Author Topic: semi-chorded minimilist ergonomic 3d design  (Read 4905 times)

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Offline J-HAX

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semi-chorded minimilist ergonomic 3d design
« on: Wed, 19 January 2011, 01:00:27 »
Hi, I am currently perfecting an idea for a new 3d Dvorak keyboard, streamlined for typing and programming, which I plan to start making soon (currently sourcing cherry mx blues). Its going to have thirty keys in two halves (3rows*5columns*2halves). Each row will be on a sixty (maybe less) degree angle from the one above or below, this will lessen the distance the fingers travel and mean that instead of moving back and then down for a bottom row key, you just slide your finger back, in a later version I may add an extra key for each little finger angled laterally. Heres a badly drawn side on view, that was then scaled down to make it even worse! Remember that the home row may be sloped towards the user later on, and the angle of the top row may need changing to avoid hitting the top keys with the wrong muscles (I.E. raising instead of extending).

The letters and important punctuation all have their own keys, numbers are typed by modifying the home row (Func-A=1, Func-O=2),programing symbols are modified from the top keys, and barely used keys like Esc, Tab and Home are modified from the bottom row.
It will look somthing like this:
Code: [Select]

[COLOR=Red]Remember this is Dvorak![/COLOR]

[COLOR=#00ff00]'    ,    .    p    y        f    g    c    r    l    (Unmodified)[/COLOR]
[COLOR=#ff8c00]&quot;    <    >                                           (Shifted)[/COLOR]
[COLOR=#ff00ff]`    [    ]    \                  =   -   /           (Functioned)[/COLOR]
[COLOR=#483d8b]~    {    }    |                  +   _   ?           (Shift-Functioned)[/COLOR]
[COLOR=DarkSlateGray]------------------------------------------------------[/COLOR]
[COLOR=#00ff00]a    o    e    u    i        d    h    t    n    s[/COLOR]
[COLOR=#ff00ff]1    2    3    4    5        6    7    8    9    0[/COLOR]
[COLOR=#483d8b]!    @    #    $    %        ^    &    *    (    )[/COLOR]
[COLOR=DarkSlateGray]------------------------------------------------------[/COLOR]
[COLOR=#00ff00];    g    j    k    x        b    m    w    v    z[/COLOR]
[COLOR=#ff8c00]:[/COLOR]
[COLOR=#ff00ff]    CAPS Home Prnt               NUM  End Insrt[/COLOR]

The important part that will make this so fast to type with (hopefully) are five and six buttons bunched together under the left and right thumb respectively (this is because I find my left thumb to be much less usable), the ones on the left are modifiers, and the ones on the right are 'constants' such as Space and Enter. They will look something like this:
Code: [Select]

[COLOR=#00ff00]Ctrl    Shift               Esc     Space   Enter[/COLOR]
[COLOR=#ff00ff]                            PgUp    Left    Up[/COLOR]
[COLOR=DarkSlateGray]-----------------------------------------------[/COLOR]
[COLOR=#00ff00]Meta    Func    Super       Tab     Back    Del[/COLOR]
[COLOR=#ff00ff]                            PgDw    Down    Right[/COLOR]

Thanks for the suggestions you have already given me, most of what is here was influenced by you!
Any more feedback would be very welcome!
Cheers, Jack Allison

P.S. after trawling through geekhack, I realized that some of the ideas here are similar to ideas expressed in other posts! I would just like to say that this post is my own work and I didn't use any of the ideas from these other threads as of 21-1-11. If I do use any other ideas, they will not appear in this first post and I will accredit the person.

APPENDIX: This was the original thumb modifier section and doesn't need to be read.
But the important part that will hopefully make it fast to type with is three digital (momentary on) thumbsticks (1 left, 2 right) that will eliminate "reaching" for shift, enter, etc. The left one will be modifiers (shift, ctrl, meta (alt), function) and the main right one will be "constants" (space, backspace, tab, enter) and backspace and enter will modify as delete and escape. the last one will be directions and these will double as unimportant commands that have to be included, so this stick will be less comfortably placed. In each thumb stick all four directions would have a separate tactile switch. The ones i have are ~1mm (by eye) travel and 160gf, so if i pivoted it so that it moved 4mm while the plunger moved 1mm the force would be 40gf which is about right.

A problem may be when the user attempts to do a Shift-Function which would mean that the stick has to touch two buttons at the same time.
« Last Edit: Sat, 22 January 2011, 01:23:06 by J-HAX »

Offline msiegel

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semi-chorded minimilist ergonomic 3d design
« Reply #1 on: Wed, 19 January 2011, 01:28:18 »
very interesting! :D

i'm looking forward to seeing the other parts you're writing up as well :)

Filco Zero (Fukka) AEKII sliders and keycaps * Filco Tenkeyless MX brown * IBM F/AT parts: modding
Model F Mod Log * Open Source Generic keyboard controller

Offline J-HAX

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semi-chorded minimilist ergonomic 3d design
« Reply #2 on: Wed, 19 January 2011, 06:23:57 »
key-angle and thumb-stick pictures, as well as italics, are new.

Offline Findecanor

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semi-chorded minimilist ergonomic 3d design
« Reply #3 on: Wed, 19 January 2011, 09:42:27 »
Hmm.. Very interesting. Almost like a Datahand, but I think that this could be better.
You don't have any keys on the left and right side of each trough.

I am not sold on the thumb-stick idea. How do you avoid unintentional diagonal actuations?
« Last Edit: Wed, 19 January 2011, 09:45:09 by Findecanor »
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Offline symphonic1985

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semi-chorded minimilist ergonomic 3d design
« Reply #5 on: Wed, 19 January 2011, 14:48:03 »
I like where this is heading. I have a similar angled thing going with my DIY WASD gaming controller, also inspired by the Datahand. I still haven't decided on the perfect angle but I'm getting there.  Make sure that the switches used for the top and bottom row are pretty light since you won't be hitting them with the full force of your hand. Sanwa's may be light enough but lower could be better, like in Tim Tyler's keyboard.

Offline J-HAX

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semi-chorded minimilist ergonomic 3d design
« Reply #6 on: Wed, 19 January 2011, 19:19:59 »
Quote
very interesting! :D
i'm looking forward to seeing the other parts you're writing up as well :)

Thanks! Hopefully you've seen the additions i made after you posted, these make up most of it, but if there is anything I think I have missed I'll post it later.
Quote
Hmm.. Very interesting. Almost like a Datahand, but I think that this could be better.
You don't have any keys on the left and right side of each trough.
I am not sold on the thumb-stick idea. How do you avoid unintentional diagonal actuations?

I was thinking of the Datahand a bit, and I agree this could be better because it removes the (I haven't actually used one of these so I apologize if I'm wrong) dodgy finger motions, like moving your ring and middle fingers sideways.
Do you mean little finger keys? I actually originally envisioned 36 keys (3*6*2) bet I decided later on that they really weren't required, and that any more stretch on the pinkies wasn't worth it. But I agree with you, it wouldn't be too stressful to have one little finger key in the home row on both sides as the little finger moves sideways easily. Maybe, to make it even easier, these two keys could be angled in.
Thats a difficult question! I'm still thinking about that, and am wide open for suggestions.

Quote
thumb modifiers are so 2011!

SWEET!
Quote
I like where this is heading. I have a similar angled thing going with my DIY WASD gaming controller, also inspired by the Datahand. I still haven't decided on the perfect angle but I'm getting there. Make sure that the switches used for the top and bottom row are pretty light since you won't be hitting them with the full force of your hand. Sanwa's may be light enough but lower could be better, like in Tim Tyler's keyboard.

Sounds interesting, could you please give me a link to your posts, I would be very interested in what you think is the 'perfect angle' so far.
What sort of force are you thinking of? Wouldn't using switches with varying forces/travels be difficult to type on effectively? I haven't heard of Sanwa key-switches before, maybe I should have!

Thanks for your input everyone!
« Last Edit: Fri, 21 January 2011, 01:55:43 by J-HAX »

Offline J-HAX

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semi-chorded minimilist ergonomic 3d design
« Reply #7 on: Thu, 20 January 2011, 02:46:53 »
OK, how about this, instead of thumb-sticks the modifiers are on four buttons in a square (clockwise from top-left: Ctrl, Shift, Function, Meta) this means you can easily 'bar' the Func-Shift and Ctrl-Meta which will be the most used modifier pairs (actually you probably only use Ctrl-Meta in programming IDE's I.E. EMACS).
The right thumb also controls 4 keys, these are, clockwise from top left: Space, Enter, Delete, Backspace (replacing tab with delete, tab will be on a key as a function). The direction keys will be functions of these.

I'll think this over and maybe edit it into the first post tomorrow.

P.S. yes I know this is kinda like maltron but they dont completely group the modifiers and constants in what I would call a logical fasion.
« Last Edit: Thu, 20 January 2011, 04:52:23 by J-HAX »

Offline Sam

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semi-chorded minimilist ergonomic 3d design
« Reply #8 on: Thu, 20 January 2011, 03:15:57 »
Quote from: J-HAX;280894
Hi, I am currently perfecting an idea for a new 3d Dvorak keyboard, streamlined for typing and programming, which I plan to start making soon (currently sourcing cherry mx blues). Its going to have thirty keys in two halves (3rows*5columns*2halves). Each row will be on a sixty (maybe less) degree angle from the one above or below, this will lessen the distance the fingers travel and mean that instead of moving back and then down for a bottom row key, you just slide your finger back.


Interesting.  I'm in the extremely early stages of planning to make my own keyboard and I came up with something very similar, though think I'd probably go with four rather than three rows.  However, I haven't prototyped anything yet so a lot could change.  The angling, reduced key count, and split keyboards are all things I already had in mind.

I recently acquired a DataHand and the sideways motion is one thing that I think limits it's appeal a lot, being it requires quite different motions than keyboards people are used to.  Also the space requirements forced them to use magnetic rather than mechanical switches.  I'm sure that given enough time I could adapt to the DataHand, but given the high cost and limited availability, I doubt it's a serious option for a lot of people.  High quality mechanical switches in a layout like you describe I think is the most logical approach to making a keyboard with limited finger travel, easy to learn, high quality, and not costing a fortune to manufacture.

Your thumbstick idea is totally different than what I was thinking of.  I'll have to give that some thought before commenting on if I think it's a good idea or not.

Good luck on your endeavors.  Sounds like you've put a whole lot more work into your project than I have into mine.

Offline J-HAX

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« Reply #9 on: Thu, 20 January 2011, 23:29:45 »
How interesting! I think I agree with you on the most part except I do think three rows are superior to four. As I mentioned in the post above yours, I am considering ditching the thumbstick idea and going for buttons instead. I would be very interested in more of your thoughts on it, including your alternative to the thumb modifiers, if you were planing any. You see, the main point of the idea is to completely remove movement from the neutral position, like sliding the right palm to get in reaching distance of the backspace key, or doing a thumb and pinkie to get the '^'. Thanks for your input!
Cheers, Jack Allison

Offline symphonic1985

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semi-chorded minimilist ergonomic 3d design
« Reply #10 on: Fri, 21 January 2011, 12:26:14 »
I'm sorry that I couldn't reply sooner! I was away without the internet for a couple of days.

I don't have any pictures of my controller online. It's a functional prototype, but not pretty at the moment. :D I'll take some photos this weekend and post them if you like. In  TF2 the other night I went on a 17 kill streak with my scout, so I'm happy with the function so far! I don't need more on the thumbs for that game so I've been too lazy to add to my 2 buttons there at the moment.

Regarding angle of the buttons. When we push 'q' or whatever I feel that you pull the key a bit. When I angle too much it feels different. Now you can shoot your finger out and hit the button and that is quick, but it's not comfortable to hold it down. In this intermediate zone the angle should not be so much that you hit it with your finger nail and not the flesh. I like the tactile feedback of skin. Switches as strong as the Sanwa are great here. The force is 30-40 grams for those.

If you go more vertical, the finger motion is just like the Datahand. I think that you want weaker switches then. Perhaps 15 grams or something. If the kind of movement that you make with your fingers is difference for different switches then I don't think that it's a problem to have different switch types.

Sanwa switches are those used for Japanese arcade machines. They feel great, but aren't designed for keyboards. I think that a keyboard made from them would feel nice though. You just need a way to mount the keycap.  

I think buttons for the thumbs are a good idea also. May be easier to hit consistently.

BTW, if you're going with Dvorak and this setup, then right index finger moving down is move comfortable than sideways. I would swap U and K. What do you think? Even on a normal keyboard I'd do that if learning Dvorak
« Last Edit: Fri, 21 January 2011, 12:27:03 by symphonic1985 »

Offline J-HAX

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« Reply #11 on: Fri, 21 January 2011, 20:07:09 »
Pictures would be great!

About pulling q, this may be an issue for gamers, but this design is really solely for typing, so how long you can hold down a key isn't really an issue.
Quote from: symphonic1985;282376
BTW, if you're going with Dvorak and this setup, then right index finger moving down is move comfortable than sideways. I would swap U and K. What do you think? Even on a normal keyboard I'd do that if learning Dvorak

I'm not quite sure what you mean here! The U and K are under the left middle finger, not the right index. And U is in a home position which means no movement sideways or down. Could you please elaborate a bit.

Cheers!
« Last Edit: Sat, 22 January 2011, 01:04:11 by J-HAX »

Offline symphonic1985

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« Reply #12 on: Sat, 22 January 2011, 02:43:33 »
Re: Dvorak. I've been playing a lot with layouts lately and already had in mind the version of Dvorak where people swap the I and U to put I under the fingertips. My main idea for the improvement to Dvorak that I would make is to make all vowels accessible without moving laterally, hence putting one of them on the bottom row under the index finger. 'I' normally requires moving sideways, right?

I'll take some photos for you later on today. One thing about this kind of project is that you want to make your prototype very customisable because you change your mind a lot about what is best. I bought some powerful tiny magnets to hold my buttons in place firmly but temporarily. Works a treat for trying different ideas out.

Offline J-HAX

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semi-chorded minimilist ergonomic 3d design
« Reply #13 on: Sat, 22 January 2011, 03:34:05 »
Quote from: symphonic1985;282738
I'll take some photos for you later on today. One thing about this kind of project is that you want to make your prototype very customisable because you change your mind a lot about what is best. I bought some powerful tiny magnets to hold my buttons in place firmly but temporarily. Works a treat for trying different ideas out.


Sounds like a great idea, I can't wait for the photos!

Offline Sam

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semi-chorded minimilist ergonomic 3d design
« Reply #14 on: Sat, 22 January 2011, 21:35:52 »
Quote from: J-HAX;282103
How interesting! I think I agree with you on the most part except I do think three rows are superior to four. As I mentioned in the post above yours, I am considering ditching the thumbstick idea and going for buttons instead. I would be very interested in more of your thoughts on it, including your alternative to the thumb modifiers, if you were planing any. You see, the main point of the idea is to completely remove movement from the neutral position, like sliding the right palm to get in reaching distance of the backspace key, or doing a thumb and pinkie to get the '^'. Thanks for your input!
Cheers, Jack Allison


Well, I haven't really decided what I want to do with the thumbs yet.  I'm still exploring various concepts used on current selling boards, as well as some new ideas I have.  Once I narrow it down, I'll have to prototype the ideas to see which one I think works best in actual usage.  All this keyboard stuff though is just a sideline project to my main work, so it might be quite a while before I get to that stage (minimum several months).

Presently I'm more interested in the key switches and electronics and deciding what I want to do there.  Once that's decided, then I'll start concentrating more on the exact key layout and mechanics.

Offline symphonic1985

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« Reply #15 on: Wed, 26 January 2011, 06:30:33 »
Sorry that I haven't posted an image of my controller yet. Tonight maybe! My camera is broken so I need to use my girl friend's.

I'm now thinking of putting a keyboard tray under my desk. In that case, I think that 2 g80-1800s lined up with the numpads facing me will give enough buttons to experiment with various layouts. They have super numpads with 7 columns (side on). With e.g. glovepie you can distinguish keyboards in windows, so I believe that it should be possible to use 2 at once with different key mappings.

Seems like a promising idea for experimentation before I try and build something.

Offline J-HAX

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« Reply #16 on: Wed, 26 January 2011, 16:57:48 »
An interesting idea! It should give some good results, which layouts were you considering? Dvorak and Colemak?

Offline symphonic1985

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« Reply #17 on: Thu, 27 January 2011, 03:14:35 »
Photos! Keep in mind that this is very much a prototype. I have the buttons attached to L shaped bits of metal which are then attached to a metal plate via strong magnets. The wires run to an IDE cable that is in turn connected to a hacked gamepad.

To get good packing of the WASD area I sanded down the edges of the buttons. At first I was using the square buttons there but decided that I liked the extra stability of the button casing. The biggest tweaks that I'll be making in the near future will be changing the pinky button to one of the big ones that you see in the last photo. I'll using put one of these at the thumb and surround it by many more. Once I have my desired config I'll use a smaller plate.

I want to hit a button also by contracting the index finger, but space is an issue here. I may go for a Cherry microswitch for that.

The sock contains plasticine wrapped in plastic - it makes for a great moldable wrist rest.

So there it is! My humble controller. The last 2 times that I have played TF2 I've gone on kill streaks of 17 and 11 so it works!

So yes,

Offline J-HAX

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« Reply #18 on: Mon, 31 January 2011, 00:36:04 »
Impressive! If your getting instant improvement then it must be working (or its acting like a placebo!). How easy is that vertical button on the right to press?

Thanks for contributing!
Jack

Offline symphonic1985

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« Reply #19 on: Mon, 31 January 2011, 02:53:36 »
The vertical button is actually very easy to it - much easier than I expected. That replaces 'R' in my key mappings, though I don't use it to reload. (Moved that to the thumb). I do plan to swap out the Seimitsu switch for a Sanwa though. At the time I had run out of Sanwa switches and only had heavier Seimitsu's left. I might use one of the giant buttons there to increase surface area to.

RE: performance. More than making me a better player (which such a device could only marginally help), I enjoy the extra comfort. I only have to lean a bit on FORWARD to move, and I have lots of room for my mouse. Before I made this I was gaming on a Logitech Illuminated and was getting quite a bit of discomfort after awhile. If I had known about Cherry linear switches first, then I might not have built my own device. But I'm very happy that I have. WASD movement in fast shooters really benefits from these short throw buttons because you can tap them so fast for quasi analog control.

BTW, fun fact, I'm an Adelaidean! Stuck in Germany for a few years though.

Offline J-HAX

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semi-chorded minimilist ergonomic 3d design
« Reply #20 on: Thu, 03 February 2011, 05:20:34 »
Thanks, I was wondering because vertical buttons on the side of each trough would be really good

Quote
BTW, fun fact, I'm an Adelaidean! Stuck in Germany for a few years though.

In the words of Tux the penguin. (and the cowsay add-on to terminal)
Code: [Select]

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