P16: a blog by Matt Kangas home archive
03 Jun 2009

RSI watch: Interesting keyboard?

Speaking of RSI as a workplace hazard, I stumbled across a link to this keyboard recently:

The TypeMatrix keyboard

Wild, eh?

My first bout with RSI was circa 1994, when I was an engineering co-op. I resolved that by giving up typing for six months. It worked, but I seriously wondered if I would have to consider not working with computers.

After my first real job out of school, I started encountering hand pain again, so I went through a phase of using strange keyboards, hoping one of these would fix the problem. I went through a Kinesis Ergo Contour and a few other odd keyboards, before I realized that my real problem was my posture, and that was easily resolved with a proper keyboard tray.

For the last few years I've used a MacAlly IceKey Slim keyboard at home and at work. It's cheap and feels similar to the MacBook Pro keyboard, which makes it easier to switch from desktop to laptop and back.

This TypeMatrix keyboard addresses one of my biggest gripes about modern keyboards: the number pad. If you're a right-handed mouse user, you have to put the mouse waaay off to the right -- and kink your wrist at an angle, which is bad to do for any extended period of time.

Or... you get a keyboard try with a mouse pad that can cover up the keyboard numkeys. Or take a Sawzall to your keyboard and chop the numpad off, and hope you don't lop off any important circuits in the process!

The Happy Hacking Keyboard does a nice job of addressing this problem too. I've never owned one of 'em, but I do periodically wonder if it would be useful. Prior to my RSI problems, I was a fan of the "clacky" IBM Model M keyboard. I've still got one! It's great so long as (a) you don't touch the mouse much, and (b) sit in a soundproof cage so your coworkers won't hate you for making so much noise. :)

PS! If you're suffering from RSI, please read the Typing Injury FAQ. It's a wonderful resource. Thanks to jwz for pointing me in this direction some years ago.