I was happy to see the author settle for KiCad, having made a micro version of the same journey I've settled for KiCad too, it's pretty nice once you start getting going.
I was surprised to not see any mention of OSH Park when it came to board manufacturing, I thought they were the default for small-scale prototyping, and they're certainly competetive when it comes to price ($5 per square inch, for threee boards). Being in Europe the shipping delay is intensely frustrating, but otherwise OSH Park is like a dream come true.
Keep up the good work!
I'd love to find out I'm wrong. If you want to point your salesfolks at me, I'd be happy to chat. I'm jesse at keyboard.io
I got a review copy of the Kinesis Advantage, tried the keyboard for a while, wrote a review (http://jseliger.wordpress.com/2009/07/20/kinesis-advantage/), sent back the review copy, and, a couple weeks later, bought the Advantage.
YMMV, but I think they have a somewhat long return period in part to assuage people in your situation.
I don't mind the size of the rubber keys, but I wish they'd make a keyboard with decent switches for them!
I've grown quite attached to the RollerMouse classic over the years as the ultimate pointing device but I'm wondering how that would work with the Kinesis.
Hacking a trackpad in the middle also seems like an odd compromise ...
You can see some attempts here:
When I first got my Kinesis Advantage, I secured the Adesso Smart Cat trackpad to the middle:
It's what the other Kinesis users around me were using and it's the only wired touchpad that could fit. It's a piece of garbage and I've given up on it. I've fallen back on using my Evoluent Vertical Mouse, as it's the only mouse that doesn't leave me in pain.
The real answer is that I've adapted my tools and workflow to be as keyboard operational as possible, using a tiling window manager, Emacs, and Conkeror for everything.
As a datapoint, when I switched cold-turkey, it took about a week to be passable (~40wpm) and another week or two to get up to normal speed (~100wpm). The letter keys in the bowls actually aren't so bad; the harder part for me was retraining the control keys and punctuation. It's totally worth it though, and IMHO much easier than a full layout retraining (e.g. Dvorak, which I've given up on twice).
I learned Dvorak before switching to the Kinesis. I was only able to do it by having some strategic down-time in my job, and I would say it took around a full year before I was even close to my old QWERTY speed. I can now switch between QWERTY (laptop) and DVORAK (desktop) with only an occasional hitch.
Take it from me: the advantage of Dvorak pales in comparison to the advantage of a good keyboard. Add in the fact that the whole world (games, vim, cut/copy/paste) revolves around QWERTY, and Dvorak starts to lose its luster.
(Come to think of it, the biggest plus for me with Dvorak is that I can left-hand mouse and hit copy/paste/undo with my right hand...)
Because Colemak has more overlap with the QWERTY keyboard, the learning curve is much more gentle; it took me about 2 weeks to get up to around 50% of my old QWERTY WPM, and probably less than 3 months to get where I felt I could match my old WPM. By 1 month in I felt that I was efficient enough with Colemak that it was worth it to type a bit slower in exchange for the increase in comfort it afforded.
I've found that the biggest inefficiency that came with the transition was not physical, but mental. During the early weeks of learning the new layout, I needed to actually devote some conscious thought to what my fingers are doing, meaning that those brain cycles couldn't be used to process what I was about to type next, leading to a process where I frequently needed to pause and think about what I was typing, whereas it's typically more continuous and interruption-free as my fingers try to keep up with my brain. During the first few weeks of transitioning, I used Colemak only for "clerical" tasks like writing emails and some documentation I was working on at the time, and not for coding.
It has definitely taken some getting used to, but I am typing pain-free for about a month and a half. I am a software developer by trade, so I use a big chunk of the keys and do so without issues.
Only thing I don't like is that the bracket/brace keys are really out of the way. If I cared enough I'd move and re-map them (the keyboard is very customizable), but I don't.
Using a Kinesis is possibly the best way to unlearn all your bad typing habits. :)
/Kinesis user for 12 years
I've seen this mentioned pretty frequently, so there are some good mapping ideas out there for those who use languages with lots of braces.
My wrist pain actually increased slightly when I first got it, due to the strain of having to interrupt my years-old muscle memory. It took several days for the thumb keys to become (somewhat) automatic. Within a couple of weeks, I was on my way to pain-free computing. It's now been over a decade, and I consider the Kinesis keyboard to be the primary factor in my recovery.
Well actually I tried an ergonomic keyboard before and it wasn't bad, except for when I had to go back to using a regular one at other workstations. It was hard because I had gotten so used the ergonomic design. So I prefer the "rectangular" kind since then.
If I could get buckling springs as keyswitch units, I'd be using em.
I've tried just about everything: https://secure.flickr.com/photos/obra/sets/72157632594731205...
For anyone having problems with the links, the public urls are:
There are several reviews of ergonomic keyboards on this site so you can glance around, I'm sure you'll find your fit.
http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=47590.30 may have some leads.
Also, separating the left and right hand boards from one another really helps with joint stress. I saw one of the designs has a axle. Why not just split the keyboard in two completely? I vote for each half of the keyboard having a velcro strap that I can comfortably attach just above each of my knees. For most people, this would be a very neutral posture. In fact, it may even inspire better posture as folks would reach for the keys on their knees.. You know.. You could call it KneeKeyboard or Keys-4-Knees. Then again, I'm sure someone has already done it, but I'm too lazy/busy to look into it right now.
Other than those comments. Awesome stuff.
Edit: I'd like to add that the wrist pad suggests to me wrist movement is required to reach all of the keys. Again, the carpal tunnel gnome tells me that pivoting my wrist is painful. Why not strive for very little wrist movement. Once you get there, the surface is it's own support, and it would support more than just the wrist; it would support the forearm, too (see knee keyboard suggestion above).
I also noticed one of the designs recessed the keys below the face of the keyboard. I think that's a good way to get away from the vertical wrist pivoting. Still, you'd need to mind the lip of the recess, so it's not a high impact point on the wrist.
Registration is required for MassDrop, which is unfortunate - but they have to do that to be classified as something other than a retailer so they can offer lower prices.
I did a write-up of my year with an ErgoDox here: http://jjt.io/2013/11/25/why-any-developer-should-check-out-...
Maybe you're just not getting notifications?
I've been wanting for years for the monitor-keyboard setup to be replaced by something that's set up to a human body and not a table. Screen is set to your head and not vice versa. Manual input devices are physically based on your hands and not to a table. You don't have to lean forward to look at a screen. You don't have to hunch over (or even tend to hunch over) to type and mouse. Ergonomics problems vastly go out the window because you don't have to conform your body to a machine built for compactness and manufacturability.
On the monitor front, once somebody mods the Oculus Rift for non-gaming [read: programming etc] use, I'll dance an embarassing unskillful engineer jig and then buy one immediately.
On the input (mouse/keyboard) front I'd love to have two devices attached to my hands instead of having to reach forward to a keyboard (dual myo bands? some kind of handheld gig?) so the two-handed keyboards are always intriguing to me and I'd love to hear more about your experience with designing them. (and in general).
Thinking outside the box: Some musical instruments have a small number of keys for a large number of notes. Playing for long time periods without injury is now part of the basic training that all musicians receive.
Maybe a model for an ergonomic keyboard would be something like a saxophone.
Then again, maybe Apple's multi-touch gestures are close enough to chording that they'll be rediscovered and become cool again.
The ErgoDox is really the two halves of a Kinesis flattened.
Keyboard.IO is a little bit different. There's a splay of a few degrees between the columns that map to each finger. A bunch of the work you do with your pinkies on the ErgoDox or just about any other keyboard moves to your thumbs. And yes, it ended up as a single keyboard. I really, really wanted to do something that was two separate pieces. Between the risks it would add to the mechanical design and the fact that I found myself intensely frustrating that the two halves of the ErgoDox were never in quite the places I expected them to be, we've decided to run with a single-piece unit, at least for the Model 01.
"Ergonomic" is not a binary switch. A thing is not simply "ergonomic" or not. And more importantly, what is ergonomic varies based on the user. For the author, these keyboards are presumably more ergonomic than alternatives. For you, they might not be.
> Note that you WILL still get RSI from using these keyboards.
That's a rather strong claim, especially considering that many people never get RSI even from standard keyboards.
If you have recommendations for better buzzwords, I'm all ears.
How do you deal with arm fatigue when using a vertical keyboard?
(And yeah, I spent a decade carrying a MS Natural Elite with me all over the planet. I used to order 'em in four-packs.)
I think the SenseBoard Keyboard is the best amongst these.
And there are all sorts of reasons why zero-feedback keyboards are a bad idea, but that's a whole separate discussion. If you REALLY want a laser keyboard, ...aw http://www.seeedstudio.com/depot/laser-keyboard-kit-p-1638.h... is out of stock. There are plenty like it, though.
I experienced pain in my shoulder, then, eventually, numbness in my left index finger. It was a pinched C6/C7 nerve, and I've been effectively unable to work for four years.
I'm serious. Go see your doctor, then examine your computing habits very closely.
This makes me wonder what the most minimalist keyboard available currently is. The Happy Hacking keyboard, I am guessing.
The most minimalist has way less keys than that and is probably the DataHand (or something close to it, like a one-handed DataHand if such a beast exist?).
I like the look of the keyboards he realized, reminds me of the ErgoDox. Not that contrarily to the HHKB the keyboards in the blog aren't "staggered" and are all split. The HHKB appeals to many because it has incredible switches (Topre) yet stays very close to traditional keyboards that people have been using for years and years. It's not easy to adapt to a non-staggered layout and some people are allergic to split layouts.
If you're into that sort of thing, GeekHack.org and Deskthority.net are good places to hang out on.
good to see a GHer on the front page of HN... It's a nice board you made there and I prefer your thumbs key placement than the one on the ErgoDox, which I find to be too a bit too close one to another.
The ErgoDox layout is nearly identical to the Kinesis and Maltron layouts, so it's not exactly without precedent, but yeah. I think we can do better :)
Kinesis users I've put in front of my prototypes come up to speed pretty quickly.
Non-kinesis users seem to come up to speed a lot faster than they do when confronted with the kinesis' bowls.
Also, it's a lot more portable.
And it's really, really fully programmable.
The one thing I wish I had though, was a laptop with a split space bar. Thumb delete is the best keyboard innovation in like 20 years.
Like this one
if i can't rest my hands on the keyboard, what's the point of ergonomic!
As you can see above, I'm working for a company that is currently being bought by http://primax.com.tw/ . I went on a factory tour of their facotry here inb China a few days ago.
They are basicly the biggest keyboard-producing factory in China/ the world. I love the mark 13, and it would be awesome if it could be mass-produced. Primax might be the right factory for that.
I've actually got something better up my sleeve, but I'm still working on sourcing the parts.
I looked for an ergo mechanical keyboard but couldn't find one to my liking so ended up with a Filco Majestouch 2 with Cherry Blue switches. Really love it except for the whole lack of ergonomics thing. The Cherry Blues are fantastic.
There are some other switch technologies I'd want to try first. But fabbing our own switches gets expensive fast.
Do ergonomic keyboards allow you to type faster? Or do they just let you rest your hands more naturally?
I was really hopeful that the Leap Motion was going to be 'the right thing', but I'm pretty sure that anything that requires you to move your wrist to use is going to be a lose.
I'm not 100% sure we're going to get a pointing device into the v1 product. I'd rather ship a good keyboard than not ship a better keyboard.
I'm a big fan of Thinkpad keyboards and have a few USB versions, but finally switched to mechanical keyboards 6 months ago. I still miss the Trackpoint daily though...
(Alternatively, many folks recommend you _not_ relabel your keys when trying to learn a new layout.)
We're working to build something that's going to work well and look gorgeous for a really long time. It's not going to be cheap, but I don't think we could justify charging more than Kinesis do for the Advantage.
There's actually a hobbyist project to reproduce the Datahand right now over at geekhack.org
Datahands take some commitment, but they pay off big time. It took me about 3 weeks of using them at work before I became comfortable. I'm sure if I started learning to type on dvorak that would be lessened - I went all in and switched to the dvorak datahands and now I can't type on regular keyboards at all. They at least have to be dvorak.
Please note that I'm not saying people shouldn't ditch QWERTY. They should. But that alone isn't enough to just declare the battle won and go home.
(While the keyboard.io prototypes are labeled in QWERTY, the firmware speaks Dvorak and Colemak as well. As of last weekend, it also speaks Workman and a variant of the Maltron layout.)
The difference is more like using an off-road bicycle to travel on flat roads. It's just the wrong tool for the job. The standard keyboard layout was designed how it is for a specific purpose: to allow physical parts to move on old typewriters. The placement of keys serves little purpose to the typist.
In our collective madness though, we have adapted ourselves to typewriter layouts, rather than adapting the layout to fit our hands when the requirement for moving physical parts disappeared.
The higher price of ergo keyboards is mainly a consequence of a much smaller market. Standard keyboards are only so cheap because they're mass produced, and have had countless iterations to simplify the production process over the years.
I'm in desperate need of a better ergo keyboard and I find projects like this one fascinating. I tried designing one myself a while back, but I don't have the skills to make it happen.
On a Scandinavian keyboard I also put esc on the extra key right of the left shift. My current laptop has a US keyboard but I'll be a smarter shopper next time.