Author Topic: Datahand Keyboard II: why and why not?  (Read 22118 times)

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Offline olivierpons

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Datahand Keyboard II: why and why not?
« on: Sat, 14 January 2017, 07:52:08 »
Excuse me for my english which is perfectible...

Reading this:

https://www.keychatter.com/2015/03/04/ergonomic-mechanical-keyboards-a-primer-and-roundup/,

I'm wondering why they've stopped selling the Datahand Keyboard II.
I guess its very high price ($2000) was the actual problem.
I wish I had one to see if it's effective or not.



If my crowdfunding of the Ergofip is successful (2017 - January, 20th) I'm already planning on making a Datahand Keyboard-like, with new switches and using the configurator I've developped. Of course, far less than $2000 (it should be around $300).

What do you think? Could it be worth it? Pros and cons?
Ergofip: a high-tech keyboard that is easy to install, easy to grasp and configure.
A keyboard inspired by the Ergodox, fully open-source, but totally re-written from scratch.
- Configure what will be printed on your keycaps (custom transparent keycaps!)
- International configurator
- Choose your switches
- Create your macros: configure it to send a whole message to your mates in a game with one key press! Open the online configurator and create all the macros you need.
- Share your configuration

Online tp4tissue

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Re: Datahand Keyboard II: why and why not?
« Reply #1 on: Sat, 14 January 2017, 14:54:54 »
They stopped selling this thing because the learning curve is too high..


Another problem with this device , is the tenting wrist angle is still quite flat in its normal configuration..


You can tent it up in the middle surely,  but that usage style is not obvious to all the people who would buy the product,

Therefore in totality the consumer educational aspect of the device is far too high.. as you'd have to TEACH your buyers why and HOW this product is better..


Overall.. I think it's definitely workable..   


Right away though, this device has some problems in that you can't really rest your hands on it, if you want to type fast..

Because the finger tip motion on its own is not very fast..  so anytime you need a quick double letter, you'd have to rely on upper arm motion..


So for example, if you typed  le  tt er..  You'd stiffen your middle finger, and pull your arm twice to the right using mostly the bicep of your upper arm..



This is a huge level of complexity in a completely redefined technique relative to standard typing. that you'd also have to teach your users..

Offline davkol

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Re: Datahand Keyboard II: why and why not?
« Reply #2 on: Sat, 14 January 2017, 15:41:12 »
Actually, it had more problems. Reliability wasn't great, they ran into manufacturing issues, the price was too high and the company marketed its products mainly to businesses, but not very convincingly.

Offline need

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Re: Datahand Keyboard II: why and why not?
« Reply #3 on: Sat, 14 January 2017, 15:55:28 »
I'm surprised no one tries to manufacture it nowadays, especially when the Chinese can basically make anything.

Offline olivierpons

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Re: Datahand Keyboard II: why and why not?
« Reply #4 on: Sat, 14 January 2017, 16:08:08 »
They stopped selling this thing because the learning curve is too high..
There are some people (including me) who aren't afraid of the learning curve if the benefits are high.

Another problem with this device , is the tenting wrist angle is still quite flat in its normal configuration..
Good point. Didn't think about that, because with the Ergofip you can easily change the position

Overall.. I think it's definitely workable..   
So am I...

Right away though, this device has some problems in that you can't really rest your hands on it, if you want to type fast..

Because the finger tip motion on its own is not very fast..  so anytime you need a quick double letter, you'd have to rely on upper arm motion..

So for example, if you typed  le  tt er..  You'd stiffen your middle finger, and pull your arm twice to the right using mostly the bicep of your upper arm..

Very very interesting point... you're saying that moving your arm to press a key may be faster than moving your finger. It's not ironic, I'm not joking either: I'm actually wondering if I could measure this because it's a very interesting question: what are the quickest moves you can do that include your arms, wrists and fingers?


This is a huge level of complexity in a completely redefined technique relative to standard typing. that you'd also have to teach your users..
I got the point but I think they may be people (like me) interested in such keyboard.

IMHO the big question you've raised is: are you faster with a keyboard like this?

With my Ergofip I'm faster than with a classical keyboard, that's 100% sure, and 100% sure for everybody who is not afraid of a short learning curve (few days of training). But for a Datahand Keyboard? That's a big question... thank you very much for your answer!

Actually, it had more problems. Reliability wasn't great, they ran into manufacturing issues, the price was too high and the company marketed its products mainly to businesses, but not very convincingly.
If the price is high it has to be perfect IMHO.

I'm surprised no one tries to manufacture it nowadays, especially when the Chinese can basically make anything.
Why not make a partnership with Chinese then? That's what we are planning with the Ergofip.
Ergofip: a high-tech keyboard that is easy to install, easy to grasp and configure.
A keyboard inspired by the Ergodox, fully open-source, but totally re-written from scratch.
- Configure what will be printed on your keycaps (custom transparent keycaps!)
- International configurator
- Choose your switches
- Create your macros: configure it to send a whole message to your mates in a game with one key press! Open the online configurator and create all the macros you need.
- Share your configuration

Online tp4tissue

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Re: Datahand Keyboard II: why and why not?
« Reply #5 on: Sat, 14 January 2017, 16:25:02 »
@ olivierpons, I sent you a private message.. go to the top of the screen, click message..

Offline davkol

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Re: Datahand Keyboard II: why and why not?
« Reply #6 on: Sun, 15 January 2017, 08:16:24 »
They stopped selling this thing because the learning curve is too high..
There are some people (including me) who aren't afraid of the learning curve if the benefits are high.
The learning curve has to be justified. From what I've seen, for example the pointing in device in DataHand wasn't great to begin with.

Another problem is that lateral movements of certain digits aren't exactly natural and even independent. Which leads to the arm usage... and I've noticed negative reviews from people, that developed tendon/elbow problems from using the DataHand.

IMHO the big question you've raised is: are you faster with a keyboard like this?
Anyone, who cares about speed/efficiency, should look into automation and/or steno in the first place.

Why not make a partnership with Chinese then? That's what we are planning with the Ergofip.
I can't help myself...

Are you going to plagiarize OldDataHands' project too?

edit: fixed link
« Last Edit: Tue, 17 January 2017, 04:07:54 by davkol »

Offline olivierpons

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Re: Datahand Keyboard II: why and why not?
« Reply #7 on: Mon, 16 January 2017, 15:21:04 »
Hi davkol,

I'm sorry if you didn't read this post, where I explain that the only thing Ergofip has in common with the Ergodox is 80% of the design, and everything else is different, including the PCB and the design (even the keycaps and the keys which arent Cherry MX...), but this topic isn't about explaining what are the good things of the Ergofip that make it unique.

Anyway, this is totally out of topic, negative and uselessly naughty attitude. I've sent you a private message, please answer me there, it would be nicer for people interested in the pros and cons of the Datahand Keyboard. Thank you very much.
« Last Edit: Thu, 02 February 2017, 04:44:52 by olivierpons »
Ergofip: a high-tech keyboard that is easy to install, easy to grasp and configure.
A keyboard inspired by the Ergodox, fully open-source, but totally re-written from scratch.
- Configure what will be printed on your keycaps (custom transparent keycaps!)
- International configurator
- Choose your switches
- Create your macros: configure it to send a whole message to your mates in a game with one key press! Open the online configurator and create all the macros you need.
- Share your configuration

Offline davkol

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Re: Datahand Keyboard II: why and why not?
« Reply #8 on: Mon, 16 January 2017, 16:38:23 »
If you think I'm making money with the Ergofip, here are the numbers: selling 100 keyboard = $30000. With those $30000 we'll ask the French government for a $30000 funds which will bring us to $60000.
* davkol breathes heavily

I don't even know what to think anymore.

I'm just trying to bring my ideas and make the world a better place to leave, and make people happy.
I don't understand how a weird crowdfunding campaign (or milking the government) makes the world a better place. Esp. compared to actual work in the bazaar.

FWIW I believe the keyboard.io campaign is a prime example of development and crowdfunding done right. Even the ErgoDox EZ is done very professionally.

edit: fixed link
« Last Edit: Tue, 17 January 2017, 04:07:21 by davkol »

Offline keytohopiness

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Re: Datahand Keyboard II: why and why not?
« Reply #9 on: Mon, 16 January 2017, 17:27:33 »

Offline olivierpons

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Re: Datahand Keyboard II: why and why not?
« Reply #10 on: Mon, 16 January 2017, 23:30:04 »
@davkol This is totally out of topic, negative and uselessly naughty attitude. I've sent you a private message, please answer me there, it would be nicer for people interested in the pros and cons of the Datahand Keyboard. Thank you very much.
« Last Edit: Thu, 02 February 2017, 04:44:09 by olivierpons »
Ergofip: a high-tech keyboard that is easy to install, easy to grasp and configure.
A keyboard inspired by the Ergodox, fully open-source, but totally re-written from scratch.
- Configure what will be printed on your keycaps (custom transparent keycaps!)
- International configurator
- Choose your switches
- Create your macros: configure it to send a whole message to your mates in a game with one key press! Open the online configurator and create all the macros you need.
- Share your configuration

Offline davkol

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Re: Datahand Keyboard II: why and why not?
« Reply #11 on: Tue, 17 January 2017, 04:05:07 »
Oh dear... You're making claims, such as that it's not true, but the page was captured by Archive.org. Anyone can check for themselves, that its contents were ridiculous and you started doing damage control only after getting called out.

Quote
Here are the main features of this keyboard.
Features you’ll hardly find somewhere else.
And you will find those features all together only in the Ergofip©.
No jokes.
It's the only keyboard in the world which has those features.


Healthy
Reduces carpal tunnel syndrome with an adequate position of the hands.

Good-looking
You'll be the only one to have such a pretty keyboard!

Fast
Mechanical keyboards are known to have a faster response time.

Easy to configure
It's so easy you won't believe it. Only at first sight.

Silent? Clicky? Noisy?
We'll provide it with four different keys/switches: black, red, brown or blue. It's up to you!

Macros
You'll be able to fully customize your keyboard. And to add "macros" so when you press one key, many ones are sent to the computer!

Quote
The Ergofip will help you to be in the right position: it reduces (maybe eliminates, which is the case for Olivier Pons, the creator of the Ergodox©) the carpal syndrome.

Quote
Designed by actual professionnals.
We're not only a team of keyboard enthusiastics.
We're professionnals too.
The electronic design is made for durability
For electronicians this picture is worth a thousand words about the overall quality.

I can't even imagine, how this could happen by accident. It isn't useless to post about it either—it serves potential customers as a warning about credibility or competency of the business.

Offline olivierpons

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Re: Datahand Keyboard II: why and why not?
« Reply #12 on: Tue, 17 January 2017, 04:27:55 »
This is totally out of topic, negative and uselessly naughty attitude. I've sent you a private message, please answer me there, it would be nicer for people interested in the pros and cons of the Datahand Keyboard. Thank you very much.
« Last Edit: Thu, 02 February 2017, 04:43:54 by olivierpons »
Ergofip: a high-tech keyboard that is easy to install, easy to grasp and configure.
A keyboard inspired by the Ergodox, fully open-source, but totally re-written from scratch.
- Configure what will be printed on your keycaps (custom transparent keycaps!)
- International configurator
- Choose your switches
- Create your macros: configure it to send a whole message to your mates in a game with one key press! Open the online configurator and create all the macros you need.
- Share your configuration

Offline davkol

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Re: Datahand Keyboard II: why and why not?
« Reply #13 on: Tue, 17 January 2017, 05:03:21 »
There are two sides: the business and the customers. You seem to be forgetting about the party, that isn't your business.

Offline dantan

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Re: Datahand Keyboard II: why and why not?
« Reply #14 on: Fri, 24 March 2017, 09:54:58 »
Oh dear... You're making claims, such as that it's not true, but the page was captured by Archive.org. Anyone can check for themselves, that its contents were ridiculous and you started doing damage control only after getting called out.


Oh no. After I bumped up this Pons guy's thread, I read your Archive link Davkol, and it really raises some doubts.

So originally this was an ergodox layout.

But what about the keycaps and the RGB? The ergodox doesn't have LED support does it, so in order to have that keyboard appear like that Pons must have gotten his own ergodox PCB and custom keycaps made. The project could very well still be legit.

Do enlighten me. I'm quite happy to learn more as there are many things I don't know about keyboards.

Offline davkol

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Re: Datahand Keyboard II: why and why not?
« Reply #15 on: Fri, 24 March 2017, 15:42:59 »
Is it necessary to bump that? I mean they have a basically failed crowdfunding campaign, which speaks for itself.

(I expect another round of pms from the guy, calling me naughty and what not.)

Offline olivierpons

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Re: Datahand Keyboard II: why and why not?
« Reply #16 on: Fri, 24 March 2017, 17:25:54 »
You didn't answer. Please answer the question.

Maybe you didn't read?

"But what about the keycaps and the RGB? The ergodox doesn't have LED support does it, so in order to have that keyboard appear like that Pons must have gotten his own ergodox PCB and custom keycaps made. The project could very well still be legit."
Ergofip: a high-tech keyboard that is easy to install, easy to grasp and configure.
A keyboard inspired by the Ergodox, fully open-source, but totally re-written from scratch.
- Configure what will be printed on your keycaps (custom transparent keycaps!)
- International configurator
- Choose your switches
- Create your macros: configure it to send a whole message to your mates in a game with one key press! Open the online configurator and create all the macros you need.
- Share your configuration

Offline keytohopiness

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Re: Datahand Keyboard II: why and why not?
« Reply #17 on: Fri, 24 March 2017, 17:46:49 »
Is it necessary to bump that? I mean they have a basically failed crowdfunding campaign, which speaks for itself.

(I expect another round of pms from the guy, calling me naughty and what not.)

Oh, that answers why the Datahand is no more.   :))

Offline daveola

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Re: Datahand Keyboard II: why and why not?
« Reply #18 on: Wed, 28 June 2017, 11:45:15 »
To answer the actual question posted without getting into business issues over the original poster:

I have been using a DataHand religiously for 15 years.

I started to get fairly bad tendinitus in 2001 which threatened my entire career.  I tried a number of ergonomic keyboards that did not help, and then I found the DataHand.

It is very expensive, for sure, and it definitely required training - took about two months before I was reasonably productive on it.

And it completely cured my tendinitus.

Furthermore, I would highly question tp4tissue's claims about double typing of letters.

In my experience, finger movement is much faster than arm movement and my typing on a DataHand is faster than on a conventional keyboard.

One of the important points of the DataHand that is often overlooked is that the switches are not actually mechanical but are opto-magnetic.  When first learning the keyboard they feel *extremely* sensitive, because they require only 1/10th the force of a normal spring switch.   I believe it was designed this way because otherwise the fingers would be over fatigued from the amount of force they would need to give in each direction.  As it stands the keyboard is very comfortable to use once you are trained on it.

I do agree that the tilt to the keyboard is often not enough, so any redesign would hopefully have taller and perhaps more adjustable legs.  I used to just put a book-sized box between my DataHands to lift them up, now I have metal stands that I built to fit the keyboard.

I would *love* if someone made a proper clone of the DataHand keyboard.  And if they use the info gathered by the OldDataHand crew, then good for them - because someone needs to remanufacture this keyboard and the OldDataHand project isn't exactly moving terribly fast and isn't very well organized.  This is a keyboard that needs to be saved, and it needs to be done by someone who will do it properly.

Offline Tiramisuu

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Re: Datahand Keyboard II: why and why not?
« Reply #19 on: Wed, 28 June 2017, 20:09:11 »
My only potential issue with the datahand is the inability to chord keystrokes.   
In practice this could be doable but it kind of depends on how it is switched.

I keep looking for the ultimate keyboard for qwerty/steno. 
I have always thought that this could be it but the price tag was outrageous.

The recent dactyl design that provides a split ergodox/kinesis advantage board may outperform the datahand.
Hard to tell but modern 3D printing creates some really nice opportunities for better shapes and positions.
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Offline jameschaucer

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Re: Datahand Keyboard II: why and why not?
« Reply #20 on: Tue, 29 August 2017, 16:45:00 »
If you can make a datahand equivalent for less than $1000 I will buy 2 of them.

I presently own 4 datahands, 2 of which are broken.  Without these, I will quickly be unable to work due to my tendonitus.

Learning curve? 1 week to be working, 2 weeks to be better than I was with my old keyboards.  These things need to be marketed to doctors as medical devices for people like me.  For people looking for a cool toy it's going to be difficult even at $500.

Offline claussen

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Re: Datahand Keyboard II: why and why not?
« Reply #21 on: Tue, 03 October 2017, 16:41:16 »
Lotta thoughtless trolling in here from those who don't own or operate DH devices.
As a consumer electronics design/mfg guy by trade, I'll be the first to say that the DH is a manufacturer's nightmare, ugly, bulky, and that some of the macro-ergonomics of it could be improved per the other notes here -- tenting angle, bulk, cables, etc.

But it IS effective at relieving RSI symptoms while still enabling efficient typing.

Some weirdly baseless stuff being thrown around in this thread.
I've got three, have been using DH for 15 years, and it literally makes me able to work.
I *super* wish I could use something else simply because it would make my life a little simpler, cheaper, and I wouldn't live in fear of HW failures, but all this talk about lateral finger motion causing tendonitis in the upper arm and elbow...  I've never experienced that.

There are many problems with DH (lack of usable mouse is #1, so I use a renaissance mouse in between the units, not ideal but oh well), but the basic ergonomics are fantastic and worth some study for folks looking to learn and move industry forward.  Learning curve is high, but if you spend $1k on a keyboard, you are in a different class of motivated user anyway.  If learning curve were the main thing keeping it from being adopted, nobody would use Dvorak either.
Price killed it.  DH is just plain expensive to build.  Go look at the dodo-hand to see how hard it has been to reproduce.

In any case, glad to see that its memory lives on, and happy to contribute to any thread where someone would like input from an actual long term user.

Offline templanet

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Re: Datahand Keyboard II: why and why not?
« Reply #22 on: Sat, 21 April 2018, 21:14:27 »
Lotta thoughtless trolling in here from those who don't own or operate DH devices.
As a consumer electronics design/mfg guy by trade, I'll be the first to say that the DH is a manufacturer's nightmare, ugly,
bulky, and that some of the macro-ergonomics of it could be improved per the other notes here -- tenting angle, bulk, cables, etc.

But it IS effective at relieving RSI symptoms while still enabling efficient typing.

Some weirdly baseless stuff being thrown around in this thread.
I've got three, have been using DH for 15 years, and it literally makes me able to work.
I *super* wish I could use something else simply because it would make my life a little simpler, cheaper, and I wouldn't live in fear of HW failures, but all this talk about lateral finger motion causing tendonitis in the upper arm and elbow...  I've never experienced that.

There are many problems with DH (lack of usable mouse is #1, so I use a renaissance mouse in between the units, not ideal but oh well), but the basic ergonomics are fantastic and worth some study for folks looking to learn and move industry forward.  Learning curve is high, but if you spend $1k on a keyboard, you are in a different class of motivated user anyway.  If learning curve were the main thing keeping it from being adopted, nobody would use Dvorak either.
Price killed it.  DH is just plain expensive to build.  Go look at the dodo-hand to see how hard it has been to reproduce.

In any case, glad to see that its memory lives on, and happy to contribute to any thread where someone would like input from an actual long term user.

I use a cutout table set up to get forearm support. I see that doesn't work with the old DataHand design. There would have to be an addon to extend the hand rests for it to work for me.

As for mouse support, I saw someone mod in a trackball, but you'd have to pull your fingers out to make it work. So perhaps an IBM style trackpoint would work, but then you would have to rethink all the buttons on it. Or just use a foot mouse. The foot mouse wouldn't work for me though, as I use a saddle chair, so the track point is the only way for me. Or you could leave it as is and just learn to control your OS with key presses.

A blog I read last night said what actually killed DataHand, was some financial shennigans, but they didn't go into details. I assume someone might sue them if they did.

If its hard to manufacture, what about creating a spare parts and repairs cottage industry around it? It could be built up to the point where you could buy all the parts spearately and build your own. That way instead of one company making a plastic clone and disappearing leaving its users in the same situation as before, the risk could be spread out and perhaps it would last.

The last time I thought about this keyboard was 4 years ago. I had completely blanked it out since then. Its sad to see no physical progress has been made.
« Last Edit: Sat, 21 April 2018, 21:55:12 by templanet »

Offline katushkin

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Re: Datahand Keyboard II: why and why not?
« Reply #23 on: Sun, 06 May 2018, 05:38:03 »
A genuine question for those who use the Datahand board seeing as this thread has been necro'd, did any of you try other split keyboards before you used the Datahand? I'm just trying to find out if it's the minimal wrist movement that has helped with your issues or is it the split nature?
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Offline davkol

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Re: Datahand Keyboard II: why and why not?
« Reply #24 on: Sun, 06 May 2018, 06:03:34 »
A split keyboard can help any touch typist; that's about wrist/arm posture.

The thing about DataHand is that it's not really a keyboard, you don't move your fingers around to press individual keys. It can be helpful for people who struggle with that on top of the previous point.

It's kind of like a stenotype is not the same sort of a keyboard as your typical IBM Model M / clone or Sholes' typewriter design before that.

Offline katushkin

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Re: Datahand Keyboard II: why and why not?
« Reply #25 on: Sun, 06 May 2018, 08:51:05 »
Okay, but my question still stands. Did people who use DHs in this thread use other split/ergo boards before, and did they help at all? Obviously if they've committed to a DH AFTER using a split/ergo board then it must be better, but if not why go for such an expensive option first?

I understand it's not a keyboard in the conventional sense of the word, but I don't know the cause/symptoms of tendinitus, what movements exacerbate the pain etc. I don't have tendinitus although I have experienced some wrist pain in the past, but a split board has helped me.
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Offline davkol

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Re: Datahand Keyboard II: why and why not?
« Reply #26 on: Sun, 06 May 2018, 09:06:06 »
A split keyboard solves a subset of issues potentially addressable by DataHand (considering that DataHand is/was split too).

Offline templanet

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Re: Datahand Keyboard II: why and why not?
« Reply #27 on: Sun, 06 May 2018, 15:08:02 »
You might get more replies from Datahand users if you ask here:
https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=41422

I am sure they have tried all of the keyboards on the market. I have seen some admit to owning several Datahands and they say they fear their last devices failing. Have you seen the video on Youtube where a guy was selling the last stock of new old ones for $2500 each? His Datahands were huge. You wouldn't drag something as big as that around if there was an easier option.

Quote
One cause of carpal tunnel injury is the travel distance required to reach the keys not in the home row. The DataHand reduces travel distance by 90%. Your hands are always in the home row, even when using the mouse. Each key requires about a half inch of finger movement from the home position, and because your hand is resting comfortably on the palm rest, there is virtually no strain on the carpal tunnel muscles.

On a generic keyboard the only motion you can do is to press down, over and over, contributing to carpal tunnel fatigue. Even so-called ergonomic keyboards still force you to pound the keys. In contrast, the DataHand requires a variety of motions from the fingers. Five different motions are used: North and South, East and West, and down, rather than repeating the same downward motion. The varied motions are less repetitive, shorter, gentler, and less stressful. If you have a repetitive stress injury like carpal tunnel syndrome this product can offer you more comfort, less stress, and lower chance of additional injury or re-injury. And it can help you regain the efficiency and speed that you had before your injury. In fact, many users report an increase in their efficiency after learning and using the DataHand for a short time.

...

Another cause of carpal tunnel injury is the amount of force needed to strike the keys of a generic keyboard. Unlike other products on the market that use membrane switches for each key, the Data Hand uses patented magnetic switches, switches that require 80% less force than needed on a regular keyboard.

...

The two sizes of palm rests included ensure that your wrist and forearm are supported in the neutral position. You can use the DataHand on your lap by using the LapLander, on a keyboard tray or desktop, or by mounting it on the arms of a computer chair. On the traditional ergonomic keyboard hand position is improved, but the hands must still be held over the keys

http://www.ergonomickeyboards.org/datahand.php


I have also seen people complain that keys arranged in staggered rows on traditional keyboards cause them pain, so they make keyboards with keys arranged in columns to address that.
« Last Edit: Sun, 06 May 2018, 15:28:10 by templanet »

Offline jameschaucer

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Re: Datahand Keyboard II: why and why not?
« Reply #28 on: Sun, 22 July 2018, 09:01:25 »
It is the learning curve.  It took me 1 week to learn how to use it, 2 weeks to be better on it than a normal keyboard.  If you're not willing to invest 1 week into learning how to use a device that will eliminate 99% of your carpal tunnel problems then your carpal tunnel really isn't that bad--or you're just really lazy perhaps.

Reliability is also terrible. I have 2 broken ones, and one spare now.  If I can buy another I will have to do so.  If you can make one of these for a $1000 let me know.