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Truly Ergonomic claims to revolutionize typing

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October 19, 2010

The Truly Ergonomic Keyboard claims to offer typists a more natural, less painful way to t...

The Truly Ergonomic Keyboard claims to offer typists a more natural, less painful way to tap away for extended periods

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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 Erg...

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,...

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.

About the Author
Paul Ridden While Paul is loath to reveal his age, he will admit to cutting his IT teeth on a TRS-80 (although he won't say which version). An obsessive fascination with computer technology blossomed from hobby into career before the desire for sunnier climes saw him wave a fond farewell to his native Blighty in favor of Bordeaux, France. He's now a dedicated newshound pursuing the latest bleeding edge tech for Gizmag.   All articles by Paul Ridden
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17 Comments

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.

Facebook User
19th October, 2010 @ 03:42 pm PDT

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.

Mr Stiffy
19th October, 2010 @ 06:38 pm PDT

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..

Michael Mantion
19th October, 2010 @ 11:32 pm PDT

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.

windykites1
20th October, 2010 @ 07:04 am PDT

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.

joeblake
20th October, 2010 @ 09:10 am PDT

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!

Terotech
20th October, 2010 @ 11:08 am PDT

It would be even more ergonomic if they used the Dvorak layout.

Valis
20th October, 2010 @ 12:08 pm PDT

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.

THY
20th October, 2010 @ 12:57 pm PDT

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.

tsvieps
20th October, 2010 @ 11:09 pm PDT

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".

joeblake
21st October, 2010 @ 08:09 am PDT

You had one of this keyboards on your hands ? there is someghing wrong with this review and the others linked from their website, also there are no phone numbers and no address in their website, according to their website they said they will be delivering their first keyboards on december, but now is january, there are no real videos of the keyboards, not real photos, and the website registration is a fake, it have so many things to beleive this could be a fraud, they also don't answer emails as well.

Registrant Name: Truly Ergonomic

Registrant Company: Truly Ergonomic Ltd.

Registrant Email Address: TrulyErgonomic@shaw.ca

Registrant Address: 9100 West 3rd Avenue

Registrant City: Vancouver

Registrant State/Region/Province: BC

Registrant Postal Code: V6J 1L3

Registrant Country: CA

Registrant Tel No: 1.6045556677

Registrant Fax No: 1.6045556677

Nestor Alonso Diaz Lizarazo
18th January, 2011 @ 07:14 am PST

The truly ergonomic keyboard is not truly ergonomic. Yes it's a nice try but it still forces your hand to twist. The best angle to type at is from 15 degrees to 45 degrees. As far as I can see this poor excuse for an ergonomic keyboard is flat. While yes it addresses the staggering problem found in all Qwerty keyboards it is the arrangement of the letters on the keyboard that causes the majority of the problems. Changing the keyboard over to Dvorak will improve this keyboard and I do like where they put the enter key but the Kinesis contoured keyboard addresses the same problem with the enter key as well as putting the backspace key under the thumb not under the pinky which is one of the most used keys in typing. For a truly ergonomic keyboard, according to Dr. Kroemer who invented the split keyboard, you need to combine the keypad of the smartboard with the physical form of the comfort keyboard. That would make the perfect keyboard but if and only if it is in Dvorak. I don't promote Maltron as it is not ANSI approved but the Dvorak is and it too can solve the Qwerty letters layout.

For accurate and up to date information on the perfect keyboard see http://LightoftheWorld.com be sure to visit the number one featured blog post at LightoftheWorld.com

Facebook User
29th January, 2011 @ 08:46 am PST

@ Facebook User 29 January 2011

"I don't promote Maltron as it is not ANSI approved but the Dvorak is and it too can solve the Qwerty letters layout."

Even the most cursory search of the Maltron website shows that Maltron Keyboards are available with multiple layouts, QWERTY, QWERTZ, AZERTY, Dvorak, and Maltron, as well as keyboards for people with use of only one hand (either hand) and head pointer for those with no hand movement.

http://www.maltron.com/component/virtuemart/?page=shop.browse&category_id=3

Perhaps you may also wish to acquaint yourself with the academic papers of both Lillian Malt and Stephen Hobday, presented at various international ergonomics conferences during the '80s and '90s.

http://www.maltron.com/keyboard-info/academic-papers.html

joeblake
6th February, 2011 @ 08:52 pm PST

A more detailed discussion of what I think makes for an ergonomic keyboard

http://mostergonomickeyboard.blogspot.com/

http://proword-keyboardlayoutefficiency.blogspot.com/

Joe

Joe Blake
22nd February, 2011 @ 08:22 pm PST

Everyone who posted comments on what they THOUGHT the TE keyboard was like were only speculating without a shred of actual experience with it.

I just got my Truly Ergonomic keyboard in the mail yesterday. Its gorgeous and very well built. I'll report later on learning Colemak on it. And the surprise is that it was only $99! I pre-ordered way early though.

Clark Battle
14th December, 2011 @ 11:46 am PST

I have two of these. They're great. My hands barely have to move as I type and I almost never have any discomfort any longer. I'll never go back, it's as simple as that.

The layout is totally programmable, so those of you begging for Dvorak need not worry, just program the keyboard with the firmware and switch the keycaps. No need for an excessive board-split, that's total fiction.

waiting4retirement
21st August, 2012 @ 12:25 am PDT

I have had a similar design for over 25 years, where my biggest complaint on most ALL current ergo, curved, and split keyboards is the angle forced on the left hand. Take a look at your right hand line up your UJM keys as your fingers are on your home row, then look at your left hand for the RFV keys. Dont know about you, but my left arm does not make a 30 degree left turn at the wrist.

I had approached several KB makers to try to get my design going, but they were all more interesting in just making me a one-off at a great expense. So, it never came to be.

I am glad FINALLY someone came up with the same idea and has taken it to market.

I feel your angle may be a bit shy, but would love to try it out.

The cost is too high. It really needs to drop below $100, even a good high-speed wireless keyboard with current 'ergo' designs is around $100. Does not make that much sense to double the price to move keys, even if the keys are better designed for faster impact.

I see where the layout is totally programmable. That is wonderful. Are the key-caps movable like the old IBM PC keyboard? It would be a shame to have a custom layout with making tape letters all over it.

Reggorf64
5th April, 2013 @ 08:28 am PDT
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