The Quha Zono Mouse is an assistive technology for anyone who can’t effectively or easily use a hand-operated computer mouse. It works gyroscopically, meaning it allows the user to move the cursor on a screen with head movements. Three iterations of the mouse exist: the original Zono, the Zono 2 and the Zono X.
There are four main components to the Zono Mouse: the movement tracking device, the mounting tool, the usb plug-in, and the clicking device.
The main device is the Air Mouse. The Air Mouse is equipped with advanced gyroscopic technology, allowing for intuitive movements and ease of use. The USB Receiver plugs into the laptop or computer so that the Air Mouse can connect to the device. This can stay plugged into a laptop permanently, if desired. I will discuss the mounting tools and clicking devices later on within the analytical framework.
Through the lens of the Social Model of Disability, one can see that the motivation for this product stems from the belief that access to products and services for all, including disabled people, is a human right. The Functional Solutions model takes it further and prioritizes the creation of a tool that allows that access – in this case, the Zono Mouse allows people who can’t use a hand-controlled mouse the ability to use a computer or laptop. Access to a laptop means the same ability to learn, connect, work, and express oneself through the device in the same ways an able-bodied person can.
From the perspective of the Economic Model of Disability, this assistive technology specifically grants people the ability to work. For example, the Quha website shows an interview with one of its users, Maria, who explains that the Zono allowed her to pursue her career in engineering after a car accident caused her to become tetraplegic.
The device is small and lightweight, making for comfortable use but it difficult to keep track of. It also has a battery life of 30 hours, and afterwards you need to charge the device. For some with uncontrolled movements, using the Zono may be frustrating at times, as the mouse will move with any unintended head movements.
Due to lack of mobility, it may be difficult for the user to put on the headpiece themselves, making them reliable on others to begin to use the device, and take off and charge the device. The second piece that connects the computer to the mouse is a USB Receiver plug-in, presenting a similar problem.
Zono is most commonly used by people with Tetraplegia, Dysmelia, Multiple Sclerosis, Repetitive strain injuries, Amputations, ALS, Muscular Dystrophy and Cerebral Palsy. However, this technology may be useful for people with other conditions, including hand tremors and joint pain, that are caused by other neurological/inflammatory diseases. Those without any ability to move will not be able to use this technology, and can consider eye tracking instead for use of laptops and computers.
Testimonials and reviews show users who are satisfied with the quality and usability of the product. Compared to competitors in the market, the Zono most importantly has the most wearing options and switch inputs (clicking device compatibility).
The Zono Mouses are NOT affordable – because of its emerging gyroscope technology and its best-in-class accuracy, the cost for just the Air Mouse, USB Receiver and corresponding click software is $999. Additional tools that allow you to click range from $90 manual switches to $500 “puff/air” switches, that allow you to click by blowing out puffs of air. However, it seems from the reviews that Quha helps customers find ways to fundraise in order to afford the tech.
For adaptability, the mouse comes with multiple mounting options. A user can attach the air mouse to their ear, eyeglasses, or use a strap to attach to another limb like a foot, arm, hand, etc. The Air Mouse can be oriented any way to start with, for example on its side, flat, etc, and then moved using any part of the body.
The clicking devices range, but with the purchase or the Zono, a customer also gets the Quha Dwell software, which includes an auto-click feature (hover over the item for an amount of time, and it clicks or double clicks / amount of time is personalized). The user is not required to use a Quha device to click: they can use any assistive clicking technologies in conjunction with the Zono Air Mouse. Inversely, the Dwell Auto-click Software can be used with any Assistive Mouse. Both the Air Mouse (Zono) and the Auto-click Software (Dwell) are compatible with main operating systems (Windows, Mac, Chrome, Android).