There is a term associated with touchscreen computer interfaces that many are not familiar with. The term is called "Gorillia Arm". This term is very effective at painting an interesting picture in one's mind. It brings to mind the image of a big hairy ape pounding away on a computer. The reality is a bit different. Gorilla arm is more precisely used to describe the phenomenon in which a person's fine motor skills become clumsy after a prolonged period of time using a touch screen computer.
Users have discovered that if a computer operator is using a touchscreen interface that is vertically oriented such as is on a computer monitor, that after a very short period of time their arms may begin to feel tired and heavy. When the operators of arms begin to feel this way, their fine motor skills becoming impaired and they're not able to make accurate movements with their hands. This impairment can cause operators to make input mistakes. More importantly, prolonged use of a vertically oriented touchscreen may result in repetitive motion injuries.
Touch interfaces are relatively new to the personal computing world. There are only a handful of computers equipped with touch screens. A very small percentage of computer users own computers would touch screens. Due to the fact that so few people use touch screens for personal computing, it's still too soon to fully understand how big of a problem Gorilla arm will become or if it will become a problem at all.
One thing is almost certain. This new type of computer interface is making it's way into more and more Computer Devices. The day will soon come when many if not all computers are equipped with touch input devices.
15 January 2010 Hardware