Computers

Truly Ergonomic claims to revolutionize typing

Truly Ergonomic claims to revo...
The Truly Ergonomic Keyboard claims to offer typists a more natural, less painful way to tap away for extended periods
The Truly Ergonomic Keyboard claims to offer typists a more natural, less painful way to tap away for extended periods
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The Truly Ergonomic Keyboard features an embedded numeric keypad that's activated by tapping the NumLock key on or off
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The Truly Ergonomic Keyboard features an embedded numeric keypad that's activated by tapping the NumLock key on or off
The Truly Ergonomic Keyboard can be integrated with a removable, cushioned palm rest
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The Truly Ergonomic Keyboard can be integrated with a removable, cushioned palm rest
Rather than stagger the keys, the Truly Ergonomic Keyboard layout offers more comfortable, natural key positioning
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Rather than stagger the keys, the Truly Ergonomic Keyboard layout offers more comfortable, natural key positioning
The Truly Ergonomic Keyboard is built using Cherry MX Mechanical Keyswitches
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The Truly Ergonomic Keyboard is built using Cherry MX Mechanical Keyswitches
The Truly Ergonomic Keyboard claims to offer typists a more natural, less painful way to tap away for extended periods
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The Truly Ergonomic Keyboard claims to offer typists a more natural, less painful way to tap away for extended periods
Comparison chart showing various keyboard options available to typists, with the Truly Ergonomic Keyboard claiming to be the healthiest choice
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Comparison chart showing various keyboard options available to typists, with the Truly Ergonomic Keyboard claiming to be the healthiest choice

There are a number of keyboards that claim to be ergonomic, but only one claims to be "truly ergonomic." Many input devices available today stagger the keys across the available keying area, resulting in even the most proficient touch typist having to move around more than is desirable. The makers of the Truly Ergonomic Keyboard claim that their redesign brings all keys within easy reach, which should lead to decreased discomfort in a world where most of us spend much of our lives tapping away in front of one computer screen or another.

Here at Gizmag we've seen numerous funky keyboards and many have offered some unique ease-of-use or comfort property to help them stand out from competitors. Some have been specifically aimed at a certain type of users, such as gamers, others have offered fold-away portability and others still have promised to help keep repetitive upper arm strain to a healthy minimum.

Comparison chart showing various keyboard options available to typists, with the Truly Ergonomic Keyboard claiming to be the healthiest choice
Comparison chart showing various keyboard options available to typists, with the Truly Ergonomic Keyboard claiming to be the healthiest choice

Whereas many ergonomic keyboards make various health claims, the Truly Ergonomic Keyboard purports to be the healthiest. Ditching the staggered key layout on which many keyboards are based in favor of a design that is said to follow "the symmetric shape and neutral position of the human body," the manufacturer says that when using its product, typists need only stretch or curl fingers without the need for any awkward hand movement. This in turn "promotes a healthier posture helping reduce wrist, shoulder, neck, and lower back pain and strains, and still remains very practical and familiar."

Despite being a good size narrower than many other keyboards on the market, the Truly Ergonomic Keyboard sports a full spread of full-size keys and also allows users to keep a computer mouse closer to the keying area. The input device is built using Cherry MX Mechanical Keyswitches. The gold-plated keyswitches are mounted on metal plates and benefit from an independent mechanism for soft-touch keying comfort. Various pre-installed keyboard layouts are available, but custom key re-allocation gives the user more freedom. Keying configuration options include silent, light-click or linear feedback.

When typing, most people will place their hands in a neutral position, probably above the middles row of letter keys. Hands tend to move around to reach regularly used but sometimes oddly positioned keys. The Truly Ergonomic Keyboard reduces this movement by reducing the distance needed to travel to reach such keys.

Rather than stagger the keys, the Truly Ergonomic Keyboard layout offers more comfortable, natural key positioning
Rather than stagger the keys, the Truly Ergonomic Keyboard layout offers more comfortable, natural key positioning

For example, the distance from the letter J key to the left arrow key on the keyboard I am using to type at the moment measures 5.31 inches (135mm). This is a bit of a stretch without moving my hand. On the Truly Ergonomic Keyboard that distance is reduced to 2 inches (51mm), which is said to minimize the need for hand movement when keying and thus help reduce associated pains in the wrist and shoulder.

Like portable computers, the Truly Ergonomic Keyboard features an embedded numeric keypad that's activated by tapping the NumLock key on or off. Due to the design, the activated keypad resembles the familiar block found on bigger keyboards and not the staggered, offset kind found elsewhere.

The Truly Ergonomic Keyboard is manufactured using recycled and recyclable materials which are expected to last up to ten times longer than conventional keyboard materials and can be integrated with a removable, cushioned palm rest. It's available now for pre-order and carries a list price of US$199.

18 comments
Facebook User
Nah, I don\'t buy their explanation. split keyboards just work better. Notice that the lines are facing vertical, with where your two hands are to be about 6 inches apart. Now move your keyboard away from your desk and put your hands AND WRISTS in a vertical position 6 inches apart. Where are your elbows? Sticking into your ribs as you try to keep your wrists straight. THAT is big issue. This slab has a bit of split but not nearly enough. No thanks, I will stick with my MS comfort keyboard 4000. Would like to have real keyswitches though.
Mr Stiffy
Ahhhh it\'s all crap.... Give me a REAL IBM model M keyboard, that weighs nearly 4 Kg.... and goes CLICK< CLICK< CLICK.... And if I don\'t like you, I can always hit you with it.... in a fatal kind of a way.
Michael Mantion
ok, but where\'s the number pad????? Also get rid fo the Function keys and give me a function button that turns the numbers up top to functions numbers. Then make the thing back lit so I can type in the dark. Last take the 200 dollar price tag and ram it up your ass...... 200 bucks for a keyboard.... Seriously?? Laptops cost less then 200 bucks.. Does this thing have a screen hard drive lithium ion battery processor, memory???? NO its a keyboard, price it at 69.99 and pray someone will pay that much for it..
windykites
I\'m typing this, using Dragon naturally speaking program, and believe me it is a lot easier than typing. I tried one of these split keyboards, but as I not a touch typist, I found it more difficult. I went back to my regular keyboard. This program is version 10, and available on eBay. I\'m not getting paid for this advert! I find typing very tedious, so this program is great, and amazingly accurate, with little training.
joeblake
Sorry, but it\'s not at all ergonomic because it STILL uses the QWERTY key layout which causes more problems by virtue of the \"unbalanced\" distribution of keys between left hand and right hand than the staggered column layout ever did eg check how much work the hands have to do typing the common word \"t-h-e\" ... or the very common suffixes \"a-t-i-o-n- or \"m-e-n-t\". Although there is a picture (in the column marked \"healthier\"!!!) showing the Maltron keyboard, it doesn\'t show the Malt key layout which is designed specifically to reduce the amount of hand travel as well as taking the strain off the arms and shoulders. As a court reporter who has to type up to 180 wpm for hours on end, I can testify that the QWERTY layout is extremely tiring and dangerous, as well as being very slow and inefficient. Further, the \"flat\" keyboard takes no account of the differing length of fingers (cf the Maltron which has keys at different depths for each finger, and are in a layout which allows the natural \"curve\" of the fingers flexing. Back to the drawing board, fellas. Another failure of imagination.
Terotech
I bought Dragon, but haven\'t used it as I can\'t find a comprehensive list of commands to printout. I\'m sure I saw one somewhere!
Valis
It would be even more ergonomic if they used the Dvorak layout.
THY
I am amaze that people make comments without reading the whole story or understanding the product itself. Conventional keyboards and most ergo keyboards (including the Microsoft Natural 4000) use membrane or scissor keyswitches with rubber domes that have an uncertain and spongy feel, have a short life, and are still based on 1860s typewriter\'s staggered key arrangement design. So they are cheap to manufacture and can have a small list price. The TrulyErgonomic keyboard uses high-quality (read expensive) Cherry MX mechanical keyswitches, the highest quality keyswitches available on any computer keyboard. These keyswitches have an independent mechanism for each key, are very gentle to your hands, and preserve their excellent tactile feel through a constant life expectancy of over 50 million keystrokes in its lifetime. Hence, the Truly Ergonomic Keyboard is expected to last over 10 times compared to conventional and other ergonomic keyboards. Additionally, is has Full N-key rollover (read expensive), all keys are reprogrammable (read expensive), has a cushioned and removable palmrest, either USB or PS2 connector, and is Windows, Mac, and Linux compatible. Even if its List Price is $100 more than what most people are accustom to pay for a computer keyboard, the Truly Ergonomic Keyboard will help you save money on future purchases and pay for itself in as little as 6 months, considering increased productivity, decreased absenteeism due to pain, reduced health care costs, and decreased CTS and RSI problems. Particularly for people who suffer from typing pain or are concerned about it (and you all should). As for the above comments: Facebook user - this is as well a split keyboard, an enhanced better one with linear keys Mr Stiffy - You can choose amongst Light-click-sound (Cherry MX Blue), Silent (Cherry MX Brown), or Linear feedback (Cherry MX Black) mechanical keyswitches Michael Mantion - read the story \"Like portable computers, the Truly Ergonomic Keyboard features an embedded numeric keypad that\'s activated by tapping the NumLock key on or off.\" List Price is $199, pre-order is $169. The price is NOT the most important feature of any product. Other ergonomic mechanical keyswitch keyboards cost from $299 (Kinesis) upwards $580 (Maltron). If you don\'t want to invest $169 in pre-ordering this TrulyErgonomic keyboard that\'s your call, but please first educate yourself in how much things cost and the quality of the products, and only then buy them or talk about them.
tsvieps
I would need to try it for a while to decide. A split keyboard with both hands in a natural position, like holding a coffee mug with two hands is certainly better...but one does need to be able to touch type since the keys are less visible.
joeblake
To follow on from Michelle\'s comments, the Maltron also uses Cherry keyswitches. In April 2005 I did a report of my experiences with the Maltron keyboard: http://www.gizmag.com/go/4086/ Five years ago I had tapped out an estimated 198,000,000 keystrokes on my Maltron(s). In 2010 I\'m STILL using my very first 1986 keyboard, and have yet to have a keyswitch failure. (I sometimes use three computers simultaneously, and each has its own Maltron). I\'d suggest that both Maltron and the subject keyboard are confirmation of the adage \"Quality doesn\'t cost ... it pays\".