geekhack Community > Ergonomics

A symmetric stagger, ergo design

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jamster:
Nice idea on the slightly spaced pinky keys... I just tried and see what you mean about hitting some keys off centre, and will try modifying key spacing.

Yeah, the Alice... imo it'd be better off not being called ergonomic at all. I don't even get the cosmetic appeal. It's really just overly twee, but at the same time clunky-looking.

tp4tissue:
The layout's fine,  but Flat is no go.  Gotta Tent.. 40-70* degrees

Gorbon:

--- Quote from: tp4tissue on Tue, 23 February 2021, 06:04:48 ---The layout's fine,  but Flat is no go.  Gotta Tent.. 40-70* degrees

--- End quote ---
I agree; tenting* is best, but that would make the design significantly more involved (3 separate PCBs, complicated case) and decided not to dive that deep yet. Maybe on version 2.0 when my skills have improved.

*: But 70? Damn! I'd probably need climbing holds instead of palm rests to hang on.

Findecanor:

--- Quote from: Gorbon on Tue, 23 February 2021, 06:57:27 ---... (3 separate PCBs, complicated case)  ...
--- End quote ---
One solution could perhaps be to make it as one PCB in three sections, but with diagonal routed channels and "mouse bites" keeping them together. Then the builder could choose between building it flat or angled.

If you do that, then you might have to sacrifice the F-key in the top middle, and number the F-keys to the right one less, but then you'd also get F8-F12 in the traditional group that people are used to.

There are a bunch of existing DIY keyboards that have optional break-away sections with mouse bites. For example, on the Corne, the outermost 1u columns are optional and break away.

When you lay out the matrix, to save on wiring between separate parts, the keys of each sub-PCB should best be on a sub-rectangle in the logical matrix, with the rectangle shaped as close as possible to a square.

My personal opinions on the layout:
* I think that you should move the middle-finger columns up to the line of the ring finger columns: because that is the longest finger.
* Then move the Tab row in on both sides to get a symmetric uniform 0.25u stagger: It would make it more traditional, and the offset between middle, ring and pinky columns would actually be closer to that of a columnar keyboard with proper offsets, only rotated. (I have measured and compared against (pictures of) the NEC PC-8801-KI)
(I have actually obsessed for years about a layout based on similar ideas, but being two-part and lacking the centre clusters.)

Gorbon:

--- Quote from: Findecanor on Tue, 23 February 2021, 08:10:35 ---* I think that you should move the middle-finger columns up to the line of the ring finger columns: because that is the longest finger.
* Then move the Tab row in on both sides to get a symmetric uniform 0.25u stagger

--- End quote ---
From a comfortable hand position (straight wrists, palms slightly facing each other) and starting from the curved home-row without moving my hands (the red dots are where my fingers naturally rest), I've tracked the paths of my fingers on the keys.



Due to the palm rotation relative to the keyboard (supination):

* the finger paths form arcs
* the keys are pressed with the side of the fingertips
* The index finger path is shorter, because it hovers higher and doesn't have the same reach without moving the hand
* The pinkie has a large reach, because it sits very close to the keysSo it doesn't look like a uniform 0.25u top row stagger would work well here. But I think your suggestion would work nicely on a tented keyboard like the μTRON at a low (or no) split angle, because the tenting brings the key plane mostly parallel to the palms and now the finger paths form straight lines which would align with the row staggerring.




--- Quote from: Findecanor on Tue, 23 February 2021, 08:10:35 ---One solution could perhaps be to make it as one PCB in three sections, but with diagonal routed channels and "mouse bites" keeping them together. Then the builder could choose between building it flat or angled.

--- End quote ---
Thank you for the suggestions, I didn't know all the different options and intricacies and will definitely have a look at that. Although I have to admit that it'd be cleaner/simpler/better to have two separate PCB designs (tented and flat). Also, as I mentioned above, a tented keyboard would probably need a different layout to perform optimally.

In any case, thanks again for the feedback and suggestions.

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