Author Topic: Fixing the available ergos...  (Read 2377 times)

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Offline Icarium

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Fixing the available ergos...
« on: Tue, 17 January 2012, 17:39:16 »
So the comfortkeyboard seems to have rubber domes (at least I am told on IRC) and the safetype - apart from being ugly as hell - I am told by their support has membrane switches, which, I assume, is the same.

Has anybody tried modding any of these? Or built an adjustable stand like the comfortkeyboard has?
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Offline Architect

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Fixing the available ergos...
« Reply #1 on: Tue, 17 January 2012, 17:55:38 »
Interesting, too bad the Comfort uses rubber domes - surprising since if somebody is going to go to the bother of doing a specialty ergo keyboard they will usually go Cherry.

I'm not familiar with the Safetype but I think it looks pretty cool. I wonder how quick and easy it would be to move from position to the arrow keys? Seems clunky, also I would think that you would put undo pressure on the outside of your hands in the new hand position, too easy to rest on the blade of the hand, maybe not.

But if their claims are true then why can people play the piano so much without trouble? That activity certainly isn't vertical. Serious players can develop overuse problems, but there are many techniques (Alexander etc) to mitigate problems. I think the key with the piano is that there is a lot of movement, the hands are moving in a three dimensional space. With computer keyboarding the hands are stationary, so I try to keep the hands moving around enough to prevent it being a problem, and otherwise look for a board that is convent and fast (the faster it is the less I have to be on it)
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« Reply #2 on: Tue, 17 January 2012, 18:50:00 »
I never tried the safetype but I'm sure it sucks because it has the zig/zag staggered arrangement which totally destroys vertical keyboards. I had a Comfort Keyboard which I tried to use vertically and I know. Constant typing errors. In contrast, propping up 2 Kinesis Advantages vertically, I could immediately type at my regular WPM with no errors. You can possibly do that with 2 Truly Ergonomics as well. Architect, please try it out and post some photos too!
Kinesis Contoured Advantage LF with Cherry MX Red switches / Extra keys mod / O-ring dampening mod / Dvorak layout. ErgoDox with buzzer and LED mod.
Also: Kinesis Advantage Classic, Kinesis Contoured Model 110, Data911 TG3, Fingerworks Touchstream LP, KBC Poker (Cherry MX Red), IBM Space Saving keyboard (Buckling spring), Goldtouch GTU-0077 keyboard

Online Input Nirvana

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Fixing the available ergos...
« Reply #3 on: Tue, 17 January 2012, 19:23:07 »
The stand for the Comfort Keyboard was on my radar to use as an item for the Split Kinesis Project, but then I noted it was not infinitely adjustable, that it has 'stops'. I didn't want that. And it's not available without the keyboard...it's integrated into the design.

What kind of mods to those keyboards were you thinking of?
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« Reply #4 on: Tue, 17 January 2012, 19:30:10 »
Quote from: input nirvana;492940
The stand for the Comfort Keyboard was on my radar to use as an item for the Split Kinesis Project, but then I noted it was not infinitely adjustable, that it has 'stops'. I didn't want that.

Wrong, it's infinitely adjustable. Totally "analog", no stops whatsoever.
Kinesis Contoured Advantage LF with Cherry MX Red switches / Extra keys mod / O-ring dampening mod / Dvorak layout. ErgoDox with buzzer and LED mod.
Also: Kinesis Advantage Classic, Kinesis Contoured Model 110, Data911 TG3, Fingerworks Touchstream LP, KBC Poker (Cherry MX Red), IBM Space Saving keyboard (Buckling spring), Goldtouch GTU-0077 keyboard

Online Input Nirvana

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Fixing the available ergos...
« Reply #5 on: Tue, 17 January 2012, 19:48:13 »
The angled height is infinitely adjustable? The tenting? No stops every 10 or 15 degrees?
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Offline Architect

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Fixing the available ergos...
« Reply #6 on: Tue, 17 January 2012, 20:40:39 »
Quote from: sordna;492920
I never tried the safetype but I'm sure it sucks because it has the zig/zag staggered arrangement which totally destroys vertical keyboards. I had a Comfort Keyboard which I tried to use vertically and I know. Constant typing errors. In contrast, propping up 2 Kinesis Advantages vertically, I could immediately type at my regular WPM with no errors. You can possibly do that with 2 Truly Ergonomics as well. Architect, please try it out and post some photos too!

Nah, whenever I've tried vertical I didn't like it. Too hard to type, was unnatural, just moved the issues somewhere else, like the outside blade of the hand.
TECK 209 Blank Keys; Leopold Number Pad; X-Keys Professional; X-Keys 84.

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« Reply #7 on: Tue, 17 January 2012, 20:50:22 »
Quote from: input nirvana;492954
The angled height is infinitely adjustable? The tenting? No stops every 10 or 15 degrees?

No stops, every aspect was analog. I think you are getting mixed up with the Comfort Keyboard systems' Ergomagic, a cheaper version with fixed stops. The regular Comfort Keyboard System, the one with the huge sprockets (which you also have a photo of used with a Kinesis on your mod page) is infinitely adjustable.
Kinesis Contoured Advantage LF with Cherry MX Red switches / Extra keys mod / O-ring dampening mod / Dvorak layout. ErgoDox with buzzer and LED mod.
Also: Kinesis Advantage Classic, Kinesis Contoured Model 110, Data911 TG3, Fingerworks Touchstream LP, KBC Poker (Cherry MX Red), IBM Space Saving keyboard (Buckling spring), Goldtouch GTU-0077 keyboard

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Fixing the available ergos...
« Reply #8 on: Tue, 17 January 2012, 20:59:50 »
Zippy! So tenting from 0 to at least 90 degrees, and the inward angle/outward angle are all stepless. Nice. Too bad it's integrated into the bottom half of the cases, I would consider using it for the Split Kinesis Mod, or any split keyboards GH builds. Since you had one, any thoughts on it being able to be adapted if they would return my emails to buy that portion?
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Online sordna

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« Reply #9 on: Tue, 17 January 2012, 21:04:42 »
It can be adapted I think. And you could cut the base into 2 pieces, drill holes, and mount them on chair arms or whatever. However the fastening isn't very strong, I mean you adjust it, tighten the sprockets to fasten it, but it does wobble and move a bit, if you type with too much force. Not a huge problem but... anyway, your best bet is finding one on ebay if the company doesn't sell you the part. They do answer phone calls however, I've talked to them a couple of times. Did you try calling them?
Kinesis Contoured Advantage LF with Cherry MX Red switches / Extra keys mod / O-ring dampening mod / Dvorak layout. ErgoDox with buzzer and LED mod.
Also: Kinesis Advantage Classic, Kinesis Contoured Model 110, Data911 TG3, Fingerworks Touchstream LP, KBC Poker (Cherry MX Red), IBM Space Saving keyboard (Buckling spring), Goldtouch GTU-0077 keyboard

Online Input Nirvana

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Fixing the available ergos...
« Reply #10 on: Tue, 17 January 2012, 22:27:35 »
No, I emailed my fingers to the bone. Screw tek-nologee. I'll drag out the tin cans and string and see what I can do.

I'm concerned you say it has motion. There should be NO motion for this to be really nice. Nothing like aluminum and steel I guess. And industrial plastics, that **** is wicked.
Kinesis Advantage | RollerMouse Free 2 | Apple Magic Trackpad | Alphagrip | Colemak | all on Mac
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Offline Icarium

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Fixing the available ergos...
« Reply #11 on: Wed, 18 January 2012, 03:33:18 »
Quote from: input nirvana;492940
The stand for the Comfort Keyboard was on my radar to use as an item for the Split Kinesis Project, but then I noted it was not infinitely adjustable, that it has 'stops'. I didn't want that. And it's not available without the keyboard...it's integrated into the design.

What kind of mods to those keyboards were you thinking of?

Oh, I was thinking about replacing the switches. But right now I'm considering making a stand for the ergodox instead because it has a matrix layout.
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Offline Findecanor

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Fixing the available ergos...
« Reply #12 on: Wed, 18 January 2012, 04:29:32 »
The last few days, I have been toying a lot with an idea for a circuit board that could be used for modding existing split staggered keyboards to use PCB-mounted Cherry MX switches with diodes. My original idea was to make a split tenkeyless, but then I realized that if done right, there would be lots of possibilities for customization and for adaptation to existing layouts.

The big thing with the PCB would be that it would be modular and you would have to do a lot of cutting. It would be built as one big circuit board with the left-hand-size on the right and vice versa, with a large matrix in the middle. Depending on which layout you want, you could cut the board in half in various places.  If you want to change the distance between the alpha numeric keys and another key group, (e.g. the function key row), then you could cut that off and replace the cut leads with a ribbon cable. If you want more function keys on the left side, then you cut off more on the right side and vice versa. Perhaps it would be more cost-effective to use an identical PCB for the left and right side and just flip one over, but I am not sure that it could be done.

The controllers would be a Teensy between the numeric row and function row on each keyboard half. Maybe it would be possible to connect the halves with a ribbon cable and use only one controller, but then I think that we would have to step up to a Teensy++ with more pins, to minimize the number of leads in the connecting cable.
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Offline dorkvader

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Fixing the available ergos...
« Reply #13 on: Wed, 18 January 2012, 09:32:36 »
Routing the traces would be very hard or impossible.
let me put together your keyboard! Nut&bolt mod (many pictures)
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Offline Findecanor

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« Reply #14 on: Wed, 18 January 2012, 11:35:09 »
I figure that I would have to get each module auto-routed separately and merge the Gerber files manually.
« Last Edit: Wed, 18 January 2012, 11:40:16 by Findecanor »
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« Reply #15 on: Fri, 20 January 2012, 16:26:25 »
The range of adjustability on the comfort is amazing.  So is the effort required to re-order the 3 pieces and then arrange them until you're happy with it.  Every time you change something, it's like someone has adjusted your car seat - but a million times worse.  

Tried the vertical arrangement too.  Hated it.  The study that safetype commissioned had a heavy recommendation to build vertical wrist rests - I notice that they are still missing from their product.  Did they assume that no-one would read the research?
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Offline Icarium

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« Reply #16 on: Fri, 20 January 2012, 18:05:13 »
You read it! <3
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« Reply #17 on: Wed, 25 January 2012, 16:13:26 »
Quote from: Icarium;495200
You read it! <3
and what's worse, I read it for entertainment...:playball:
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Offline dorkvader

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Fixing the available ergos...
« Reply #18 on: Wed, 25 January 2012, 22:50:31 »
Quote from: hoggy;498945
and what's worse, I read it for entertainment...:playball:
I read research papers for fun all the time. Maybe that's why my knowledge:grades ratio is what it is.
let me put together your keyboard! Nut&bolt mod (many pictures)
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« Reply #19 on: Sun, 29 January 2012, 05:58:58 »
Quote from: Findecanor;493265
The last few days, I have been toying a lot with an idea for a circuit board that could be used for modding existing split staggered keyboards to use PCB-mounted Cherry MX switches with diodes. My original idea was to make a split tenkeyless, but then I realized that if done right, there would be lots of possibilities for customization and for adaptation to existing layouts.

The big thing with the PCB would be that it would be modular and you would have to do a lot of cutting. It would be built as one big circuit board with the left-hand-size on the right and vice versa, with a large matrix in the middle. Depending on which layout you want, you could cut the board in half in various places.  If you want to change the distance between the alpha numeric keys and another key group, (e.g. the function key row), then you could cut that off and replace the cut leads with a ribbon cable. If you want more function keys on the left side, then you cut off more on the right side and vice versa. Perhaps it would be more cost-effective to use an identical PCB for the left and right side and just flip one over, but I am not sure that it could be done.

The controllers would be a Teensy between the numeric row and function row on each keyboard half. Maybe it would be possible to connect the halves with a ribbon cable and use only one controller, but then I think that we would have to step up to a Teensy++ with more pins, to minimize the number of leads in the connecting cable.


I think you might be onto something there.  

If you split up the pcb into several parts...  Left modifiers, 'middle', right modifiers, cursor, keypad, function keys, controller, etc.  Provide sensible routing for that pcb only and connectors so the owner can connect up the pcbs using readily available connectors.  The middle pcb (the alpha keys), could be made into a (small) variety of lengths - one hand or both hands.

Would make a wonderful kit for those wanting a
  • split mech with the cursors on the right and numpad in the middle
  • a standard TKL they've put together themselves
  • a left handed cherry red
  • ...
GH Ergonomic Guide (in progress)
http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=54680.0

Offline Findecanor

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« Reply #20 on: Wed, 08 February 2012, 19:47:24 »

This is a rough sketch of the layout that I had in mind originally. It is for PCB-mounted Cherry MX switches.

The builder cuts it in half somewhere in the middle to get whatever key groups he likes on each side. The keys in the middle would then belong to either the left or the right side depending on where the cut was made, or not be part of the keyboard at all.
Each module has been outlined and given a colour, but I have not yet indicated where the traces between modules would be. If such traces are cut off, they could be replaced with a ribbon cable.
I have put 1/2 key spacing between key groups because that is very common among cheap and vintage keyboards whose cases could be reused as building material. If the spacing is different, then the modules could be cut off and connected via ribbon cables.
If you put a num pad on the left side and want 2 high Enter and + keys, then the numpad is left-handed.

I am not at all sure about the bottom row. Personally, I prefer 1.5 Ctrl/Alt, 1.0 Win/Menu and 2.0 wide Space bars, but I think that it would be easier to source new key caps for 1.25 wide modifiers.

The big question is, which split rubber dome keyboards do we want to be able to convert?
I have had the MS Ergo 4000 in mind, but I don't have any on hand to test with.
I see no reason to convert the Goldtouch because its rubber dome switches are quite good to begin with.

.. and also.. should we settle with staggered QWERTY, or should we go with symmetric stagger?
The biggest problem with symmetric stagger is finding key caps that match and still fit into an existing keyboard case.

Edit: Corrected a few colours and symbols that were wrong.
« Last Edit: Wed, 08 February 2012, 20:44:08 by Findecanor »
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Online sordna

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« Reply #21 on: Wed, 08 February 2012, 20:06:23 »
Symmetric stagger, of course! Hey, why are the left and right sides swapped?
Kinesis Contoured Advantage LF with Cherry MX Red switches / Extra keys mod / O-ring dampening mod / Dvorak layout. ErgoDox with buzzer and LED mod.
Also: Kinesis Advantage Classic, Kinesis Contoured Model 110, Data911 TG3, Fingerworks Touchstream LP, KBC Poker (Cherry MX Red), IBM Space Saving keyboard (Buckling spring), Goldtouch GTU-0077 keyboard

Offline dorkvader

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Fixing the available ergos...
« Reply #22 on: Wed, 08 February 2012, 20:28:34 »
Quote from: sordna;509659
Symmetric stagger, of course! Hey, why are the left and right sides swapped?

since it'll be cut, it makes a lot of sense to do it that way. They wouldn't line up very well with the center keys otherwise.
let me put together your keyboard! Nut&bolt mod (many pictures)
"One should watch a film adaptation of a favorite book only after considering, very carefully, the fact that the casting of the film may very well become the permanent casting of the book in one's mind. This is a very real hazard."

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« Reply #23 on: Wed, 08 February 2012, 20:38:33 »
So you would type QWERTY with the right hand and YUIOP with the left ?!?  I'm obviously missing something here.
Kinesis Contoured Advantage LF with Cherry MX Red switches / Extra keys mod / O-ring dampening mod / Dvorak layout. ErgoDox with buzzer and LED mod.
Also: Kinesis Advantage Classic, Kinesis Contoured Model 110, Data911 TG3, Fingerworks Touchstream LP, KBC Poker (Cherry MX Red), IBM Space Saving keyboard (Buckling spring), Goldtouch GTU-0077 keyboard

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« Reply #24 on: Thu, 09 February 2012, 00:29:55 »
Picture a dremmel in your hand and the pcb in front of you...

Do you want the matrix on the left or the right, or half and half, or 2 columns on the left and the rest on the right?

I think it's pretty smart.
GH Ergonomic Guide (in progress)
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« Reply #25 on: Thu, 09 February 2012, 01:13:39 »
Dremel? Do not mention that word, because this is what happens:

[ Attachment Invalid Or Does Not Exist ] 39839[/ATTACH]

My other keyboards are shaking with fear already, after what happened to their youngest brother.
Kinesis Contoured Advantage LF with Cherry MX Red switches / Extra keys mod / O-ring dampening mod / Dvorak layout. ErgoDox with buzzer and LED mod.
Also: Kinesis Advantage Classic, Kinesis Contoured Model 110, Data911 TG3, Fingerworks Touchstream LP, KBC Poker (Cherry MX Red), IBM Space Saving keyboard (Buckling spring), Goldtouch GTU-0077 keyboard

Offline boli

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« Reply #26 on: Thu, 09 February 2012, 01:39:48 »
Interesting idea! I like that there's a choice of where to put the control cluster and numpad. I figure most right handed people would like it on the left, given the mouse is on the right. Though because it's a split design there will most likely be plenty of space between the left and right parts, so  there would likely be enough space for it to go in the middle.
It's too bad that staggered rows are needed at all, but since it kinda has to be I'd go for symmetric stagger at least - still not as nice as matrix or staggered columns, but way better than the usual "wrong" stagger for the left hand IMO.
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Offline Findecanor

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« Reply #27 on: Thu, 09 February 2012, 08:44:26 »

Here is a symmetric layout. The extra 'Y' key is removed.

One problem with fitting a symmetric layout into an existing keyboard frame is that it is difficult to source key caps for certain positions. The Caps Lock key is 1.25 units wide... and unless you cut a Cherry Caps Lock apart, you would probably have to get one from the bottom row. You might also have to use differently labeled keys for the Shift keys.
I also added the possibility of not making the left side symmetric. I also tweaked the RSpace position.
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Offline boli

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« Reply #28 on: Thu, 09 February 2012, 09:14:45 »
We're using 1.25 wide replacement key caps from the bottom rows for all keys on the outer edges of a Kinesis Advantage board as well, it's not perfect but works well enough.
Keyboard: Kinesis Ergo Advantage (two LF editions with red Cherry switches, one regular with brown switches)
Keyboard layout: basically Colemak, with some remapping to end up with my custom Kinesis Advantage layout
Typing test profiles: typeracer.com / hi-games.net / keybr.com