Author Topic: promoting gripping motion while typing  (Read 1455 times)

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Offline cheater

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promoting gripping motion while typing
« on: Thu, 24 December 2020, 09:51:11 »
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The Malt, like a standard keyboard or most "flat" keyboards, uses a sideways striking type of thumb movement (flexion of the trapeziometacarpal joint at the base of the thumb). Some other "ergonomic" keyboards don't get the orientation right, but parallel to the other keys is close enough.

Maybe, but this hasn't really been studied and there aren't enough users to know whether or not such implementations will cause potential issues in the long term (anecdotally there are already some complaints).

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Thumb keys have the big advantage that they can often be independently typed or held alongside finger keys on the same hand, but this isn't an essential limitation. For example finger modifiers can put the keyboard into an alternate mode (not needing to be held down).

This is factored into my analysis. Whether or not the thumb keys are used as so called 'one shot' modifiers is irrelevant. The problem is that once you include modifiers and real computer use the equation changes and complicates the analysis.

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Alternately, if both hands are assumed to stay on the keyboard (for one-handed operation constraints are different), theoretically a single thumb modifier on each hand is enough; finger keys on the same hand can be used alongside as additional layers or modifiers, affecting keystrokes pressed on the other hand.  Standard layer-switching with dedicated separate layer keys is arguably a waste of space.

This sort of chording has ergonomic implications that would have to be factored into the model. Intuitively this seems like it would involve a lot more strain than having dedicated keys for alt/ctrl/other layers.

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Quote Colemak DH/Dvorak These are both suboptimal. They are built on outdated and limited assumptions about both physical keyboard shape and the way typing motions work (e.g. Dvorak is designed for mid-20th-century typewriters which are substantially different from any currently available computer keyboard).  However there are diminishing returns to improvements in letter layout, so any of them is a reasonably acceptable alternative to QWERTY.

It is not self evident that layout optimization for typewriters dramatically differs from the optimization criteria for computer keyboards when typing English text. Even if you believe this it is not clear what the optimization criteria should be or whether or not any appreciable gains can be made over common layouts like Dvorak or Colemak.

i think that one of the motions that we should be doing a lot with our hands that we never do with keyboards is gripping with all fingers and the thumb at the same time. this motion sort of resets the whole mechanical system of the joints and ligaments. i have no empirical data on it, but i have a feeling it can prevent rsi, because doing heavy free weights helps against this, and that includes gripping stuff very hard. so it would be interesting to me how to make a layout where you grip an object a lot. note this is different than a pinching motion (eg when putting salt on something), and it's different from making a fist. But it's more like making a fist than anything - it's just that the thumb doesn't go over the fingers, but instead the tip of the thumb meets the tip of the other fingers.

i think the important part here is that all five digits close at the same time, rather than just thumb + one of the other fingers at random, but maybe having pairs (combinations of thumb and single finger) can be helpful in itself.

note that you don't really need to touch the tip of your thumb to the tips of the other fingers, just going part of the way will be helpful.

maybe the following system could help:

1. keyboard is shaped like a convex object which you grip, eg a ball or bar (cylinder) or upside down bowl
2. thumb operates shift
3. if you want to type a shifted version of a key, you press the thumb, then the key, and it will only get typed once the thumb is let go again
4. shifting is per side. so left shift only interacts with the left side of the keyboard, right with right side. you could be holding right thumb shift, and still typing lower case characters with the left hand, and those letters would get typed as soon as you pressed the key, not after releasing the thumb.
5. space is on thumb + multiple keys. any keys are fine, just more than one. alternatively that could be enter. not sure which is better, but space gets typed more, so you'd be doing the gripping motion more.
6. you have another shift on either side somewhere that can be operated like normal shift: bilateral, things get typed as soon as you press them.

Offline jacobolus

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Re: promoting gripping motion while typing
« Reply #1 on: Mon, 28 December 2020, 01:07:03 »
You should try it and report back. I am not expecting it will be very comfortable, but the only way we can advance our understanding is if people go out and try wacky things sometimes.

Offline jamster

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Re: promoting gripping motion while typing
« Reply #2 on: Mon, 28 December 2020, 01:31:01 »
Presumably you have seen the manuform and dactyl manuform keyboards? They are part of the way there.

Interesting idea, but as you admit, no research to support it.

Offline vvp

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Re: promoting gripping motion while typing
« Reply #3 on: Mon, 28 December 2020, 04:48:05 »
It is hard to have easily accessible multiple rows for finger on a convex shape. It is easy to have multiple rows on concave shape (e.g. Maltron).

Oobly has a gripping thumb cluster too. And Oobly has an advantage of very natural chording of thumb keys.
But as it is with the keywell, it is harder to have more gripping thumb keys compared to Maltron like thumb cluster. E.g. Dactyl has only 6 thumb keys, Oobly has 4, Maltron has 8, I have put 9 on my Maltron style thumb cluster.

Human thumb is quite good in pressing thumb keys with up-down movement and locating keys with left-right "gripping" movement. But it does not really matter because all the thumb clusters need both up/down and left/right movements for typing. The only thing which is different is which of the movements are used for pressing and which for locating. My opinion is that it does not really matter and I selected thumb cluster which allows more keys easily.

Offline jamster

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Re: promoting gripping motion while typing
« Reply #4 on: Mon, 28 December 2020, 04:57:50 »
I've been using 'gripping' style thumb keys for at least three months now. I don't really like them, and find the traditional up-and-down style a lot faster to actuate.

Offline cheater

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Re: promoting gripping motion while typing
« Reply #5 on: Mon, 28 December 2020, 06:10:07 »
manuform and dactyl manuform keyboards

Oobly

None of those are keyboards where you grip. if you pressed in keys with all your fingers, you wouldn't be crushing the keyboard between your thumb and your fingers. I believe it'll only start being relevant to the wrist and to counter rsi once that starts happening.

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Human thumb is quite good in pressing thumb keys with up-down movement and locating keys with left-right "gripping" movement.

That's not a gripping movement..

Offline vvp

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Re: promoting gripping motion while typing
« Reply #6 on: Mon, 28 December 2020, 16:53:19 »
Well, maybe your hands are different but I'm hard pressed to move my thumb directly against a finger. When I'm gripping something my thumb is moving more in the lef-right direction than front-back direction (like the rest of the fingers are moving). So I assumed left-right thumb movement is the gripping movement for thumb.

Draw a prototype in a CAD so that we have a better idea what you mean. Regardless of the thumb keys, I see a problem how to get more than 2 rows of keys for fingers on such a keyboard. That would mean some heavy layer shifting.

Offline jacobolus

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Re: promoting gripping motion while typing
« Reply #7 on: Mon, 28 December 2020, 20:31:04 »
I believe cheater wants something like a guitar fretboard for typing on.

Offline cheater

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Re: promoting gripping motion while typing
« Reply #8 on: Mon, 28 December 2020, 20:38:49 »
Well, maybe your hands are different but I'm hard pressed to move my thumb directly against a finger. When I'm gripping something my thumb is moving more in the lef-right direction than front-back direction (like the rest of the fingers are moving). So I assumed left-right thumb movement is the gripping movement for thumb.

Draw a prototype in a CAD so that we have a better idea what you mean. Regardless of the thumb keys, I see a problem how to get more than 2 rows of keys for fingers on such a keyboard. That would mean some heavy layer shifting.

Have you never pinched anything in your life?

Offline cheater

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Re: promoting gripping motion while typing
« Reply #9 on: Mon, 28 December 2020, 20:57:36 »
I believe cheater wants something like a guitar fretboard for typing on.

As an experiment, pick up a normal (thin ish) keyboard, put it upright, and grip it like you would grip a closed book. Then squeeze. That sort of thing. Just a normal keyboard with keys on the back would be good I think. If you do that with a keyboard that doesn't have a panel below the space bar - i.e. the keyboard ends at the space bar - you will be able to hit all the alphabetic rows. A good example of a keyboard that works is Filco Majestouch 2. Number rows are tough. But you could put the numbers on the spacebar row. I typed this whole sentence like that. It feels pretty good. Could easily use a much higher weighting than those cherry blues the Filco came with. Get you some workout. Not sure what to do about F keys. Maybe on the side, like XT keyboards. Maybe a different geometry can help. It's not like you're using F keys all the time, so it's fine if you don't grip for those.

Offline jamster

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Re: promoting gripping motion while typing
« Reply #10 on: Mon, 28 December 2020, 23:44:42 »
Draw a prototype in a CAD so that we have a better idea what you mean. Regardless of the thumb keys, I see a problem how to get more than 2 rows of keys for fingers on such a keyboard. That would mean some heavy layer shifting.

^ What he said.

The only way I can imagine this grippy keyboard being able to exist would be as a stenography set up. The range of reach as described by the OP is very limited for both fingers and thumb.

A mockup might convince otherwise, but I'm not holding my breath.

Offline cheater

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Re: promoting gripping motion while typing
« Reply #11 on: Tue, 29 December 2020, 00:49:10 »
Well, maybe your hands are different but I'm hard pressed to move my thumb directly against a finger. When I'm gripping something my thumb is moving more in the lef-right direction than front-back direction (like the rest of the fingers are moving). So I assumed left-right thumb movement is the gripping movement for thumb.

Draw a prototype in a CAD so that we have a better idea what you mean. Regardless of the thumb keys, I see a problem how to get more than 2 rows of keys for fingers on such a keyboard. That would mean some heavy layer shifting.

Draw a prototype in a CAD so that we have a better idea what you mean. Regardless of the thumb keys, I see a problem how to get more than 2 rows of keys for fingers on such a keyboard. That would mean some heavy layer shifting.

^ What he said.

The only way I can imagine this grippy keyboard being able to exist would be as a stenography set up. The range of reach as described by the OP is very limited for both fingers and thumb.

A mockup might convince otherwise, but I'm not holding my breath.


Offline jamster

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Re: promoting gripping motion while typing
« Reply #12 on: Tue, 29 December 2020, 01:11:32 »
I can move my fingers between exactly 3 rows, with a keyboard held like that. Hence the comment about having to use a stenography layout.

If I try to add one more row (e.g. for numerals) my entire finger presses down a load a random keys. e.g. pressing 7 would also randomly activate U/J/M. I guess some people get away without a dedicated number row on their smaller boards.
« Last Edit: Tue, 29 December 2020, 01:14:06 by jamster »

Offline cheater

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Re: promoting gripping motion while typing
« Reply #13 on: Tue, 29 December 2020, 03:09:24 »
yeah i think it could be easier if you got rid of the space bar row and moved the rest of the keyboard half a unit down. half a unit so you can still get at the bottom row (put numbers there). Maybe at this rate slightly smaller keys make sense.

Offline jamster

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Re: promoting gripping motion while typing
« Reply #14 on: Tue, 29 December 2020, 04:01:33 »
Oh, this was already with the spacebar removed :)  My assumption is that space and modifier keys get moved to the thumbs.

Offline cheater

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Re: promoting gripping motion while typing
« Reply #15 on: Tue, 29 December 2020, 04:18:55 »
they did... the thumbs are on the back now lol

Offline vvp

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Re: promoting gripping motion while typing
« Reply #16 on: Tue, 29 December 2020, 05:02:50 »
Well, that is what I meant by "hard pressed to move my thumb like that". I should actually have to have my thumb resting position not to the side of my palm and only slightly down out of the palm plane but a lot of below the palm plane. That is not comfortable resting position for me. Then my thumb could move directly against a finger but the movement is mostly not in the direction in which my thumb phalang can bend. Not a big deal. I would mind the biger distance I need to maintain between my thumbs and fingers (so that the keyboard can fit in between).

I can imagine up to around 6 thumb buttons (3 columns, 2 rows). One thumb column not being behind palm (i.e. the movement to press the keys in that column would not be a "pinching" move). Also the thumb buttons would need to be concave (not convex), i.e. the more far away row would need to be taller. The keyboard would need to be split with about 90 tilting.

I can imagine at most 2 finger key rows if the keyboard is really supposed to be convex for finger keys. 3 rows could work well if the keyboard is flat for the finger keys. You probably can do 4 or 5 rows if it is concave but that would not be "pinching" move. The biggest problem adding more finger key rows is that you cannot move the whole hand since your thumb is hooked around the keyboard edge. People with smaller hands will have more issues.

6 concave thumb buttons (2 rows, 3 columns), 15 flat finger buttons (3 rows, 5 columns (2 for pointing finger)) may work.

I think it would be less comfortable for me compared to K84CS I have. But I never had any RSI problems. I use contoured keyboards for almost 20 years now but it is for comfort, not because of health problems.

If you built it then post pictures and your experience!

Offline cheater

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Re: promoting gripping motion while typing
« Reply #17 on: Tue, 29 December 2020, 05:59:12 »
Well, that is what I meant by "hard pressed to move my thumb like that". I should actually have to have my thumb resting position not to the side of my palm and only slightly down out of the palm plane but a lot of below the palm plane. That is not comfortable resting position for me. Then my thumb could move directly against a finger but the movement is mostly not in the direction in which my thumb phalang can bend. Not a big deal. I would mind the biger distance I need to maintain between my thumbs and fingers (so that the keyboard can fit in between).

I can imagine up to around 6 thumb buttons (3 columns, 2 rows). One thumb column not being behind palm (i.e. the movement to press the keys in that column would not be a "pinching" move). Also the thumb buttons would need to be concave (not convex), i.e. the more far away row would need to be taller. The keyboard would need to be split with about 90 tilting.

I can imagine at most 2 finger key rows if the keyboard is really supposed to be convex for finger keys. 3 rows could work well if the keyboard is flat for the finger keys. You probably can do 4 or 5 rows if it is concave but that would not be "pinching" move. The biggest problem adding more finger key rows is that you cannot move the whole hand since your thumb is hooked around the keyboard edge. People with smaller hands will have more issues.

6 concave thumb buttons (2 rows, 3 columns), 15 flat finger buttons (3 rows, 5 columns (2 for pointing finger)) may work.

I think it would be less comfortable for me compared to K84CS I have. But I never had any RSI problems. I use contoured keyboards for almost 20 years now but it is for comfort, not because of health problems.

If you built it then post pictures and your experience!

nah dude that's like holding a small bouncy ball or a box of cigarettes (easy to imagine size. i don't smoke)

neither of those are uncomfortable. there might be discomfort if you have to hold the weight of what you're holding in that position, but that's all