Author Topic: ErgoTravel (ErgoT) - The small luggable Ergonomic keyboard  (Read 119130 times)

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Offline MOZ

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ErgoTravel (ErgoT) - The small luggable Ergonomic keyboard
« on: Wed, 18 September 2013, 16:44:23 »
I tried to make the TravelDox earlier, but was not really happy with it, due to the size, thus beating the portable USP.

So, while AcidFire was on a rampage, I though of the ErgoTravel, an ErgoDox based smaller keyboard.

You can see below the keys I pulled off from the ErgoDox to use in the ErgoT.


The ErgoDox has 76 keys, ErgoT has 46 keys.

I wanted a keyboard that was small enough to carry however, kept the essence of the ErgoDox, the split design, the matrix layout, the variation in the column heights.

Hence was born the ErgoT. You can see below how each layer has an alternating hinge style plate, so they can lock and form a hinge at the top, which can be loosened and tightened to set the desired angle.





To solve the problem of having a connection cable between the two halves, I modded the second layer from the bottom to have a hollow hinge, which should allow a ribbon cable to join the two halves.

I switched out the one keys in the inner most columns at the bottom for a 2u keys to work as the primary thumb keys.
I also switched the 1.5u keys for 1u keys in the outermost columns to keep form factor small.

I got the layers cut today in 3mm acrylic. I will not bolt them together and add switches. I just realised I don't have a Teensy, so I will wait until I can get one. However the main idea behind this keyboard is the layout. The electronics are standard and should work.

I would rather start work on a PCB than wait for the Teensy at this state.

Offline MOZ

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Re: ErgoTravel (ErgoT) - The small luggable Ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #1 on: Wed, 18 September 2013, 16:46:12 »
Potato pictures from the layers cut:










Offline MOZ

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Re: ErgoTravel (ErgoT) - The small luggable Ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #2 on: Wed, 18 September 2013, 16:47:38 »
Reserved

Offline SpAmRaY

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Re: ErgoTravel (ErgoT) - The small luggable Ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #3 on: Wed, 18 September 2013, 16:49:55 »
:eek: that's so cool

Offline MOZ

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Re: ErgoTravel (ErgoT) - The small luggable Ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #4 on: Thu, 19 September 2013, 19:32:23 »
Bolted this today and the design worked. Yay

I am trying to work something out for a PCB and will most likely place some switches on that tomorrow. Need to get another TVS to slaughter.

« Last Edit: Thu, 19 September 2013, 19:46:21 by MOZ »

Offline keymaster

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Re: ErgoTravel (ErgoT) - The small luggable Ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #5 on: Thu, 19 September 2013, 19:44:18 »
 :eek: :eek: :eek:

I'm glad to see more ergo projects. I'd really love to see a practical layout, though.

Offline MOZ

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Re: ErgoTravel (ErgoT) - The small luggable Ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #6 on: Thu, 19 September 2013, 19:55:29 »
Uploaded more pics :)

Offline dorkvader

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Re: ErgoTravel (ErgoT) - The small luggable Ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #7 on: Thu, 19 September 2013, 21:26:20 »
Wow, this is really cool! If you have a teensy, you can hard-wire the keyboard. If you don't have a microcontroller at your disposal, I'll happily mail-forward you one.
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Offline TheFlyingRaccoon

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Re: ErgoTravel (ErgoT) - The small luggable Ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #8 on: Thu, 19 September 2013, 21:32:03 »
Wow, the case came out great! I can't wait to see how you wire the whole thing up.
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Offline MOZ

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Re: ErgoTravel (ErgoT) - The small luggable Ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #9 on: Thu, 19 September 2013, 21:41:40 »
lowpoly is for the lowly. J/K, for some reason I don't feel like wiring this baby up, I want to go straight to PCB, however I might just do it fir the sake off, IDK why LOL.

That's the point, since the layout is similar to the ErgoDox, it is very easy to adjust to this. The fact is this was more of a test to see if the layout worked. With the excelleent work Dox, bpiphany, regack and komar007, litster have done and the many unnamed heroes, turning possible designs into a PCB based with custom acrylic case is not a pipe dream.

Add to it the ever-enthusiastic community helping hit good price tier even for prototypes, such as in the case of the GHPad.

Regack has agreed to help me with the PCB, so that is a good sign, let's see when the PCB gets made. In the meantime, any suggestions.

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Re: ErgoTravel (ErgoT) - The small luggable Ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #10 on: Thu, 19 September 2013, 23:39:56 »
looking for a better board to travel with than my ErgoDox, The ErgoDox didnt do so well on the trip i am on right now.

i love the hinged design; i would like it more if it had an additional row of keys.

what if there was a way to have a ball joint instead of a hinge, similar to the rare IBM M-15, That way you cant tent/slope and rotate :O me just dreaming.......
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Offline MOZ

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Re: ErgoTravel (ErgoT) - The small luggable Ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #11 on: Fri, 20 September 2013, 05:28:30 »
looking for a better board to travel with than my ErgoDox, The ErgoDox didnt do so well on the trip i am on right now.

i love the hinged design; i would like it more if it had an additional row of keys.

what if there was a way to have a ball joint instead of a hinge, similar to the rare IBM M-15, That way you cant tent/slope and rotate :O me just dreaming.......

I could possibly add one more row. I think you would want it on the top?

Maybe on the final board, I will have it as a row you can snap off on the PCB.

Looking out for options with ball/socket joint.

Offline CPTBadAss

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Re: ErgoTravel (ErgoT) - The small luggable Ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #12 on: Fri, 20 September 2013, 05:51:39 »
Interesting, love to see if you get a PCB done or not. Looks like a baby Key64 :D I wonder how long the acrylic hinge will hold up though.
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Offline MOZ

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Re: ErgoTravel (ErgoT) - The small luggable Ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #13 on: Fri, 20 September 2013, 06:46:56 »
I just realized a ball joint won't work atleast not raw, since we need some way to lock it in position as well.

I think if made out of Alu/Steel the hinge would hold up very well.

As for acrylic only, I personally believe that the best option is to get the hinge portion (The hinge and the two arms uptil the first bolt hole) made in SS or Alu for the three middle layers. The hinge part on the fourth layer is very fragile on acrylic and I already broke it, because I tightened the hinge screw very hard and was testing how much I could rotate the two parts.

Offline hoggy

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Re: ErgoTravel (ErgoT) - The small luggable Ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #14 on: Fri, 20 September 2013, 07:00:57 »
Are you thinking of making more...?
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Offline MOZ

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Re: ErgoTravel (ErgoT) - The small luggable Ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #15 on: Fri, 20 September 2013, 07:03:59 »
Are you thinking of making more...?

Yes, I will have a GB.

But first I need to improve it, such as a metallic hinge as mentioned above. Have a 12x5 variant besides the 12x4 I made. Make a PCB.

Offline hoggy

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Re: ErgoTravel (ErgoT) - The small luggable Ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #16 on: Fri, 20 September 2013, 07:06:18 »
Are you thinking of making more...?

Yes, I will have a GB.

But first I need to improve it, such as a metallic hinge as mentioned above. Have a 12x5 variant besides the 12x4 I made. Make a PCB.

Super - count me in.
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Offline MOZ

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Re: ErgoTravel (ErgoT) - The small luggable Ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #17 on: Fri, 20 September 2013, 07:17:26 »
The yellow and red parts represent the metallic hinge. This is for the budget case.

The best would be to have all the layers made in metal, that would without a doubt be the strongest case.

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Re: ErgoTravel (ErgoT) - The small luggable Ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #18 on: Fri, 20 September 2013, 07:22:09 »
So  can we call this the pocketdox? ;)

Offline MOZ

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Re: ErgoTravel (ErgoT) - The small luggable Ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #19 on: Fri, 20 September 2013, 07:28:48 »
So  can we call this the pocketdox? ;)

268.6x106.2mm, not sure how pocket friendly.

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Re: ErgoTravel (ErgoT) - The small luggable Ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #20 on: Fri, 20 September 2013, 07:31:07 »
So  can we call this the pocketdox? ;)

268.6x106.2mm, not sure how pocket friendly.

Have you not seen the pants with pockets for Ipads lol :P

Offline MOZ

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Re: ErgoTravel (ErgoT) - The small luggable Ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #21 on: Fri, 20 September 2013, 07:31:41 »
So  can we call this the pocketdox? ;)

268.6x106.2mm, not sure how pocket friendly.

Have you not seen the pants with pockets for Ipads lol :P

When you put it that way. :)

Offline Thimplum

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Re: ErgoTravel (ErgoT) - The small luggable Ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #22 on: Fri, 20 September 2013, 08:42:15 »
If you do a GB, it should come with zinc keycaps!
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Offline MuadDirac

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Re: ErgoTravel (ErgoT) - The small luggable Ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #23 on: Fri, 20 September 2013, 08:57:37 »
I've spent a lot of time looking for small ball joints. Turns out the most interesting/useful ones don't go by "ball joint" but rather by "lamp swivel joint."

http://www.grandbrass.com/catalog.cfm?category=Swivels&subcategory=All

Most of these have locking mechanisms of some sort.

Offline MOZ

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Re: ErgoTravel (ErgoT) - The small luggable Ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #24 on: Fri, 20 September 2013, 09:07:09 »
I've spent a lot of time looking for small ball joints. Turns out the most interesting/useful ones don't go by "ball joint" but rather by "lamp swivel joint."

http://www.grandbrass.com/catalog.cfm?category=Swivels&subcategory=All

Most of these have locking mechanisms of some sort.

That is very very helpful. Too many options, don't know which to take and  what I can use, any suggestions? Trying to keep it as low profile as possible.

Offline MOZ

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Re: ErgoTravel (ErgoT) - The small luggable Ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #25 on: Fri, 20 September 2013, 11:21:27 »
I went a little crazy:


Offline keymaster

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Re: ErgoTravel (ErgoT) - The small luggable Ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #26 on: Fri, 20 September 2013, 16:18:00 »
Just a suggestion -- maybe this thing should be called the 'ErgoMini' since it is technically a miniature ErgoDox. Just like the 60% boards, most people will have them for home use despite the portability/travel appeal.

Offline MOZ

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Re: ErgoTravel (ErgoT) - The small luggable Ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #27 on: Fri, 20 September 2013, 16:38:24 »
Just a suggestion -- maybe this thing should be called the 'ErgoMini' since it is technically a miniature ErgoDox. Just like the 60% boards, most people will have them for home use despite the portability/travel appeal.

Yeah, maybe

Offline Thimplum

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Re: ErgoTravel (ErgoT) - The small luggable Ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #28 on: Fri, 20 September 2013, 20:03:26 »
it is technically a miniature ErgoDox

Not really. I think that the defining feature of the ErgoDox is the thumbclusters, which this does not have. All they have in common is matrix layout and split, though the ErgoT isn't really a true split keyboard, as the halves are very much attached.
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Offline MOZ

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Re: ErgoTravel (ErgoT) - The small luggable Ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #29 on: Sat, 21 September 2013, 16:58:31 »
Put on some switches and caps (Whatever I had, I don't have much caps :()




My layout I plan to use:


Regack has started work on the PCB and i would most likely have a 12x5 variant as well.

Also, I am planning on making the case with a cover like the "Pencil Case" I designed for JDCarpe's 40%, that would allow safe travel for the ErgoT

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Re: ErgoTravel (ErgoT) - The small luggable Ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #30 on: Sun, 22 September 2013, 09:12:43 »
Interesting design.  The foldability is a nice addition to all the recent ergo designs that have been popping up.   

However, the pinky fingers will be getting a lot of use with this board, which what drives me away from standard keyboards.
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Offline MuadDirac

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Re: ErgoTravel (ErgoT) - The small luggable Ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #31 on: Mon, 23 September 2013, 16:20:16 »
I've spent a lot of time looking for small ball joints. Turns out the most interesting/useful ones don't go by "ball joint" but rather by "lamp swivel joint."

http://www.grandbrass.com/catalog.cfm?category=Swivels&subcategory=All

Most of these have locking mechanisms of some sort.

That is very very helpful. Too many options, don't know which to take and  what I can use, any suggestions? Trying to keep it as low profile as possible.

Depends on what you need them for exactly. It looks like some of your designs get away with only needing motion in one dimension, and that means you can use connections which have a wider range of motion (like this: http://www.grandbrass.com/ShowItem.cfm?ItemNumber=SV135NP ). But if that's the case there might be some non-lamp-part options that would be better suited. The ball joints give you motion in all directions, but to a much smaller degree, usually 15-30 degrees. I have one of these: http://www.grandbrass.com/ShowItem.cfm?ItemNumber=SV600 ) on hand and can take some pics with it next to an mx switch if that would help.

Offline MOZ

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Re: ErgoTravel (ErgoT) - The small luggable Ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #32 on: Mon, 23 September 2013, 16:32:16 »
That would be awesome, please do post pics.

Offline Oobly

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Re: ErgoTravel (ErgoT) - The small luggable Ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #33 on: Tue, 08 October 2013, 07:05:07 »
Just had a thought.

You could use a pair of threaded ball studs or something similar, with 2 metal plates and a bolt to provide tension to hold them in place. Something like the joints of a "helping hands" gadget:



Then, if you add another set at the bottom and use the right length metal plates, you can fold the keyboard over (keycaps to keycaps) and lock it in place to protect it during travel! :)

[EDIT] You can loosen the lower one enough to separate the joint when you set it up again, or you can make the plates extendable somehow? If you put a rubber strip along the outer edge of either key cluster, you can tent and angle the clusters, then lock them in place and rest them on the outer edges. It means the columns are parallel to the desk surface, but that may be okay.
« Last Edit: Tue, 08 October 2013, 07:10:40 by Oobly »
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Offline MOZ

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Re: ErgoTravel (ErgoT) - The small luggable Ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #34 on: Tue, 08 October 2013, 07:46:18 »
I'm waiting for the PCB to be done, to make the case around it.

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Re: ErgoTravel (ErgoT) - The small luggable Ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #35 on: Wed, 09 October 2013, 13:29:48 »
I loved the idea!
GOSH, awesome
And the PCB Files??? Can we have it??? Please???
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Offline MOZ

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Re: ErgoTravel (ErgoT) - The small luggable Ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #36 on: Wed, 09 October 2013, 13:33:26 »
Sure, regack is still working on them. If he allows I'll have him upload it to his github

Offline Neebio

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Re: ErgoTravel (ErgoT) - The small luggable Ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #37 on: Wed, 09 October 2013, 14:33:47 »
Hey MOZ, looking at your hinge design, if you are still considering making it out of only acrylic, I have a suggestion:

As I see it, there are 5 layers to the case.  Make the cutout of the hinge (the wire pass-through) on the 3rd layer instead of the 2nd (from the bottom).  This will change the hinge design so that there are 2 full tabs from each side of the keyboard contributing to the strength of the hinge, instead of 3 from one side and 1 and a half (the cutout layer) from the other.

I've left out some layers from each side, but this should give you an idea of what I mean:

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Offline MOZ

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Re: ErgoTravel (ErgoT) - The small luggable Ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #38 on: Thu, 10 October 2013, 00:59:03 »
Hmm, I see, I'll try this out and report.

Thanks a lot!

Offline Ch0nG

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Re: ErgoTravel (ErgoT) - The small luggable Ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #39 on: Fri, 11 October 2013, 09:03:22 »
Thanks for letting me know about this, MOZ. I am really interested in this. If it ends up being similar in price to the ErgoDox I would definitely be in on a GB.
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Offline MOZ

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Re: ErgoTravel (ErgoT) - The small luggable Ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #40 on: Fri, 11 October 2013, 09:15:49 »
It would indeed be a fair bit cheaper than the ErgoDox.

Offline Ch0nG

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Re: ErgoTravel (ErgoT) - The small luggable Ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #41 on: Fri, 11 October 2013, 09:27:11 »
Awesome, I'm in for sure.
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Offline Pacifist

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Re: ErgoTravel (ErgoT) - The small luggable Ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #42 on: Fri, 15 November 2013, 19:54:50 »
Depending how much the final will cost, count me in for R1 of the GB.


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Re: ErgoTravel (ErgoT) - The small luggable Ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #43 on: Thu, 19 December 2013, 08:48:08 »

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Re: ErgoTravel (ErgoT) - The small luggable Ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #44 on: Thu, 19 December 2013, 11:30:27 »
Oh my, that is beautiful.

Offline osi

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Re: ErgoTravel (ErgoT) - The small luggable Ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #45 on: Thu, 19 December 2013, 11:43:55 »
Peronsally, I've never liked or had a need for ergo boards. This is the only one I would ever consider. Looking good so far

Offline MOZ

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Re: ErgoTravel (ErgoT) - The small luggable Ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #46 on: Thu, 19 December 2013, 12:14:01 »
Hey regack, would it be possible to add backlit LED, I am not a huge fan myself of backlit boards however since this is a travel board, and often lighting isn't adequate, it might not be a bad idea after all, plus it is always good to have that option.

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Re: ErgoTravel (ErgoT) - The small luggable Ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #47 on: Thu, 19 December 2013, 13:01:59 »
Hey regack, would it be possible to add backlit LED, I am not a huge fan myself of backlit boards however since this is a travel board, and often lighting isn't adequate, it might not be a bad idea after all, plus it is always good to have that option.

So add LEDs to each key, I'll work on that.   I'm also working on some other smd backlighting options, but only in a general sense.  I have a test board (that arrived yesterday), and some other parts (that haven't arrived yet) to try some stuff out.



Offline yakitysax

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Re: ErgoTravel (ErgoT) - The small luggable Ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #48 on: Thu, 19 December 2013, 14:56:24 »
Peronsally, I've never liked or had a need for ergo boards. This is the only one I would ever consider. Looking good so far
Ones that are actually ergonomic and not merely claim to be ergonomic are extremely nice (in particular those with thumb keys) if you happen to use modifiers a lot (such as with some programs) or type a lot and need to avoid ulnar deviation as much as possible to avoid wrecking tendons.

Anyways, MOZ, does the keyboard fold with the keys facing inward or outward? I cannot tell looking at the pictures. It seems like outward may be easier in the context of putting it in a case with cutouts for the keys so that they are not depressed the entire time.

Offline datagrok

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Re: ErgoTravel (ErgoT) - The small luggable Ergonomic keyboard
« Reply #49 on: Tue, 28 January 2014, 07:58:55 »
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Regack if I'm understanding this picture correctly, you've designed a PCB for a 60% split keyboard layout that can not only be used for both the left- and right-hand sides of the keyboard but can also be converted to a 40% design simply by breaking away the top row?

I guess from the lack of comments that this kind of thing is totally commonplace and no big deal. But I'm slackjawed and mindblown. What a beautiful design!

This should make for awesome economies of scale if there's ever a group-buy.