection of the RatpadzGS design, you can see that everything about it is very deliberate. Let us start with the surface itself.

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At first glance, the surface itself is unremarkable. Running your fingers over it is not very impressive – it feels like linoleum tile you find on your kitchen floor. It also feels to have a fair bit of friction on your fingers. This is deceptive since your fingers are soft and “rubbery” therefore creating friction. In testing with a mouse, it is much smoother and slick, so don’t let the “finger test” fool you.

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The logo on the top-left is the only part of the surface that is not textured. The mouse continues to track properly in this area, but there is a slight bump as the mouse makes the transition from the texture to the smooth surface. This causes the mouse to “skip” slightly. I assume the reason for not having the logo on the same surface as the rest of the pad is so that the logo doesn’t wear out with regular use. This is good for showing off your gear and for marketing reasons, but it is a very minor nuisance if you find yourself mousing in the top-right corner.

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Many people may not have thought about this, but the rounded edges serve a purpose. If the edges were not rounded, you would find customers cutting their wrists on it. Thanks to Ratpadz for designing that so that we may survive our computing sessions.

I have studied human factors and repetitive strain injury, and from an ergonomic point of view, the thickness of the RatpadzGS is great. When using a mouse, you want your arms to be as level to the desk surface as possible without bending at the wrists. The RatpadzGS helps this by being thin – only 5 pennies or 2 floppy disks thick.

But of course none of this means much if your posture is bad to begin with (please see IBM’s Healthy Computing guide for some quick tips on computer ergonomics).

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The backside of the pad borrows from centuries of Engineering. The ribbed structure is designed to distribute the forces across the ribs to the rubber feet. This ensures that the surface remains flat (i.e. does not warp over use) and that the rubber feet grip the desk properly. It appears that there are two locations on the back where additional feet were supposed to go. From my experience, the absence of these feet did not reduce the grip in anyway. Reducing on 2 rubber feet probably kept material costs down which translates into cheaper prices for consumers.

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