October 29, 2002
Mr. Bill Gates
1 Microsoft Way
Redmond, WA 98052
RE: Ergonomics of Game Controllers Handles is Bad – Crippling Children’s Fingers
Dear Mr. Gates:
Further to my letters to you of June 1, and June 27, about the above topic, I haven’t heard from your office. Apparently your people
are unaware of how to identify the problem with the bending and twisting of the children’s fingers.
The problem with your games is the “game controllers” are made of hard plastic and when the children grasp it, the pressure of
their grip forces their fingers to twist and bend to conform to the contour of the handles. The contour of the "game controller" does
not match the natural design of the human fingers or joints. The "game controllers" do not allow center-pressure to the fingers,
thus while the children are holding the handles…. their fingers bend and twist. This puts diagonal pressure on the finger joints
which results in bone joint damage. The joints in the fingers deform to adjust to the controller handles. This is permanent
damage…and it is accumulative. Once it happens..it doesn’t go back.
Nintendo and Sony have the problem and your design is the same as theirs. Your controllers are bad also. Please review the
photos I have posted at this web site: http://photos.yahoo.com/miketomich. The pictures at this site represent the full spectrum of
the damage from the controllers over the ages indicated.
Your game controllers are not the only cause. When you view the pictures, look closely at the 11 year old young lady – Whitney.
Along with playing Nintendo and Sony, Whitney played the portable, calculator size, hand held, electronic games. You can see this
by the deformity in the tips of her fingers being bent. Had her mother or other children, I’ve seen like this, known this would
happen, I’m sure they wouldn’t have played it…because none of these games or controllers are Ergonomically designed. They all
provide uneven twisting pressure to the finger joints in the fingers effort to center itself to the pressure necessary to hold and play
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There is no excuse for this issue. The ISO 9000 Series for Quality Standards provide tools for studying designs FMEA’s of
products. I’m sure you didn’t purposely design these controllers to cause the bending of the children’s fingers like this. The longer
you wait…obviously, the more children will become crippled.
I plead with you to do a redesign, like I’ve mentioned with the “jell inserts?”, get notice to your customers, immediately make the
public aware of the defective controllers and availability of re-designed replacements.
This is real. Not a hoax. I asked that your engineers contact me so I could discuss this with them in detail. I offered to meet with
anyone at your company anywhere in an effort to help resolve this. Nothing happened. Now I ask, how many more have been sold
since I reported this design error to you in June. This twisting and bending will only cripple them and get worse as they get older.
Please contact me if there are any questions. I would appreciate discussing this with your design engineers, or anyone you wish.
Please let me know what your short and long term corrective action will be to resolve the problem and keep similar from happening
Michigan Attorney General’s Office, Complaint #: AG200215763
State of Washington Attorney General's Office, Complaint # 170891