Author Topic: Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard Layout Question  (Read 16559 times)

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Offline CM-Rajiv

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Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard Layout Question
« on: Thu, 28 February 2013, 15:27:34 »
Hi everyone,

I'm doing some research on popular ergonomic formats because CM Storm is looking into building out an ergonomic mechanical keyboard. 

My question would be:
  • What is the preferred layout? (Split Key, Wave, etc)
  • What switch type would be most comfortable?
  • Would backlighting be something that is necessary?

Any comments or features you could think of would be appreciated.
Thanks!

Rajiv / CM Storm Marketing
Cooler Master USA - CM Storm Marketing Team - [CM Storm Trigger CherryMX Green Switch]

Offline SmallFry

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Re: Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard Layout Question
« Reply #1 on: Thu, 28 February 2013, 15:35:08 »
* Preferred layout is obviously a horse a piece, but different on-board options such as Dvorak and Colemak may increase marketing.
* Switch types for Ergonomic boards is all subjective, though it seems that across the board that O-rings, particularly soft ones, are a necessity.
* Backlighting on an ergonomic board is meh since people looking for ergonomic boards typically have a goal of reducing their typing strain. I would not recommend any funky sized keys also.
Trying to be straight forward for you. :D

Offline CM-Rajiv

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Re: Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard Layout Question
« Reply #2 on: Thu, 28 February 2013, 15:36:53 »
Straight forward feedback is what I'm looking for ;) This is VERY early stages of exploration and I want to include expert feedback before we go into any development.
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Offline SmallFry

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Re: Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard Layout Question
« Reply #3 on: Thu, 28 February 2013, 15:37:50 »
Er, expert...
* SmallFry is no expert. Sondra and Input Nirvana will be good resources to you. :)

Offline inteli722

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Re: Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard Layout Question
« Reply #4 on: Thu, 28 February 2013, 15:42:16 »
I'm no expert either, but from what I've seen:
  • Matrix Layouts are considered the best (no stagger in the keys)
  • A programmable controller would be best for layouts, whether it's GUI based or Code based (I would assume the former is more effective as a keyboard that would reach out to more than just people here)
  • Backlight might be a cool feature, but I wouldn't think that it would appeal to anyone who uses an ergonomic keyboard (I'm personally scared to even come into this subforum :eek:)
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Offline CPTBadAss

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Re: Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard Layout Question
« Reply #5 on: Thu, 28 February 2013, 16:07:24 »
I want to see a mechanical version of the Microsoft Ergo 4000.

  • Negative slope
  • Split keys but still on the same keyboard
  • No backlighting
  • I'm unsure on the switches. Maybe something linear with a soft landing pad or o-ring effect. Or blues (They're my current favorite switch :P)

Offline Findecanor

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Re: Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard Layout Question
« Reply #6 on: Thu, 28 February 2013, 17:11:22 »
Answers to your questions:
  • I would be very happy with just a normal keyboard that is in two separate parts, where I could position and angle each half as I wish.

    The problem with many keyboards that are marketed as "ergonomic" is that they were designed for some "average" ideal of a person, but in real life we are all different. The most ergonomic keyboard is the one that was designed for you ... or one that you can adjust.

    Another benefit with a keyboard that is split into two separate halves would be that I would acquire the room to place my mouse or a touch pad in the middle right in front of me, which ergonomists claim is the best position for it if I want to avoid "mouse arm" problems.
  • My preference would be Cherry MX Blue with O-rings or Cherry MX Clear.
  • I have never needed backlighting. I prefer to have a nice texture on my keys instead.

Edit: Longer rant on specific things:
I do actually have my own design for a more radical ergonomic keyboard that I would not mind seeing in production some time. I did spend quite some time trying out different keyboards, and I even bought a few only to evaluate them.
I tried at first to design it as a "ambidextrous Nostromo" with more keys and integrated trackpoint/joystick and scrollwheel: buy one for gaming, buy two for ergonomics, but I quickly found that having the same layout for both the left and the right hands would not be comfortable.
It would be more ergonomic to have the left and right halves be mirrors of each other. The pinky is too different from the index finger. For the same reason, I do not believe in the matrix layout (like TypeMatrix) with all right angles.
A staggered layout is not that bad, actually... for the right hand. Therefore, I would call the classic typewriter layout "right-hand centric". A "symmetric stagger" layout has left-hand layout a mirror of the right hand's.
I found that the biggest difference between the "symmetric staggered" layout and the "column-staggered" layout (Truly Ergonomic, flat Maltron, Japanese M-system etc) is actually the angle in which the keys are oriented -- not the layout between them.
On the Wave, the keys are contoured only on the horizontal, while classic keyboards are contoured on the vertical. For me, it is more important that they are contoured on the vertical, but I think that I would like more one that is contoured on both the vertical and the horizontal.
The design I came up with is like a blend of the Kinesis, wave, column-staggered and symmetric staggered but with the modifiers on thumb-keys (like Tron and M-system). The keys are laid out in a fan around each hand, so that they are in a column for the index finger and more staggered the closer they are to the pinky. The bottom alpha-row keys are the same height, but the keys are progressively higher nearer the top corners on each half-keyboard. Getting the height difference showed to be difficult for me with Cherry MX switches. High key caps give wobbly keys, and constructing a curved mounting plate proved too much of a challenge. I would have to construct it in 3D and get it 3D-printed. Stock key caps were also not ideal for a Wave-like design.

That said, I still think that having the keyboard halves slanted and split is more important than anything.
« Last Edit: Fri, 01 March 2013, 08:57:59 by Findecanor »
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Offline davkol

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Re: Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard Layout Question
« Reply #7 on: Thu, 28 February 2013, 19:00:55 »
That's pretty awesome!

I'd appreciate a mixture of TypeMatrix 2030, KeyPoard, ErgoDox, and MS Ergo 4k; will comment later.

Offline suka

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AW: Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard Layout Question
« Reply #8 on: Fri, 01 March 2013, 00:56:07 »
From my own keyboard prototyping experiences I can say for sure that having a split board is the single most important factor (dropping the idiotic stagger in favour of a matrix type layout is also logical with such a setup).
As others said, it allows to adjust hand separation, tenting and other angles to your personal liking.

Another area that does probably not appeal to the broader audience but that I have found to be also very important for an ergonomic setup is the addition of thumb keys and a programmable controller to use alternate layouts.

Offline Tezkat

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Re: Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard Layout Question
« Reply #9 on: Fri, 01 March 2013, 02:10:20 »
As you've indicated that this will be a CM Storm product, I'd like to specifically address gaming on an ergonomic keyboard, as that's something that ergo boards historically haven't taken into consideration in their design (and many do rather badly without significant customization). Mechanical ergonomic keyboards are rare enough as it is. Mechanical ergonomic keyboards designed with gaming in mind are pretty much nonexistent. It's not as if gamers never suffer from RSI or desire more comfortable typing--this particular market niche just doesn't cater to them. I'd very much like to see a gaming oriented mechanical ergo board done right. If you guys are going for it, I wish you all the best!


I'm an avid gamer. I've used a variety of ergonomic keyboards over the last couple of decades, primarily the various incarnations of the Microsoft Natural line. I really liked some of the early iterations, though I never really warmed up to the Natural Ergonomic 4000 or later editions  (the slope never quite fit my pinkies properly). I've played with a handful of others from Logitech and the like. I've been using a Truly Ergonomic Computer Keyboard as my primary keyboard at home for the past year. I recently acquired a second one and hacked the firmware to help create an ideal hotkey setup for playing all three races in StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm with virtually no need for hand movement. With a bit (okay, a lot) of customization, the TECK is now the closest thing to a perfect gaming keyboard for me, but it took a lot of work to get there.


As for switch type...

Switch type is not really a comfort issue, per se. Or at least, there's no general answer as to which is most "comfortable" because that depends on personal preference and how you're using the keyboard. I'm currently a fan of Cherry MX Browns. The tactile feedback is nice for games with a lot of high APM switching across a wide set of keys, and I'm not the type of gamer who enjoys parading loud clicking in front of my stream viewers.

I note that many of CM Storm's current keyboard offerings are available in multiple variants with different switches. If it's at all practical to do so, providing a choice is really the best option. You guys probably know your way around these issues already. Just rest assured that there's nothing particularly special about ergonomic keyboards that affects switch preference differently from standard mechanical keyboards.

O-rings are nice, and definitely a comfort bonus, thought I'd worry about adding too many extras to a mechanical ergo keyboard, which is likely to be quite pricey as is (extant offerings of this type are hard to find for under $200). Offer them as a DIY accessory, perhaps, unless you've already crossed into the range where the target demographic is less price sensitive.


As for backlighting...

Backlighting is almost never "necessary", at least not with respect to ergonomic considerations. Ergo keyboard buyers are rarely hunt and peck typists, so lighting effects would be purely for show. Not that that's a bad thing, if it can be implemented cost efficiently, but it's not much more than a gimmick for style points. If you're forking out for an ergo keyboard, comfort takes precedence.


As for layout...

The thing that's bad about regular keyboards, and the reason that people buy ergo boards instead, is that the standard design positions your wrists and fingers at angles that are actually rather unnatural. So, in order to make a keyboard ergonomic, you need to design it to encourage more comfortable hand positioning.

But that's not necessarily good for gaming.

Many games assume by default that you will have 6 columns of hotkeys accessible to your left hand (assuming a right hand on the mouse). At the very least, they'll make use of the 1-6 keys. I've seen a number of RPGs and strategy games that also place important hotkeys on Y and/or H, though that's somewhat less common. Such hotkey setups are the bane of split keyboard users, because the "natural" place to split the keyboard puts only five columns of letters/numbers at your disposal. Split keyboards that retain much of the standard staggered layout (such as the MS Ergonomic line) usually at least have the 6 key on the left side.

Most FPS and MOBA style games (which place most important commands in the four home columns) are okay on a split keyboard. Even significantly more comfortable that on a standard one. However, MMORPG and RTS games can be borderline unplayable at higher levels without significant hotkey customization. The standard hotkeys in a game like StarCraft 2, for instance, are all over the keyboard and a nightmare to use with a split layout. It becomes workable if you switch to the command card "grid" layout, but you still lose half your control groups, and important commands are rarely on the home row. And in MMOs, you typically have so many abilities at your disposal that you need all the hotkeys you can get.


A Logitech style wave is perhaps okay for a "safer" foray into the ergonomic keyboard market, as it provides a bit of extra comfort without having to change your typing style, but honestly I think you may as well go all the way and design a proper split keyboard. I find that in attempting to compromise with a happy medium, the wave delivers the worst of both worlds. The angle is not sufficiently aggressive to make it more comfortable than a proper split design, but it's curved just enough that reaching over to use the wrong half of the keyboard while mousing is not very comfortable.

I suspect you'll find a lot of the posters here biased towards split keyboards--probably with matrix layouts to boot. Once you're used to it, that's by far the most ergonomic and comfortable solution. My experience with the TECK leads me to believe that a simple wave distribution of the columns in a matrix layout can largely eliminate the need for the keyboard itself to be curved (assuming an otherwise comfortable split layout). Not to mention that a keyboard with flat PCBs is much cheaper to produce and more comfortable when you need to peck at keys on the wrong half. But I cheerfully acknowledge that I'm no longer a "mainstream" keyboard consumer, and matrix layouts are admittedly a kinda niche thing with a significant learning curve. They really penalize any bad typing habits you may have developed. It's very much worth the effort, though.


Some other comments...


The wrist rest often makes or breaks an ergonomic keyboard. Really, it's all about keeping the wrists comfy. I like the semi-cushioned ones, though those should be either removable or shaped in such a way as to enable easy cleaning, as those materials are a magnet for gunk.

Early versions of the MS Natural keyboards were designed with the option to raise at the front (under the wrist rest) instead of the back. Honestly, I found that so much more comfortable than trying to angle the keyboard down from the back that I wonder why nobody does it anymore.

Ergonomic keyboards should be designed with a mind towards reducing hand movement. Keep things close together, don't park the F-key row out in the middle of nowhere, and so on.

Well-positioned, well-shaped thumb buttons are awesome.

The central gap between the halves of split keyboards (or the inner edge of separated boards) is a great place to put extra programmable keys. You normally won't hit them by accident unless you've developed a lot of bad typing habits, but they're at your fingertips when you need them. I've now become so used to the middle keys on my TECK that I wonder how I ever got along without them, and they go a long way towards supplementing the normally key-starved split layout in games.


Hope that helps some. Good luck with your project!

« Last Edit: Fri, 01 March 2013, 02:16:41 by Tezkat »

Offline vivalarevolución

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Re: Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard Layout Question
« Reply #10 on: Fri, 01 March 2013, 09:49:59 »
Hi everyone,

I'm doing some research on popular ergonomic formats because CM Storm is looking into building out an ergonomic mechanical keyboard. 

My question would be:
  • What is the preferred layout? (Split Key, Wave, etc)
  • What switch type would be most comfortable?
  • Would backlighting be something that is necessary?

Any comments or features you could think of would be appreciated.
Thanks!

Rajiv / CM Storm Marketing

1.  Not sure what you mean by preferred layout, but I would say a split, non-staggered layout with a keyboard in two parts that can be adjusted by the user.  Having different layouts, or a programmable keyboard is a huge plus.

2.  After using Cherry and Alps switches, I prefer Alps for typing, however most Alps seem to have high actuation force which can were on the hands after a long typing sessions.  Most of your users of an ergonomic board probably are going to be typists rather than gamers.

3. I don't think backlighting would be necessary.  Unless this ergonomic board is targeted towards gamers.
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Offline davkol

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Re: Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard Layout Question
« Reply #11 on: Fri, 01 March 2013, 11:05:05 »
  • What is the preferred layout? (Split Key, Wave, etc)

Split matrix layout similar to the one on ErgoDox, but with more keys (see TypeMatrix 2030 and KeyPoard I've linked above), and as minimalist case as possible. Why?

  • You get a Nostromo-like gaming keypad included.
  • People can achieve stuff like chair mount (halves mounted on arm rests of a chair), tenting/reverse slope (both similar to the MS Ergo 4k) etc. You could sell accessories like Kinesis do for the Kinesis Freestyle—including wrist rest (which should be detachable or completely separate, because it doesn't work for some people, and it's often considered anti-ergonomic; I think the best material would be like on the MS Ergo 4k).
  • Typing on a split (at least one column like on the TypeMatrix) matrix layout feels much more comfortable, and learning curve isn't much of an issue for people who can touch type properly (it took me only about 30 minutes to be able to type on the TypeMatrix).

Layout should be fully programmable—just like on ErgoDox, again. It'd be lovely if the keyboard could carry more profiles onboard, e.g. QWERTY+Colemak+Dvorak+profiles for specific games.

I'd rather stay away from curved keywells—to cut costs, and because it's difficult to do it right (Maltron/Kinesis have backed it up with tons of research in the field, you haven't).

  • What switch type would be most comfortable?

Definitely Cherry MX Red with Phantom plate. Not only because I personally like reds, but also because they're getting extremely popular for gaming, and they're preferred by many people who want/like ergonomic keyboards (and Kinesis/TrulyErgonomic use mostly brown switches, maltrons usually have blacks AFAIK). Phantom plate because PCB mounting has it's disadvantages (such as flex, which would suck for gaming), but people would still be able to get switches of their choice (ergo clears, and reds with custom springs), and lube them. Selling the keyboard with optional o-rings might be interesting as well.

  • Would backlighting be something that is necessary?

Definitely not.

  • I can't see it when I put my hand on my Belkin Nostromo. It's basically useless. In general, it's useless for touch typist.
  • It would drive the price higher without much functionality gained. I'm afraid backlit keyboards exist only to impress people with mentality of 12-year-olds. Again, people that can touch type properly don't need it, and the same is probably true for serious gamers. It only looks cool.
  • High-quality keycaps for backlit keyboards are extremely rare. I'd prefer if the keyboard came with either DSA PBT keycaps (like the ones for ErgoDox), or thick Cherry-profile keycaps (like on Noppoo Choc Mini).

However, I think it might be interesting to keep some light near each thumb cluster, make a strip of lights around the keyboard, or something like that—it would look cool, and possibly make orientation on the desk a bit easier if someone really wants to use the keyboard in the dark (which isn't actually quite good for ones eyes BTW).

Any comments or features you could think of would be appreciated.

  • An integrated pointing device would be a killer feature. Probably a trackpoint or something like the rollermouse. And a scrolling wheel, or yet better a trackball (for scrolling) like on the Apple Mighty Mouse.
  • NKRO done right (no obscure implementation like on the Noppoo Choc Mini).
« Last Edit: Fri, 01 March 2013, 11:08:35 by davkol »

Offline FoxWolf1

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Re: Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard Layout Question
« Reply #12 on: Fri, 01 March 2013, 12:25:21 »
One thing that might be neat would be to take the "split" concept to the next level with a many-segmented wireless ergonomic keyboard. With left keys, right keys (the primary key segments could perhaps have a slight wave layout), navigation keys (arrows and the six above), number pad, media controls, function keys, one or two programmable key clusters, etc. all as separate modules without any physical connection to one another, the user could choose to have only the modules that he wants on his desk at any given time, and would have far greater positioning freedom-- with much less clutter and fewer potential failure points-- than with a solution where there modules are wired together. The modules would communicate wirelessly with a central "base station", which would coordinate them all into a single "keyboard" and connect via wire (probably USB) to the computer.
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Offline Findecanor

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Re: Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard Layout Question
« Reply #13 on: Fri, 01 March 2013, 13:48:48 »
Definitely Cherry MX Red with Phantom plate.
BTW. The Phantom is a brand for a community-developed keyboard, not a way to construct keyboards.

A unique feature of the Phantom's switch mounting plate was that the mounting holes were designed so that the Cherry MX switches could be opened from the top without the need to desolder them from the printed circuit board. If CM would take up on this idea, the community would love them for it. ;)
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Offline Tezkat

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Re: Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard Layout Question
« Reply #14 on: Fri, 01 March 2013, 14:12:04 »
  • You get a Nostromo-like gaming keypad included.

Hmm... you know what? That's a fantastic way of presenting it. I'd think the common wisdom would be that the very unconventional layouts that are nonetheless best ergonomically  (matrix keys without stagger, fully split halves, thumb keys, and so on) would be a little bit too weird to sell to a mainstream gaming audience. As a keyboard, at least.

But you just hit on where an ergodox style keyboard could fit into that mindset:

It's a mechanical ergonomic gaming keypad for both right and left handed users that turns into a full keyboard when you attach the second half.

A lot of the features desirable in a gaming keypad (programmability, extra buttons, and the like) would also make that style of ergonomic keyboard better.

« Last Edit: Fri, 01 March 2013, 14:13:43 by Tezkat »

Offline CM-Rajiv

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Re: Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard Layout Question
« Reply #15 on: Fri, 01 March 2013, 16:46:40 »
Greatly appreciate reading your comments. I can't guarantee we can feasibly implement anything yet until we collect our data. I've been running this survey also on other community sites and also our internal focus group and we've seen such a wide range of preference, but it definitely lets us know there is an interested user base.

Hopefully in the future i'll be able to fine tune my questioning and not be so broad in my surveying. :)
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Offline sordna

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Re: Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard Layout Question
« Reply #16 on: Sat, 02 March 2013, 12:40:11 »
Maybe you can mass produce this, or a clone of it:
http://ergodox.org/
the download section has the design files, it's open source.  This keyboard was designed by the community, so it already has most of the comments you have read here.
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Offline OrangeJewce

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Re: Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard Layout Question
« Reply #17 on: Wed, 06 March 2013, 19:10:52 »
I strongly agree with sordna.

1) The groundwork was already laid for you.
2) Cost is an issue, and the ergodox or something similar can get the most desirable features the cheapest way possible.

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Offline Torious

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Re: Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard Layout Question
« Reply #18 on: Thu, 07 March 2013, 17:29:13 »
* Matrix layout: I only have experienced the TypeMatrix layout, but the ErgoDox version (staggered columns) looks even better.
* Thumb key clusters
* 2 fully separate halves
* Fully programmable and/or remappable (eg. all keys send a keycode that can be remapped)
* Low-activation switches; reds I guess.
* All keys same standard size (no large keys), but i guess that's controversial. Reason: Why have a big button when you can move a 2nd key closer to your hand?

I'm no expert btw, just my 2 cents.
« Last Edit: Thu, 07 March 2013, 17:36:44 by Torious »

Offline Jagriff

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Re: Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard Layout Question
« Reply #19 on: Tue, 12 March 2013, 11:23:41 »
Split layouts with non-staggered keys and thumb clusters (see ErgoDox). The problem with layouts like this is that everyone is going to want a different layout (especially for the thumb clusters), so having it customizable is almost a necessity.

Most people seem to prefer the lighter switches like red, blue, and brown, but you guys at CM already know that.

No backlighting. If you are going to have a customizable layout, I would even go as far to say that there shouldn't even be any lettering on the keys (except the alpha-numeric ones)

Like others have said, a mass produced ErgoDox would be the best. It is perfectly fine (actually preferable) for games that allow hotkey customization. With SC2, for instance, you can take advantage of the frequent usage of shift and control by dedicating the thumb for them.

Offline vatin

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Re: Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard Layout Question
« Reply #20 on: Tue, 12 March 2013, 12:02:34 »
A mass produced ergodox with integrated trackpoint and a choice of switches.
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Offline ksm123

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Re: Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard Layout Question
« Reply #21 on: Thu, 14 March 2013, 15:53:43 »
  • I would personally go for Brown switches. If you choose to do it in Blue switches, please make quieter switch version available.
  • If you want some inspiration, take look at Key64@ or Maltron 2D. Matrix layout, and key positions adjusted for fingers lenght.
  • Think "Affordable", you've got to be cheaper then Kinesis Advantage.
  • The board may be flat, but then you need to be cheaper than Truly Ergonomic
  • Lights are not necessary, ergonomic keyboard is for professionals: writers, translators, coders; none of us needs to look at the keyboard.
  • Let Linux users choose their second layer layout, "Fn" key under one of thumbs is nice thing to have, but if it does not send a scan code by itself, it cannot be remaped. I have a keyboard that has a "Fn" key, it allows to generate "media keys" scan codes (with F1-F8 keys), and nothing more. What I would like to have is an initialization sequence, which could be send to keyboard, that would disable this mappings and enable "Fn" key to send scan code, it would allow me to designate this key as Mod4 or Mod4 and use XKB to create my own second layer layout.
  • Mulit layer layout. Ergonomic keyboard is for people who do not appreciate moving their fingers from home row, therefore separate arrow keys, numpad or function keys are waste of resources.
  • If you go "separate halves" route, make it wireless, or allow for long linking cable. (Think about people who would like to mount your keyboard to chair's armrest.)

Offline Lanx

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Re: Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard Layout Question
« Reply #22 on: Sat, 16 March 2013, 00:11:26 »


here you go cooler master guy, go copy that but make it look prettier.

there's a lot of ergonomic yes' in there

there is also a lot of marketing stuff too...

you see the problem with getting the kinesis and the concave "bowl" keyboards going is that ppl do NOT want to change. do you see where the weird ass arrow keys are on the kinesis?

my mod keeps the standard inverted T

and your home keys.

so yes, the first thing you're mech keyboard should be in tenkeyless, or no numberpad, us ergo ppl find no need for it.

second thing is
make it totally programmable,
ergo ppl LOVE to have different layouts, most hate qwerty, many love to use coleman/dvorak or whatever...

third thing...

just copy that design, really you're copying a microsoft 4k, but it's the best "one piece" design out there, the slight tenting is great, the faux leather curve is awesome and the decline is a must have!

and then just put in mechanical keys that follow a standard design so that you don't freak ppl out.

oh btw cooler master guy, i modded both my cooler master sentinel and spawn with cherry buttons as well, you should tell the mouse ppl to do that too. (i'm pretty sure i'm the only one in the world that's done it)

Offline stingrae

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Re: Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard Layout Question
« Reply #23 on: Sat, 16 March 2013, 04:57:23 »
Maybe you can mass produce this, or a clone of it:
http://ergodox.org/
the download section has the design files, it's open source.  This keyboard was designed by the community, so it already has most of the comments you have read here.


I am interested to know if a tilt was ever thought of for the ergodox as the hand tends to be a bit more comfortable (especially when wearing a wrist support) at an angle with the forefinger almost being in the air?
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Offline Larken

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Re: Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard Layout Question
« Reply #24 on: Sat, 16 March 2013, 09:04:20 »
Maybe you can mass produce this, or a clone of it:
http://ergodox.org/
the download section has the design files, it's open source.  This keyboard was designed by the community, so it already has most of the comments you have read here.


I am interested to know if a tilt was ever thought of for the ergodox as the hand tends to be a bit more comfortable (especially when wearing a wrist support) at an angle with the forefinger almost being in the air?

You mean a tented tilt like the utron? I think I saw some pictures of dox's own ergodox already set up that way, and quite a few geekhackers had mentioned they plan to do the same. As do I, when the kit arrives.
| Ergodox #1 | Ergodox #2 |


Filco Majestouch Brown | Ducky 1087 Brown | Cherry G80-3494 Reds | Unicomp Ultra Classics | Cherry G80-8113 Clears |

Offline Burz

  • Posts: 248
  • maybe get a blister on yo' little finger...
Re: Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard Layout Question
« Reply #25 on: Sat, 16 March 2013, 15:54:45 »
Split, non-staggered layout is important. It doesn't have to be in two pieces, just in two separate areas.

If you want to offer something the other ergo vendors are usually overlooking, consider low-profile keycaps, negative slope, and Dvorak + Colemak options (or better yet, capability to customize key layout). Most vendors are needlessly stingy in offering such features.

There are also two major "problems" with ergonomic keyboards:

1) Layout of modifiers, etc. tend to vary a lot from model to model, so moving from one ergo board to another may take a lot of patience and effort. This creates ambivalence among people shopping for ergo boards. Some standardization is needed.

2) Notebooks don't offer ergo features at all, and many of us have to keep switching to the traditional layout whenever we use laptops. This makes the ergo keyboards less valuable to us than they could be. It would be fantastic if someone offered replacement ergo keyboards for one or two major brands of laptops... it would only need to be unstaggered, slightly split and with similar modifier layout to a desktop ergo keyboard.
Matias Mini QuietPro  \\ Dell AT101W - Black ALPS  \\ SIIG MiniTouch x2 White XM - Monterey  \\ Colemak layout.

Offline sordna

  • Posts: 2247
Re: Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard Layout Question
« Reply #26 on: Sat, 16 March 2013, 20:56:56 »
Maybe you can mass produce this, or a clone of it:
http://ergodox.org/
the download section has the design files, it's open source.  This keyboard was designed by the community, so it already has most of the comments you have read here.


I am interested to know if a tilt was ever thought of for the ergodox as the hand tends to be a bit more comfortable (especially when wearing a wrist support) at an angle with the forefinger almost being in the air?

Did you even look at the website? There are case designs with various degrees of tent:
http://ergodox.org/Downloads.aspx

Besides, with the 2 halves being separate, you can easily build a stand and tent it as much as you want, even vertical. But anyway questions about the ergodox are off topic here, please use this thread instead.
Kinesis Contoured Advantage & Advantage2 LF with Cherry MX Red switches / Extra keys mod / O-ring dampening mod / Dvorak layout. ErgoDox with buzzer and LED mod.
Also: Kinesis Advantage Classic, Kinesis Advantage2, Data911 TG3, Fingerworks Touchstream LP, IBM SSK (Buckling spring), Goldtouch GTU-0077 keyboard

Offline dante

  • Posts: 2553
Re: Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard Layout Question
« Reply #27 on: Sat, 16 March 2013, 21:05:22 »
I want to see a mechanical version of the Microsoft Ergo 4000.

  • Negative slope
  • Split keys but still on the same keyboard
  • No backlighting
  • I'm unsure on the switches. Maybe something linear with a soft landing pad or o-ring effect. Or blues (They're my current favorite switch :P)

My woman would love this (with MX Blues) in hot pink!

Offline rangda

  • Posts: 3
  • Location: United States
Re: Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard Layout Question
« Reply #28 on: Sat, 16 March 2013, 23:56:18 »
just copy that design, really you're copying a microsoft 4k, but it's the best "one piece" design out there, the slight tenting is great, the faux leather curve is awesome and the decline is a must have!

I will force feed money to the first company that offers a TKL mechanical keyboard /w my choice of MX switch similar to the 4k.  I would buy at least 3.

Offline Lanx

  • Posts: 1914
Re: Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard Layout Question
« Reply #29 on: Sun, 17 March 2013, 01:46:26 »
it will of course, never happen it's too expensive, if we were interested in the tenting, it'd be as difficult as the concave keywells of a kinesis.

Offline nesiax

  • Posts: 63
    • key64 libre keyboard
Re: Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard Layout Question
« Reply #30 on: Sun, 17 March 2013, 17:26:51 »
  • Lights are not necessary, ergonomic keyboard is for professionals: writers, translators, coders; none of us needs to look at the keyboard.
Hi, I don't agree too much with the 'no-leds' policy, in a tenkeyless design it is required for you to know whether you are on the numeric keypad or not, similar thing happens with the caps lock led, while I am not a fan of the caps lock key I consider it to be required when you have to type a login password and you have no way to check if the caps are activated or not in the screen, also for scroll lock wich almost nobody use other people like the kvm switcher devices use that key in order to switch between computers, the key64 also include a mouse led in order to know whether you are on a keyboard layer or on a mouse layer, the key64 use two bileds to simplify the design, then caps lock and num lock are green and scroll lock and mouse lock are red, that a look at this photo:

And i suppose in the next firmware i will use them as a diagnostic tool when programming the device, i am a touch type user but leds are no excess.
« Last Edit: Sun, 17 March 2013, 17:30:39 by nesiax »
now: key64.org with cherry blue keys and dsa keys |  before: noppoo choc mini with cherry brown keys
Check out the key64.org project , A Libre * Design, Minimalist, Ergonomic, Splittable, Symmetric, Compact 64 Keys, Eco-Friendly, Durable, Native Colemak Keyboard, Embedded Mouse and Firmware Programmable USB Keyboard.  * Free as in Freedom.
The key64 need a case, if you want to design it please contact us

Offline uzoc

  • Posts: 210
Re: Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard Layout Question
« Reply #31 on: Wed, 20 March 2013, 16:23:50 »
TypeMatrix look-a-like, but with Cherry MX, of course!
Cheap to make (rectangular) but Matrix style.

16317-0
16319-1
« Last Edit: Wed, 20 March 2013, 16:27:17 by uzoc »


Offline ksm123

  • Posts: 101
  • Location: Poland
Re: Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard Layout Question
« Reply #33 on: Thu, 21 March 2013, 09:15:57 »
@nesiax:

Sorry, I did not  express myself clearly, status lights are OK, I was referring backlighting all keys, like it's fashionable on gaming market.

Offline rarar

  • Posts: 202
  • Location: MN
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Re: Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard Layout Question
« Reply #34 on: Sun, 24 March 2013, 12:02:50 »
topre switches are the comfiest switches! Go TOPRE!!!!
Ỏ̷͖͈̞̩͎̻̫̫̜͉̠̫͕̭̭̫̫̹̗̹͈̼̠̖͍͚̥͈̮̼͕̠̤̯̻̥̬̗̼̳̤̳̬̪̹͚̞̼̠͕̼̠̦͚̫͔̯̹͉͉̘͎͕̼̣̝͙̱̟̹̩̟̳̦̭͉̮̖̭̣̣̞̙̗̜̺̭̻̥͚͙̝̦̲̱͉͖͉̰̦͎̫̣̼͎͍̠̮͓̹̹͉̤̰̗̙͕͇͔̱͕̭͈̳̗̭͔̘̖̺̮̜̠͖̘͓̳͕̟̠̱̫̤͓͔̘̰̲͙͍͇̙͎̣̼̗̖͙̯͉̠̟͈͍͕̪͓̝̩̦̖̹̼̠̘̮͚̟͉̺̜͍͓̯̳̱̻͕̣̳͉̻̭̭̱͍̪̩̭̺͕̺̼̥̪͖̦̟͎̻̰_Ỏ̷͖͈̞̩͎̻̫̫̜͉̠̫͕̭̭̫̫̹̗̹͈̼̠̖͍͚̥͈̮̼͕̠̤̯̻̥̬̗̼̳̤̳̬̪̹͚̞̼̠͕̼̠̦͚̫͔̯̹͉͉̘͎͕̼̣̝͙̱̟̹̩̟̳̦̭͉̮̖̭̣̣̞̙̗̜̺̭̻̥͚͙̝̦̲̱͉͖͉̰̦͎̫̣̼͎͍̠̮͓̹̹͉̤̰̗̙͕͇͔̱͕̭͈̳̗̭͔̘̖̺̮̜̠͖̘͓̳͕̟̠̱̫̤͓͔̘̰̲͙͍͇̙͎̣̼̗̖͙̯͉̠̟͈͍͕̪͓̝̩̦̖̹̼̠̘̮͚̟͉̺̜͍͓̯̳̱̻͕̣̳͉̻̭̭̱͍̪̩̭̺͕̺̼̥̪͖̦̟͎̻̰ ด้้้้้็็็็็้้้้้็็็็็้้้้้้้้็็็็็้้้้้็็็็็้้้้้้้้็็็็็้้้้้็็็็็้้้้้้้้็็็็็้้้้้็็็็็_ด้้้้้็็็็็้้้้้็็็็็้้้้้้้้็็็็็้้้้้็็็็็้้้้้้้้็็็็็้้้้้็็็็็้้้้้้้้็็็็็้้้้้็็็็็

Offline inteli722

  • Posts: 858
  • Location: America
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Re: Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard Layout Question
« Reply #35 on: Sun, 24 March 2013, 14:30:43 »
topre switches are the comfiest switches! Go TOPRE!!!!

I don't even know where to start.

I don't think CM Storm should go Topre. People are already a bit astonished that one should spend $100 on a Mechanical keyboard, so $300 for a Rubber Dome? Not likely.

Also, Topres are exclusive switches. I doubt that CoolerMaster could even get them for a keyboard. I would rather see Mechanical over Topre here.
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Offline rarar

  • Posts: 202
  • Location: MN
  • moist booty seepage
Re: Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard Layout Question
« Reply #36 on: Sun, 24 March 2013, 15:28:16 »
HAHAHA 300 "for a rubber dome" You must have never typed on a topre board before, can't believe you would think that it's simply a rubber dome lmfao.
Ỏ̷͖͈̞̩͎̻̫̫̜͉̠̫͕̭̭̫̫̹̗̹͈̼̠̖͍͚̥͈̮̼͕̠̤̯̻̥̬̗̼̳̤̳̬̪̹͚̞̼̠͕̼̠̦͚̫͔̯̹͉͉̘͎͕̼̣̝͙̱̟̹̩̟̳̦̭͉̮̖̭̣̣̞̙̗̜̺̭̻̥͚͙̝̦̲̱͉͖͉̰̦͎̫̣̼͎͍̠̮͓̹̹͉̤̰̗̙͕͇͔̱͕̭͈̳̗̭͔̘̖̺̮̜̠͖̘͓̳͕̟̠̱̫̤͓͔̘̰̲͙͍͇̙͎̣̼̗̖͙̯͉̠̟͈͍͕̪͓̝̩̦̖̹̼̠̘̮͚̟͉̺̜͍͓̯̳̱̻͕̣̳͉̻̭̭̱͍̪̩̭̺͕̺̼̥̪͖̦̟͎̻̰_Ỏ̷͖͈̞̩͎̻̫̫̜͉̠̫͕̭̭̫̫̹̗̹͈̼̠̖͍͚̥͈̮̼͕̠̤̯̻̥̬̗̼̳̤̳̬̪̹͚̞̼̠͕̼̠̦͚̫͔̯̹͉͉̘͎͕̼̣̝͙̱̟̹̩̟̳̦̭͉̮̖̭̣̣̞̙̗̜̺̭̻̥͚͙̝̦̲̱͉͖͉̰̦͎̫̣̼͎͍̠̮͓̹̹͉̤̰̗̙͕͇͔̱͕̭͈̳̗̭͔̘̖̺̮̜̠͖̘͓̳͕̟̠̱̫̤͓͔̘̰̲͙͍͇̙͎̣̼̗̖͙̯͉̠̟͈͍͕̪͓̝̩̦̖̹̼̠̘̮͚̟͉̺̜͍͓̯̳̱̻͕̣̳͉̻̭̭̱͍̪̩̭̺͕̺̼̥̪͖̦̟͎̻̰ ด้้้้้็็็็็้้้้้็็็็็้้้้้้้้็็็็็้้้้้็็็็็้้้้้้้้็็็็็้้้้้็็็็็้้้้้้้้็็็็็้้้้้็็็็็_ด้้้้้็็็็็้้้้้็็็็็้้้้้้้้็็็็็้้้้้็็็็็้้้้้้้้็็็็็้้้้้็็็็็้้้้้้้้็็็็็้้้้้็็็็็

Offline davkol

  •  Post Editing Timeout
  • Posts: 4994
Re: Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard Layout Question
« Reply #37 on: Sun, 24 March 2013, 16:05:19 »
HAHAHA 300 "for a rubber dome" You must have never typed on a topre board before, can't believe you would think that it's simply a rubber dome lmfao.

Not this again...

Offline rarar

  • Posts: 202
  • Location: MN
  • moist booty seepage
Re: Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard Layout Question
« Reply #38 on: Sun, 24 March 2013, 19:01:06 »
HAHAHA 300 "for a rubber dome" You must have never typed on a topre board before, can't believe you would think that it's simply a rubber dome lmfao.

Not this again...
They have the smoothest force gradient, proven by ripsters tests, even smoother than linear switches such as reds or blacks. Plus the thock sound they make when they bottom out is pure perfection
Ỏ̷͖͈̞̩͎̻̫̫̜͉̠̫͕̭̭̫̫̹̗̹͈̼̠̖͍͚̥͈̮̼͕̠̤̯̻̥̬̗̼̳̤̳̬̪̹͚̞̼̠͕̼̠̦͚̫͔̯̹͉͉̘͎͕̼̣̝͙̱̟̹̩̟̳̦̭͉̮̖̭̣̣̞̙̗̜̺̭̻̥͚͙̝̦̲̱͉͖͉̰̦͎̫̣̼͎͍̠̮͓̹̹͉̤̰̗̙͕͇͔̱͕̭͈̳̗̭͔̘̖̺̮̜̠͖̘͓̳͕̟̠̱̫̤͓͔̘̰̲͙͍͇̙͎̣̼̗̖͙̯͉̠̟͈͍͕̪͓̝̩̦̖̹̼̠̘̮͚̟͉̺̜͍͓̯̳̱̻͕̣̳͉̻̭̭̱͍̪̩̭̺͕̺̼̥̪͖̦̟͎̻̰_Ỏ̷͖͈̞̩͎̻̫̫̜͉̠̫͕̭̭̫̫̹̗̹͈̼̠̖͍͚̥͈̮̼͕̠̤̯̻̥̬̗̼̳̤̳̬̪̹͚̞̼̠͕̼̠̦͚̫͔̯̹͉͉̘͎͕̼̣̝͙̱̟̹̩̟̳̦̭͉̮̖̭̣̣̞̙̗̜̺̭̻̥͚͙̝̦̲̱͉͖͉̰̦͎̫̣̼͎͍̠̮͓̹̹͉̤̰̗̙͕͇͔̱͕̭͈̳̗̭͔̘̖̺̮̜̠͖̘͓̳͕̟̠̱̫̤͓͔̘̰̲͙͍͇̙͎̣̼̗̖͙̯͉̠̟͈͍͕̪͓̝̩̦̖̹̼̠̘̮͚̟͉̺̜͍͓̯̳̱̻͕̣̳͉̻̭̭̱͍̪̩̭̺͕̺̼̥̪͖̦̟͎̻̰ ด้้้้้็็็็็้้้้้็็็็็้้้้้้้้็็็็็้้้้้็็็็็้้้้้้้้็็็็็้้้้้็็็็็้้้้้้้้็็็็็้้้้้็็็็็_ด้้้้้็็็็็้้้้้็็็็็้้้้้้้้็็็็็้้้้้็็็็็้้้้้้้้็็็็็้้้้้็็็็็้้้้้้้้็็็็็้้้้้็็็็็

Offline inteli722

  • Posts: 858
  • Location: America
  • Waiting for too much stuff...
Re: Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard Layout Question
« Reply #39 on: Sun, 24 March 2013, 19:11:05 »
Though it may not feel like a rubber dome, it is, in its essence, a rubber dome with a spring underneath.

So, $300 for a rubber dome (Not to say a Topre board isn't on my list, but it's pretty far down...)

Back on topic, like I said. A Topre board from someone other than Realforce or HHKB is HIGHLY unlikely.

Also...IIRC the "thock" is on the way back up.

What force gradient do you refer to? I'm fairly certain the most technologically advanced force-measuring tool Ripster uses are Nickels...


OK, no more replying to fanboy.
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Offline rarar

  • Posts: 202
  • Location: MN
  • moist booty seepage
Re: Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard Layout Question
« Reply #40 on: Sun, 24 March 2013, 19:16:55 »
Though it may not feel like a rubber dome, it is, in its essence, a rubber dome with a spring underneath.

So, $300 for a rubber dome (Not to say a Topre board isn't on my list, but it's pretty far down...)

Back on topic, like I said. A Topre board from someone other than Realforce or HHKB is HIGHLY unlikely.

Also...IIRC the "thock" is on the way back up.

What force gradient do you refer to? I'm fairly certain the most technologically advanced force-measuring tool Ripster uses are Nickels...


OK, no more replying to fanboy.
He had a force gague, let me find the thread.
Ỏ̷͖͈̞̩͎̻̫̫̜͉̠̫͕̭̭̫̫̹̗̹͈̼̠̖͍͚̥͈̮̼͕̠̤̯̻̥̬̗̼̳̤̳̬̪̹͚̞̼̠͕̼̠̦͚̫͔̯̹͉͉̘͎͕̼̣̝͙̱̟̹̩̟̳̦̭͉̮̖̭̣̣̞̙̗̜̺̭̻̥͚͙̝̦̲̱͉͖͉̰̦͎̫̣̼͎͍̠̮͓̹̹͉̤̰̗̙͕͇͔̱͕̭͈̳̗̭͔̘̖̺̮̜̠͖̘͓̳͕̟̠̱̫̤͓͔̘̰̲͙͍͇̙͎̣̼̗̖͙̯͉̠̟͈͍͕̪͓̝̩̦̖̹̼̠̘̮͚̟͉̺̜͍͓̯̳̱̻͕̣̳͉̻̭̭̱͍̪̩̭̺͕̺̼̥̪͖̦̟͎̻̰_Ỏ̷͖͈̞̩͎̻̫̫̜͉̠̫͕̭̭̫̫̹̗̹͈̼̠̖͍͚̥͈̮̼͕̠̤̯̻̥̬̗̼̳̤̳̬̪̹͚̞̼̠͕̼̠̦͚̫͔̯̹͉͉̘͎͕̼̣̝͙̱̟̹̩̟̳̦̭͉̮̖̭̣̣̞̙̗̜̺̭̻̥͚͙̝̦̲̱͉͖͉̰̦͎̫̣̼͎͍̠̮͓̹̹͉̤̰̗̙͕͇͔̱͕̭͈̳̗̭͔̘̖̺̮̜̠͖̘͓̳͕̟̠̱̫̤͓͔̘̰̲͙͍͇̙͎̣̼̗̖͙̯͉̠̟͈͍͕̪͓̝̩̦̖̹̼̠̘̮͚̟͉̺̜͍͓̯̳̱̻͕̣̳͉̻̭̭̱͍̪̩̭̺͕̺̼̥̪͖̦̟͎̻̰ ด้้้้้็็็็็้้้้้็็็็็้้้้้้้้็็็็็้้้้้็็็็็้้้้้้้้็็็็็้้้้้็็็็็้้้้้้้้็็็็็้้้้้็็็็็_ด้้้้้็็็็็้้้้้็็็็็้้้้้้้้็็็็็้้้้้็็็็็้้้้้้้้็็็็็้้้้้็็็็็้้้้้้้้็็็็็้้้้้็็็็็

Offline rarar

  • Posts: 202
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Offline inteli722

  • Posts: 858
  • Location: America
  • Waiting for too much stuff...
Re: Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard Layout Question
« Reply #42 on: Sun, 24 March 2013, 19:37:53 »
It is smoothest, yes, but it's not linear. It is a dampened version of the other rubber domes' force diagram (Builds up force then drops significantly), whereas the Linear switch is just that -- linear. It's a steady rise in the part you feel.

Again, going on topic, there's practically no way CM Storm would bring in a Topre board at my guess of what their projected cost is (~150-ish)
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Offline william

  • Posts: 26
Re: Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard Layout Question
« Reply #43 on: Mon, 25 March 2013, 12:04:07 »
typematrix is horribad for wrist placement.

when compared to what? what knowledge are you basing this statement on?

Offline william

  • Posts: 26
Re: Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard Layout Question
« Reply #44 on: Mon, 25 March 2013, 12:42:44 »
fully programmable with GUI layout editor
thumb buttons and multiple layer support - gamers would go nuts on this if they knew what they could do with it.
matrix layout
split keyboard - if you can make it wireless and rechargable or solar (like logitech k750).
cherry mx browns or clears -  if it will only come in 1 flavor. otherwise offer blacks, reds and blues as additional options.


if not split, i'd like something like this:
16844-0
not suggesting this key arrangement or colors; this is a mockup of something i might make for myself.
« Last Edit: Mon, 25 March 2013, 12:44:33 by william »

Offline islisis

  • Posts: 119
  • Location: Tokyo, Japan
Re: Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard Layout Question
« Reply #45 on: Mon, 01 April 2013, 04:02:12 »
Absolutely could not go wrong with a 100% clone of the ergodox. Compact, and will appeal to a wide demographic, while easy to understand at a glance.

Contoured is a luxury on top of this, but faced with specialised production and not-unlikely legal research costs... :/ Gaming is comfortable on the Kinesis Contoured, but only if you give up wasd (it is built for touch typists and a stricter home position after all).

Programmable is for a more limited market, source some decent mapping software and you could bundle that instead.

The ergodox finger placement layout has all the essentials covered, anyway you look at it, non-staggered and extended thumbwell being the most important. There might be room to add an additional thumb key. Detachable or otherwise it won't matter.
« Last Edit: Mon, 03 June 2013, 09:39:32 by islisis »

Offline Niomosy

  • Posts: 1239
Re: Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard Layout Question
« Reply #46 on: Mon, 08 April 2013, 18:29:28 »
Layout for me would be, ideally, pretty much identical to an MS Ergo 4000.  Media keys are high priority for me (I'd rather have a dedicated button than having to use multiple buttons for that function, if possible).

Switches: Reds.  If not, browns as a distant second.

Backlighting: a negative.  I'm not keen on the upside down layout of backlit keys (where the main character is no top and the Shift character is below).  I'm also not one to want to be in a dimly light place for computer use if at all possible.

As for MMO gaming on ergos, that's more or less all I've run MMOs on.  I've played WoW for years on an MS Ergo 4000 and an MS Ergo Media before that.  Had no problems raiding with the ergo as my keyboard.  I could see it being an issue if you were using something like a Kinesys or Maltron but the MS Ergo has been fine for me.

Offline hoggy

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  • Location: Isle of Man
Re: Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard Layout Question
« Reply #47 on: Sun, 14 April 2013, 00:59:55 »
In terms of key layout - I'd like to be a able to program a couple of layers (popular in pos keyboards - think of the shift key activating a layer - so the keys now offer something else - shift+a=A).  That way we could program the cursor keys on jkl and ; and home, page up, page down and end on sde and f.

As for the other attributes - I'm keen on adjustability.
GH Ergonomic Guide (in progress)
http://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=54680.0

Offline Modi

  • Posts: 10
Re: Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard Layout Question
« Reply #48 on: Wed, 17 April 2013, 00:33:54 »
What I really, really, really (x3 for emphasis) want is an ergonomic keyboard that is a clone of the MS Natural Keyboard Elite with Cherry Red or Brown switches along with being able to adjust the keyboard to lay flat or up on an angle with the back feet. That for me would more or less the Holy Grail of Keyboards for me.

The MS Natural Keyboard Elite is no longer made. I've been using the it since 1998 and when I'd wear one out, I'd go purchase another. I currently play WoW on my keyboard now and I'm so tired of the rubber dome crap and may have to go back to a standard keyboard which more or less would be the end of the world to me from a keyboard point of view or go purchase a Truly Ergonomic. Given the issues that I've read about on this site with the TECK, I just have such a tough time rationalizing paying $250 for one. Even Jarred Walton from Anand Tech in his review noted in his user comments on page 11 of said comments,  that the TECK has quality control problems after talking with the company.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/6819/truly-ergonomic-computer-keyboard-review-one-month-with-the-teck

"JarredWalton - Tuesday, March 19, 2013 - link
In talking with Truly Ergonomic, it sounds like they just don't have good quality control or are doing something weird with the keys that causes the doubling of characters. I now get occasional problems on multiple keys besides just E and I, but I find if I type with a firm touch I don't get repeats -- which of course is in direct contradiction to using the MX Brown switches as I understand things! I'm going to do a video of me switching to the Kinesis today I hope, and then I'll commence adapting to yet another layout and see if I get any problems with doubling of keystrokes by the time I'm done with the review. At this point, that's all I can contribute; I'd almost like to get a TECK with MX Blue or something other than Brown to see if that helps, but they don't make such a keyboard right now."

Offline xmagusx

  • Posts: 130
  • Location: Texas
  • QWERTY is hateful.
    • The Ergonomic Zone
Re: Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard Layout Question
« Reply #49 on: Fri, 17 May 2013, 10:22:33 »
In the hope that CM-Rajiv is still keeping an eye on this thread, I figured I'd contribute my opinion.
Features I would suggest:
  • Split in two pieces -- to echo previous sentiments, no two people are shaped the same way, so providing this level of inherent customizability is invaluable, as it enables the device to conform to the user rather than forcing the user to conform to the device. I would also suggest that it might be worth investigating a dedicated controller for each of them so that the user isn't limited by the connecting wire's length (such as the Kinesis Freestyle does) and would enable two player arcade-style gaming, with each player getting their own "controller". I really cannot oversell this feature enough.
  • Thumb clusters -- enabling one's thumbs to do more than just insert spaces would be nice. If you can figure out a way to do it well without interfering with the buttons, PSX style thumbsticks could be awesome.
  • Programmable -- ideally at a hardware level, so that if I want to use an alternate (or game specific) key layout and/or include non-english letters (so I can easily search for Blümchen), I can still switch machines (or show it off at a friend's house) without messing around with drivers/custom software. Failing that, including a way to back up the configuration to internal keyboard flash memory to enable an easy import/export to the software layer would be a close second
  • Blank (or stealth) keycaps -- to go right along with the aforementioned customizability/international appeal.
  • No keypad -- it just gets in the way. For those that enjoy it, I would suggest offering a nice mechanical keypad such as this, or potentially something that could double as a supplementary game controller, similar to the Razer Nostromo.
  • Vertical columns, staggered rows -- similar to the truly ergonomic keyboard
  • 3d/contoured -- I'd find it nice, but not a priority
  • Switch variety -- ideally as many different colors of cherry switches as possible, but as this is gamer-oriented, I'd say prefer red/brown/blue
  • Don't "just copy" anything -- There isn't an ergonomic mechanical keyboard aimed at gamers out there yet, so your offering deserves to be its own creation

Edit: Forgot to address your backlight question -- yes, it could definitely be a nice touch/flourish, but I would ask that you include a way to easily turn it off/on. It would not be a reason to particularly seek or avoid the offering, though.
« Last Edit: Fri, 17 May 2013, 10:28:35 by xmagusx »