Roland Piquepaille's Technology Trends
How new technologies are modifying our way of life

lundi 21 avril 2003

This week, ExtremeTech decided to review alternate input devices for your computers.

Today, let's discover the vertical SafeType keyboard, which according to the company, reduces the risk of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Before going further, let's look at a picture of this $295 keyboard.

 The SafeType ergonomic computer keyboard

Here is the beginning of Robyn Peterson's review of this unusual keyboard.

According to the manufacturer, the vertical placement of the keyboard allows the user to type while keeping the forearms in a neutral position (with the thumbs up). With a standard flat keyboard, in order to type the hands are rotated so that the palms are parallel with the floor (this is called a "pronated" position). In the pronated position, the bones in the forearm twist with the wrist and scissor. This scissoring of the bones causes extra pressure to be forced upon the Carpal Tunnel.
On the other hand, so claims the manufacturer, typing on this keyboard while in the neutral position alleviates most of the stress on the Carpal Tunnel, and hence should be more comfortable in the long run.

OK, this is what says the company. What about real tests?

We will tell no lies, when we initially installed the SafeType keyboard, the first few sentences were hard won. However, since the keys are positioned in virtually the same layout as a standard QWERTY keyboard, we were able to grasp the basic use fairly quickly.
Over the course of a day or two, our typing became fluid. The trick: the less you think about typing, the more successful you are on this keyboard. Don't be bogged down by trying to visually picture the keys on each side of the board, but rather try to tune into that inner keyboard mojo and just let yours fingers roll.

Peterson liked this keyboard, but added that "the current placement of the number keys and arrows may frustrate programmers," even if special -- and more expensive -- versions are available for them.

So, would you use one of these keyboards? Please send me your comments.

Source: Robyn Peterson, ExtremeTech, April 21, 2003

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