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Ergonomic Keyboards by Eunice Leong-Tan

What is an ergonomic keyboard? In short, it helps you prevent computer injuries like carpal tunnel (which is, once you develop that condition, it is irreversible, not to mention the painful operations you must go through.)

You might think of getting the most generic, economical, cheapest keyboard out there, because they are all the same. Before jumping to that conclusion, why don't you spend the next five minutes of your life reading what exactly is an ergonomic keyboard. Read about all its additional bells and whistles before deciding to go for the generic keyboard.

I've also highlighted the different types of keyboards below. All in all, this will help you choose the right keyboard for you.

Why the Ergonomic Keyboard is recommended

It is very much recommended to use an ergonomic keyboard when doing work in front of a computer. Ergonomic keyboards assist a person so that he or she would be able to adapt to the correct posture when typing. This in effect lessens the chances of the body from being exposed to uncomfortable positions and strain.

The primary issues that must be addressed here are the bending of a person's wrists vertically and horizontally when using the keyboard. This is known particularly as Ulnar Pronation and Deviation respectively. These are matters that should not be taken for granted as they could result to too much pressure on the wrist which can cause ailments.

With the help of an ergonomic keyboard, the body can adapt to the ideal ergonomic postures and keep the body comfortable and healthy even while working. This type of keyboard has a design that is shaped in such a way that it can give assistance to the various movements of typing that may result to strain and stress to all the body parts such as the hands, elbows, wrists, shoulders and arms which are used in the activity.

Every key on the ergonomic keyboard is designed so that it is in close proximity to all the fingers of the user. This minimizes the need for the fingers, hands and the arms to move so that these can keep the ergonomic position while typing.

Ergonomic keyboards give a person comfort and reduce fatigue during typing. They also decrease pain in the arms, neck, hand and shoulders. It is therefore very important to look for a keyboard which has a design that relieves the body of stress. This is better than just shifting a position and transferring the stress to another part of the body.

What We Need To Look Out For in An Ergonomic Keyboard

Ideally,

1. divided sections for organizational ergonomics
2. springy keyss
3. programmable for your most used functionss
4. enable natural and neutral hand postures
5. an additional alternative to the mouse - the touch pad.

So what are the features that we need to look for in an ergonomic keyboard? Well, it has to have divided sections. It needs to have springy keys. It also should be programmable. One must also know the terms of the warranty and make sure to buy one that provides support for a longer period. A good ergonomic keyboard must be adjustable with either a USB or a PS2 connection. Touch pads are not completely necessary but they help replace the mouse and further permits the finger to do pointing and clicking operations without lifting the hands from the keyboard.

Types Of Ergonomic Keyboards

The Split Keyboard

There are several types of alternative ergonomic keyboards. One is the Split Keyboard. This type of keyboard is the best alternative if one wants to reduce the risk of Ulnar Deviation which we mentioned earlier. Ulnar Deviation is one position of the wrist wherein the wrists are being bent to the side, towards the "pinky" or little finger. This is not a neutral position thus contributes to the strain and stress of some muscles. It also increases friction experienced by the tendons, mostly at the area of the thumb. This in turn adds pressure to the nerves that run to the wrists. Split keyboards have a different key orientation that guides the wrists so that they are straightened out instead of bent sideways.

The Tented Keyboard

Another alternative type of ergonomic keyboard is the Tented Keyboard. This is a bit more sophisticated that the Split Keyboard. Apart from addressing Ulnar Deviation, it also is made to correct one other issue which is Pronation. This type of posture rotates the hands inwards to the thumbs which twist the forearms in the process. The Tented Keyboard attempts to amend this kind of posture by letting the arms of the user work at certain angles aimed towards each other.

Alternative Keyboards

Inventors have made different ergonomic keyboards to help people maintain their healthy postures. Other helpful types are: Negative Slope Keyboards, Supportive Keyboards, and Minimum Motion Keyboards among others.

Placement of Keyboard Matters

The keyboard should not be placed directly on the table or desk. Don't sit is a stiff position. Never lean forward while typing.

Other Keyboard Related Matters

Poor posture affects a person's health. Slouching too much can cause difficulty in breathing as well as back pains. To avoid these, it is best to value the theory of ergonomics and to adhere to their advices.

Do not use a desk that has no keyboard tray or something to adjust the angle and height of the keyboard.

Remember to take repeated breaks. This helps restore the body's energy and keeps a person from sleepiness while working. It also helps a person to be productive. Standing occasionally must be done to avoid getting varicose veins from too much sitting.


Eunice is a writer and editor on Ergonomics-info.com, an information database website on healthy posture and working environment. As we increase our relationships with computers, Eunice and friends have realized how we have paid with the health of our bodies, posture, back and necks by not having the right knowledge of Ergonomics. She does not want to grow old with a stooped posture and a forward neck and neither do her friends. She thus have teamed up with her medical device engineer and entrepreneur husband Colin to author Ergonomics-info.com Guidelines for a healthier and safer workplace

Reviewer Keith Bryant says," I've been an ergo keyboard convert since my first Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Split Keyboard (the old white Model 59758) I bought back in 1997. I then graduated to the 4000 pro around 2001. Since then, I haven't found another satisfying split keyboard design to my liking until I bought this Microsoft LXM-00001. I love the soft yet distinct action of the keys. Not as harsh as fully mechanical, but not as light as silicon keypads. The pitch and angle of the ever-so-slightly concave keypads provide the best positioning I've found. And there is something about the positioning that feels just a hint better than the old 4000. The wrist pad has a slight concave roll to it, as well, which fits my hands like the palm of a glove. Reaction time is pristine. I give this a straight-up five stars all around because, for what it is, it simply doesn't get any better. My only wishes would be for a future wireless version and/or a version with backlit keys. (Note: Adesso makes a backlit ergonomic keyboard that is absolute crap! The key pads have 70% response at best and the action feels very sharp and sticky). I will say that if you tend to settle for nothing but the best and prefer the split ergonomic design, the Microsoft Sculpt is the gold standard of wired workhorse split ergonomic keyboards. However, you will end up paying at least double the price of this LXM-00001. The LXM-00001 is without a doubt a worthy alternative to the Sculpt.

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