CES: Moving keyboard claims to reduce injuries

CES: Moving keyboard claims to reduce injuries

Summary: Smartfish's Engage keyboard features a motion system that studies your typing and then makes its own adjustments periodically.

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TOPICS: CES, Hardware
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  • One of the Best of Innovations honoree at CES 2011 is the Engage keyboard from Smartfish.  This keyboard features a motion system that studies your typing speed and then makes its own adjustments periodically so that your hands and wrists are never in a fixed position.

    The Engage Keyboard was developed in collaboration with the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City.

    For more, read Rachel King's blog and see ZDNet's full CES coverage.

Topics: CES, Hardware

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  • For touch typists only

    Seems that fewer and fewer people are actually learning to touch type. We did that in HS on Royals and IBM Selectrics. Most of the folks that learned a keyboard in the digital age seem to treat it as uncharted territory, having to watch the keys and using only 2 or 3 fingers on either hand. It seems that a keyboard like this is a waste for them. I can't imagine that this is a benefit for anybody that isn't a touch typist.
    boomchuck1
    • RE: CES: Moving keyboard claims to reduce injuries

      @boomchuck1 I think it's actually something halfway in between at this point. Few people are formally trained how to type (which I would equate with touch-typing) but those who type often enough for repetitive-motion/carpal tunnel/etc. type injuries to be an issue have evolved their own typing methods.

      I actually had a typing class in 8th grade, but have since lost much of what was taught in that class despite using the keyboard for long periods nearly every day (as both an English major and someone who plays with creative writing as a hobby). I pretty much use all fingers but have improper form and the pinky is pretty much left to things like shift/enter/control.

      I figure that evolving one's one method due to simple repetition is the norm over pure hunt and peck or true touch typing.
      paul_preib
      • RE: CES: Moving keyboard claims to reduce injuries

        @paul_preib <br>I took typing for half a school year in 1960.<br>I still type at better than 45 WPM when plain text.<br>Programming language and odd charcters do slow me down a bit.<br>But then I learned International Morris Code in 1955 and still copy over 20 WPM on Amateur Radio and commercial Radio Telegraph stations.<br>Guess I'm just lucky to have come from an age of requierement to learn while in school.

        Did you see the contest on TV between two old Amateur Radio Operators using International Morris verses a couple of high speed texting champs?
        The texting guys didn't just loose.
        They were damned near skunked!
        What are you going to do when the lights go out?

        They will go out whethere you believe it or not.
        Obama is going to see to it!
        Peteg99
    • RE: CES: Moving keyboard claims to reduce injuries

      @boomchuck1 ... fascinates me that they don't teach touch typing as part of more tech ed programs.
      Trep Ford
      • RE: CES: Moving keyboard claims to reduce injuries

        @Trep Ford
        Granted this was 12 years ago but in 8th grade they actually had a class where I went to school termed an 'elective wheel'. The class filled your elective slot and was broken into three pieces where the first 1/3 of the year actually was a typing class.

        Unfortunately teaching it at that stage had little actual impact on my typing skills later on down the road.
        paul_preib
      • RE: CES: Moving keyboard claims to reduce injuries

        @Trep Ford
        Seems that requiring computer skills in a job it would be paramount that the job require at least 20 to 25 WPM touch typing.
        Sure would save a lot of time/MONEY!
        Peteg99
    • RE: CES: Moving keyboard claims to reduce injuries

      @boomchuck1
      The big waste of time for them is not spending 10 minutes a day for a couple of weeks to touch type.
      Think how much time would be saved if they would just put in a very small effort.
      I typed this in less than 20 seconds.

      I ain't no hunt N pecker!
      Peteg99
    • RE: CES: Moving keyboard claims to reduce injuries

      @boomchuck1: Our daughter is a senior in high school. She had a "keyboarding" class in grade school and another one, as an elective, in high school. She is a very good touch keyboarder/typist. Mom and I both took touch typing in high school on electric typewriters.

      Mom has slender fingers and is the fastest of us. Our daughter inherited my well rounded fingers. She would not admit it to me but she knows that she is a lot faster with a keyboard, even on her LG Rumor Touch, than on any other interface. She has an aversion to touch interfaces.
      JH_Chicago_Suburbs
  • RE: CES: Moving keyboard claims to reduce injuries

    This sounds interesting in theory, but I'd be curious to see it's practical application. I know I type heavily by the 'feel' of my own keyboard, so when working on someone else's I'll make my fair share of typos for the first chunk of time on that machine. If the keyboard shifts itself slightly here and there it may somewhat mess up the rhythm of typing for certain folks like myself.

    Also I'd be curious how much it changes/adjusts. If it is not moving that drastically I would be curious to see how much effect it truly has on reducing repetitive stress and fatigue in muscles/tendons/etc. I obviously have no real medical knowledge to qualify me to comment, but it would seem that doing the same motion while only altering slightly the orientation wouldn't be nearly as effective as say a more effective variation of talk-to-type software.
    paul_preib
    • RE: CES: Moving keyboard claims to reduce injuries

      @paul_preib
      They only thing I want moving when I'm typing is all ten of the digits on my front paws!
      Peteg99
  • RE: CES: Moving keyboard claims to reduce injuries

    I think it's an idiotic idea. It will make some money for them, but it sure won't show up here.
    I don't want any thing I'm aiming at from memory moving but me.
    It's like muscle memory in shooting.
    It works in both cases.
    I know I do both and rely on typing to make a living and
    the other part for staying alive when the need arises.
    Peteg99
  • Switch to DVORAK first !!! And take breaks...

    The change in incline is only two degrees. These comments about the keyboard "running across the desk and getting away from me!!!" seem to be based on the greatly exaggerated picture, rather than the specifications.<br><br>Nonetheless, there are MUCH BETTER ways to reduce typing stress and protect your body from damage:<br><br>#1: Run a timer on your screen, to enforce short breaks several times per hour. Get up, OUT OF THE CHAIR, and give your arms and hands some gentle wiggles.<br><br>#2: Dvorak keyboard. QWERTY was *designed* to be awkward, difficult, and slow; IMO it's a really bad thing that "typing classes" use it. If the people are going to be typing a lot, they should be taught on a keyboard which is SAFER, FASTER TO USE, and LESS ERROR PRONE.<br><br>(I'll admit, though, that I'm personally typing on a QWERTY right now. Too old and lazy to change my ways, and I don't type much.)
    Rick S._z
  • RE: CES: Moving keyboard claims to reduce injuries

    Interesting keyboard, would like to try one and let some of my students try one.

    The vast majority of my students leave my class at the end of the year keyboarding at 25 wpm or more. After one semester of keyboarding I have one student already at 70 wpm.

    I put up with a lot of whining, ( I have ended up telling my students I don't speak Whinese), and end up having students at the end of the year that are generally pretty good at keyboarding after about 45 hrs of practice.

    Not only that, we learn office apps, a little programming, basic video editing, and many other things.
    weemooseus@...
  • RE: CES: Moving keyboard claims to reduce injuries

    Morris code?? Samuel F. B. must be cringing.
    Why, in the caption for the second picture, is moves in quotation marks? Either it moves, or it doesn't. Does it sorta move? Kinda move? Virtual move?
    I don't think I would like a piece of equipment that I'm working on to be constantly moving away from me.
    deja_voodoo@...
    • RE: CES: Moving keyboard claims to reduce injuries

      @deja_voodoo@...
      Morris not just once, but twice, from someone who is proud of their speeds. Does s/he know something we don't?

      With you on this "what do you mean it moves?" question. Do we really want a keyboard where the E key shifts around under your fingers?

      Having said which, I am currently typing on keyboard with a very slight curve on it (it's a laptop) and when this laptop finally gives up the ghost (not long now) I am not looking forward to the return of a standard laptop keyboard. Not all innovations in keyboards a bad idea.
      pvsutton
  • RE: CES: Moving keyboard claims to reduce injuries

    I think it's an interesting lesson in human psychology that a simple article about a new keyboard generated 15 (now 16) comments, including personal histories and political statements. Boy, people really have a lot of opinions about nonsense.
    I like this keyboard. I might buy it. But not because of Obama or my (lack of) a typing class in high school/college/preschool/boy scouts. I think it's a good design because my wrists throb at night for reasons that this probably addresses. But why any of you would care, I have no idea.
    Will Lewis
    • RE: CES: Moving keyboard claims to reduce injuries

      @congospruce

      Hear, hear!!
      DeusXMachina
  • RE: CES: Moving keyboard claims to reduce injuries

    There is obviously a niche market already for such gadgets, and I'm sure some ordinary people will be curious enough to buy one, but in the long run, we've had "ergonomic" and other fad keyboards around for years, and they just don't sell. Even those who are into sporting the latest and greatest new stuff on their desks may put one of these new keys, but I would be willing to bet that as soon as their audience has left, they will pull out the hidden standard keys and let the gimmick collect dust.
    bionicbub
  • Interesting idea, but not the right one

    The original QWERTY keyboard layout was introduced to SLOW DOWN typists. That's right. A good typist could key faster than the mechanical typewriters of old were able to respond. That was before electric typewriters and long before computer keyboards.

    Unfortunately that keyboard layout has persisted - probably due to the millions of touch typists who were familiar with the layout and did not want to see it changed.

    The original reason for QWERTY has outlived its time and the whole keyboard layout should be changed so that there is less movement and strain on the wrists when typing.

    That is an easier way of reducing stress and injuries, if only manufacturers would jump on the potential bandwagon.
    DMChoptiany@...
  • RE: CES: Moving keyboard claims to reduce injuries

    I use the little Apple BT keyboard with my MacBook, which provides all the movement I need. Right now it is gently squoze between my thighs, but at least 1/2 the time it is balanced partly on the arm of my recliner and partly on the butt of a small dog. <br><br>I took typing in HS and reached about 45 wpm. Then the USAF had need of my skills and had me up to 120 wpm on a teletype (all upper case). Those skills got me my 1st civilian job as a Jr. Clerk Typist, which led to the career from which I retired as Executive Director last year. It sounds downright Gilbert and Sullivan!
    mcqz@...