Frequently Asked Questions
What is wrong with conventional ergonomic keyboards?
Conventional ergonomic keyboard design typically layers ergonomic features on top of standard, full-length, full-function keyboards, and therefore results in something that's bigger, bulkier and longer. Not only are these contoured "ergo" keyboards more awkward and unattractive, their size makes them inherently non-ergonomic: The reach to the numeric keypad (and especially to the mouse) is too long and awkward, and tends to aggravate upper arm and shoulder problems. The angled separated hands position encouraged by the contoured surface may release stress in the wrists but tends to shift it to different points along the arms and shoulders. Then there's the issue of how people use products in real life. Traditional ergonomic keyboards are particularly unforgiving if they're not used in a tray of the right height. But they don't fit in standard trays, and people don't always have access to one. Bulky keyboards on the desktop force hands and wrists into even worse positions than standard keyboards do. And what are people to do if they have to travel? Rather than trying to carry it along, they are forced to switch to the non-ergonomic desktop and laptop keyboard alternatives.
What makes the TypeMatrix keyboard exceptional?
TypeMatrix approached things with the absolute requirement that the keyboard be-first and foremost-slim, elegant and short, or it cannot begin to be ergonomic. Second, it had to include a rich set of other ergonomic features-including innovations that are unique in addressing finger and wrist motion. Third, it had to promote a neutral, separated hands position. Finally, it had to somehow accommodate the functions of a full-length, full-feature keyboard on two symmetrical modules. The TypeMatrix keyboard design is unique in satisfying these seemingly contradictory requirements.
What are the most serious keyboard related ergonomic issues?
Ergonomists agree on five major issues: We already mentioned the serious, much neglected issue of the arm reaching out to use the numeric pad and the mouse. Equally serious and overlooked is the frequent stretching outward, flexing and extending of the hands and wrists, and the stressing of the weaker little fingers to hit Backspace, Enter, Shift, and Tab, causing wrist ulnar deviation problems. Third is the crowding together of the hands on the keyboard, which can be straining to the joints and muscles from shoulder to finger. Fourth, deviation from a balanced, symmetrical posture in front of the keyboard and monitor is a common cause of muscle tightness and injury. Finally, the continuous shifting and repetitive reaching of the fingers from Home Row to the rows above and below is a frequent cause for concern. For reasons dating back to requirements of mechanical typewriters, standard keyboard rows are offset by unequal distances. This causes strained motions due to unequal finger travel and striking force, especially for the fingers of the left hand that go against the diagonal grain.
How does TypeMatrix address these ergonomic issues?
Weve shown how the compact and elegant TypeMatrix design eliminates the issue of reaching out for the numeric keypad and the mouse. Secondly, our design places the Enter, Backspace, and Tab functions on large keys in the center of the keyboard, thereby assigning them to the stronger index fingers and eliminating the reaching and overstressing of the weaker little fingers. Thirdly, this repositioning of the Enter and Backspace keys splits the hands to a neutral position without elongating the keyboard. Since the numeric keypad is integrated in the main key range, the keyboard, and therefore the users body, are centered on the workspace and monitor. Finally, the TypeMatrix design shifts the rows so that they are straight and balanced (the j is exactly above the m and right below the u). As a result, the fingers stretch a minimum and always a consistent distance to travel to keys in the rows above and below Home Row.
How does TypeMatrix fit a full-function keyboard in a short and slim package?
In addition to elegant and logical overall design, the secret lies in cleverly assigning a double function to certain keys. For example, a full numeric keypad can be activated either on the fly, by conveniently holding down a Function key, or by switching on the NumLock key for extended entry of numbers. Therefore, full functionality is achieved in a compact format.
How long does it take to get used to the TypeMatrix keyboard?
This is a standard QWERTY keyboard. However, since the Enter and Backspace keys are now in the center, and the rows have been straightened, a learning period is necessary. Users report that they are comfortable within a range of a few hours to a few days, depending on factors such as frequency of use, parallel use of standard keyboards, etc.
What do users particularly like about the TypeMatrix keyboard?
This design is the product of numerous prototypes and well tracked field trials. Since launch we have also had the benefit of direct user feedback. By and large users love it. They say that not only their comfort, but also their accuracy and speed have increased. We hear from ergonomists who have used the keyboard to help get their clients back to work following typing injuries. Favored by far is the elegant, compact design, for both aesthetic and functional reasons. People use it as a travel keyboard, and as an alternative to the limited notebook keypads. They also like its fine construction and the firm and comfortable feel of the keys. Others focus on seemingly smaller but apparently very important features, like the fact that the large, well placed Shift key eliminates the irritating syndrome of inadvertently striking the CapsLock key!