Author Topic: Large gel-covered keycaps with short key travel for weird injury  (Read 1473 times)

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Offline frostbitten

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I have frostbite and the result is that the tips of my fingers are very sensitive and it has totally messed up my typing. I have an idea of what kind of keyboard I need and was wondering if anyone knew of something like it.

I am having some success with keyboards such as the Logitech Solar K750, which has short key travel:



(I can use either windows or mac keyboards)

It hurts to type though, so instead of hard keys it would be beneficial if they were more of a gel feeling. This rollup keyboard (CHINFAI Portable) has a nice feeling but is difficult to type on:



The phrase "membrane keyboard" sounds right but when I look those up it's not what I'm looking for.

Lastly, I have been looking at keyboards with slightly or somewhat larger flat keys as above and not seeing many reasonable options.

Offline frostbitten

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Re: Large gel-covered keycaps with short key travel for weird injury
« Reply #1 on: Mon, 13 May 2019, 18:20:12 »
I'm also struggling to find an example of a mechanical keyboard whose keys are soft to the touch (ie silicone) and not hard plastic.

Offline tex_live_utility

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Re: Large gel-covered keycaps with short key travel for weird injury
« Reply #2 on: Mon, 13 May 2019, 18:20:56 »
Sorry to hear about that! Is the damage permanent?

You might want to look into a low-profile keyboard using Kailh Choc switches. The red (light linear) ones could be a good option, or you can buy custom springs from Sprit that are as light as 12g (originally intended for high-speed stenography usage). That should solve your short-travel and light-touch problems. Do note that Sprit has a poor reputation in this community as a former outright scammer and otherwise somewhat unreliable vendor; but I don't know of any other source for custom Choc springs.

As for a softer keyfeel, that's tougher. It might be possible to buy some kind of adhesive silicone padding and stick a piece onto each key.

Another option could be Niz 35g domes. Niz is a Topre clone that is notably less tactile than Topre. But it's still a tactile switch, and the bottom-out isn't that soft, so it might still aggravate your condition. They can be configured to actuate relatively high, but overall the travel is still "full". The one nice thing with these switches is that they use a standard MX mount, which means that maybe you can use silicone keycaps, which are relatively soft and squishy like the keys on the Logitech.

edit: You can also put those silicone keycaps on a regular MX board; look for Gateron Clear switches, or buy the extra-light MX springs from https://switchmod.net, or Sprit if Switchmod is out of stock. You can pair the light springs with MX Speed Silver or Kailh Speed Silver switches for a very light, very short-travel MX keyswitch. If you want even MORE dampening, you can try putting o-rings on the keycaps, which will stop the key from depressing fully and cause a soft bottom-out feel. However combined with the short-travel Speed switches the travel might be shortened too much.
« Last Edit: Mon, 13 May 2019, 18:24:24 by tex_live_utility »
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Offline frostbitten

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Re: Large gel-covered keycaps with short key travel for weird injury
« Reply #3 on: Tue, 14 May 2019, 14:40:26 »
^ Thanks for the excellent info. Learned much about keyboards.

Offline tp4tissue

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Re: Large gel-covered keycaps with short key travel for weird injury
« Reply #4 on: Tue, 14 May 2019, 16:41:33 »
Don't waste your money.

It'll never be -so soft-  that your finger tips won't pick up some stinging.

The brain allocates enormous amounts of processing power and sensor rate to the finger tips.

What you need to do is Use a keyboard OFTEN and ~stimulating enough, to DESENSITIZE.


Researchers who burned themselves routinely (microwave test), over the course of several weeks develop extreme pain tolerance and can hold their hand over the flame for a Very long time. This tolerance is long lasting and endures a lifetime.

If they can do that.. You can type on a keyboard.

Offline fohat.digs

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Re: Large gel-covered keycaps with short key travel for weird injury
« Reply #5 on: Tue, 14 May 2019, 17:42:35 »
I tend to agree, although I am much removed. Any soft "landing pad" (a term used for Cherry mods that is often derided) may cause distress by adding to the actual force required to actuate the switch itself.

Years ago, I got a Cherry MY keyboard that had been "modified" by removing the primary springs and leaving only the secondary leaf springs. It was absurdly light (I think that we were talking about something in the 15-20 gram range, but I may be wrong) and I couldn't use it so I harvested the key caps and tossed the carcass into the garbage.

Cherry aficionados will know more about this, but I might suggest a mod that has conventional keys but actuates at a feather's weight.
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Offline kurplop

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Re: Large gel-covered keycaps with short key travel for weird injury
« Reply #6 on: Tue, 14 May 2019, 18:18:00 »
Desensitization may work, it hasn’t for me though. After cutting the tips off of three fingers three years ago, I still have hypersensitivity. I agree with those who question if any surface can be soft enough or any spring light enough to help. It might be better to have a glove made. I can imagine one that would be fairly tight fitting that would almost eliminate the feel of the cap. Unfortunately, it would also eliminate feedback.

I ended up not using my damaged fingers for most typing. It wasn’t worth the hassle and discomfort of using textbook touch typing. If all your fingers are affected, you may not have that option.