Keyboards are dangerous things! – Although they won’t trip you up, break your legs or blow up on you, they can still be the cause of worryingly severe injuries. So much so that many now carry educational/warning labels on the back to warn you of the problems they can cause – which can range from RSI (repetitive strain injury) to wrist injuries sustained from prolonged periods of uncomfortable positions.
And we haven’t seen the worst of it – the current generation (under 20) are growing up with keyboards, and are spending increasing amounts of time on them. Even a large percentage of the older generation use keyboards as part of their work, and if you are reading this then you are definitely affected. And that is why Jack Atzmon has come up with the new ProMotion keyboard which is designed to ease the problems caused by static keyboards.
At first this keyboard from Smartfish technologies looks like any old ‘ergo-keyboard’ with its split design that helps typing and sleek streamlined look. But hidden under this mediocre exterior is a small motor powered by USB, that is used to tilt the keyboard over three axis’ at regular intervals (roughly every 4,000 – 6,000 keystrokes).
What this aims to prevent is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, not one of the better known computer related injuries, but one that can still have lasting effects. CTS is a condition where the median nerve in your wrist is compressed, resulting in restricted blood flow which in turn leads to paresthesias (aka pins and needles) , numbness and muscle weakness. The main problem of this is that it will result in limited use of the hand – it can be ‘cured’, but it can make doing certain tasks fairly difficult.
This keyboard aims to prevent this by making the user move the position of the wrists periodically which will ensure blood flow and prevent CTS from occurring. Jack Atzmon himself is a retired chiropractic doctor, and he says that as a result of treating many people with RSI he decided to attempt to invent a keyboard to help alleviate this.
Admittedly there is no hard evidence that this will work, the product is only just in the prototype stage and has yet to be tested, but the theory is sound and has been designed in collaboration with the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan. In fact he does not have any major buyers yet either, but he has recently visited CES for some ‘closed door’ talks with several major companies who are interested.
And so they should be. The problem of typing related injuries such as Carpal Tunnel Sundrome is not one that will go away unless a solution is found, and although the £90 price may be out of many people’s range, for those who can afford to it would be a good investment. This is something new and innovative and good for your health at the same time; and for the more business minded of you it should increase productiveness in the workplace.
So that is one problem down, now let’s look for manufacturers to tackle other computer related health issues, as well as hoping that they will stop looking for daft alternatives!
Via – NorthJersey.com
Picture – NLM