Do you type your fingers off on your computer keyboard every day? Well, if you’re like me, you are almost surgically attached to your keyboard, and after hours and hours of typing, your wrists, palms, and hands, feel the strain. So years ago, I began using ergonomic keyboards. These come in different styles, but they usually feature a large wrist rest, and instead of the traditional, flat design, the keyboards are raised slightly, or quite a lot. Most of the wave or ergonomic keyboards are not just raised, but also split in the middle. Once you get used to typing on this kind of keyboard, it’s nearly impossible to go back to a flat one. That’s because the design saves your hands and wrists a LOT of discomfort.
Split keyboards come in two varieties: fixed and adjustable. Fixed ergonomic keyboards come in a set configuration to accommodate most users. They are simple to set up and use without training, but they cannot be customized to accommodate individuals of unusual body shapes and sizes. Conversely, adjustable keyboards have movable parts and can be adjusted to accommodate almost any body type, but they can be difficult to set up, and the ergonomic advantage may be lost if they are not properly configured.
Microsoft is the number 1 best-selling brand of ergonomic keyboards. Their Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000
The Sculpt Keyboard has lots of other features too, including a lovely, large, padded wrist rest, and a separate numbers keypad. The palm rest helps prevent the wrist from dropping excessively while typing and reduces contact pressure while the hand rests on it. A removable palm lift provides a reverse tilt to the keyboard, which helps reduce wrist extension even more (I just couldn’t get used to the reverse slope, so I opted to remove it, but I can see that after you’ve gotten used to it, you won’t go back so easily to another angle).
This keyboard is also wireless, and comes with it’s own wireless mouse (the shape is a bit bulbous, but once you get used to it the mouse really minimizes wear and tear on your wrist). The mouse also features a back button and a thumb scoop to hold your hand and wrist in the correct, ergonomic position. If you are using Windows 8 there is a button to provide one-touch access to the start screen (smart!).
Advanced ergonomic design
The Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop is built on advanced ergonomic principles, with a split keyboard layout that keeps wrists and forearms in a relaxed position, and a cushioned palm rest to provide wrist support. The domed keyboard shape works to reduce and correct wrist pronation that can cause pain and limited mobility.
True comfort for lasting productivity
Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop is designed for productivity, with an eye on ergonomic excellence. By providing a relaxed, comfortable computing experience, it enables you to work without the stress, strain, and discomfort of other keyboards and mice you may have used in the past.
It’s all in the angles
The natural arc keyboard layout follows the curve of your fingertips for a more natural way of typing. Reverse tilt design positions the keyboard at the correct angle to give you a straight, neutral wrist position. Additionally, the shape of the mouse is designed for maximum wrist comfort. Plus its Windows button provides one-touch access to the Windows 8 Start screen.
I love this new keyboard and I’ve been using it for about a month now, but it is compact. That has an advantage because it takes up less of a footprint on your worktop, but it forced me to “re-learn” where to put my fingers, since I am used to a more spread out wave design where my fingers had more room to roam.
Another solution that offers comfort and a less exaggerated design, is the Sculpt Comfort Keyboard with Sculpt Comfort Mouse 2.4 Ghz. This keyboard is contoured and has a detachable palm rest, but it is slimmer and longer and it doesn’t have the split keyboard design. it does however, have a split space bar, that lets you get more functionaity out of your keystrokes. tHIS Sculpt Comfort Desktop is also designed to work perfectly with Windows 8. The keyboard hotkeys provide shortcuts to the most commonly used keyboard functions. The Windows Touch tab, a touch-sensitive strip located on the side of the mouse, enables you to take advantage of swiping functionality as you navigate the Start screen.
The mouse, by the way, is slimmer than the one on the Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard. I got used to the larger design and now this slimmer and more traditionally shaped mouse feels very different (it is amazing how quickly your body can adapt to different designs). It is also packed with features. It is wireless (uses two AA batteries) with scroll left, right, front and back. it is also optimized for windows 8 with a touch tap. There is a blue strip with the Windows logo on the left hand side of the mouse. Press the strip to switch between your current app and the start screen on Windows 8. Swipe up on the blue strip to cycle through open modern apps, swipe down to reveal all the open apps and select the one you want. Also works in Windows 7: press to go to the Start menu, and swipe up or down to move forward and backward in your browser.
The mouse also has Microsoft’s BlueTrack Technology which means you can use the mouse anywhere on almost any type of surface.
There are plenty of other innovative “mice” and keyboards you can get from Microsoft, but I think these two represent the best of the best in design both innovative, and comfortable. Visit the Microsoft Website
AND THERE’S MORE! On October 8th we’ll be featuring Microsoft has the KEY(Boards) for Computing Comfort – Part II Create Computing Comfort. This exclusive Advice Sisters’ feature will give you more tips from Microsoft about how to work more comfortably and effectively on your computer and you can also check out some of the other keyboards and mice Microsoft offers to make your computing life easier, more successful and more satisfying. Bookmark our site, or better yet, subscribe to our feed and follow us on Twitter @advicesisters (see all the icons at the top of this page)