geekhack Community > Ergonomics

Staggered/Columnar/Ortholinear analysis?

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kajahtaa:
You cannot prove a keyboard reduces pain. You already messed up the body. Go to PT.

I've used ortho and columnar stagger almost 5 years. Never had pain. Nothing is proven.

Had pain from reverse curls tho. Still do reverse curls.

ergo_typing:
@Findecanor that ashlee.info Japanese link is amazing - weird keyboards are such a delight. 45 wrist angle makes my wrists twinge just thinking about it - that must be doing such nasty things.

Re arthritis: I think this is one of the big issues when discussing keyboard ergonomics - so many different aspects of user pain get rolled into one thing. Let alone one would assume the large amount of such pain is self reported, rather than diagnosed.

@nevin "split and hand separation will be the biggest change and improvement" totally agree. I think the default position of keyboards forcing ulnar deviation is, for me, the biggest issue. What led you to go with an ortholinear keyboard?

Re "thumb keys that usually come with columnar stagger" One of the first ergonomic keyboards I tried was an Ergodox and the thumb clusters where what made it less useful to me. The thumb clusters just started giving me a new novel pain the thumb near the wrist! I wonder, with the ergonomics of the thumb, whether a generally useful thumb cluster solution is ever possible. The traditional keyboard long space bar allows for such small adjustments of thumb position on a per user basis, something which a thumb cluster will inherently never allow because of key size constraints.

Re "posture and desk/setup" absolutely - if you are ergonomically in difficulty before you even start typing, there's no hope. I wonder what impact actual typing technique makes? Not just fluid touch typing but how heavily the user bottoms out too. All interesting ergonomic questions.

@kajahtaa "You cannot prove a keyboard reduces pain" An interesting thought - but as a possible counter, when one works with a physio, a common thing they will do initially is an assessment of the injury, but also how it was caused and what actions exacerbate the user pain. For example, if a user has a their main computer monitor too low and not straight in front of them, they might present with neck pain. A physio would of course assess the damage in the neck muscles but would probably advice repositioning of the monitor. Likewise with wrist pain, if the user gets regular pain from typing on traditional keyboards relating to ulnar deviation, the physio might suggest trying a split keyboard.

Proving a causal relationship between a specific keyboard and a specific user is always going to be difficult. It's not like when debugging a complicated piece of software where one can specifically isolate a small segment of the code. There will always be multiple factors when working with people. However, one could design a study whereby a sample of users presenting with similar or related pain are randomly split, one group switch to working with a split keyboard and the other group continuing as before. Then look at the results over time. An interesting thought experiment!

Findecanor:

--- Quote from: ergo_typing on Sat, 25 June 2022, 06:50:20 ---Re "thumb keys that usually come with columnar stagger" One of the first ergonomic keyboards I tried was an Ergodox and the thumb clusters where what made it less useful to me. The thumb clusters just started giving me a new novel pain the thumb near the wrist! I wonder, with the ergonomics of the thumb, whether a generally useful thumb cluster solution is ever possible. The traditional keyboard long space bar allows for such small adjustments of thumb position on a per user basis, something which a thumb cluster will inherently never allow because of key size constraints.
--- End quote ---
Yet another totally personal observation/theory is that when typing on a traditional row-staggered keyboard there is a slight wrist angle of the right hand against the keyboard's plane, but when typing on a columnar or ortho-linear keyboard, the hand is kept parallel to the keyboard.
This affects of course also the angle of the hand to the thumb keys.

Some columnar keyboards, such as Maltron, Kinesis, Dactyl/Tractyl (DIY) and Moonlander (if tented) have instead the thumb cluster on a plane rotated slightly so that the thumb-keys are pressed at a more natural angle.

The ErgoDOX copied the Kinesis' thumb cluster ... but has it in the same plane as other keys.

kajahtaa:
OP if you research this and find solutions for people you'd be making a massive contribution to board and medical community.

Sincerely hope this goes well for you.

ergo_typing:
@kajahtaa my speciality is in computer science not medical research but it would be amazing if a medical researcher designed a study round this area.

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