Engineers Work the Angles for Computer KeyboardsComputers are everywhere. And it will be a while before data entry is done by voice alone. Until then, keyboard design is important in reducing problems like neck pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and wrist tendonitis. Do the new slanted, separated, and tilted keyboards help reduce these problems?
A physical therapist and an engineer at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, review the studies done so far to answer this question. Here's what they found in their investigation:
In theory, changing the design of the keyboard should reduce stress on the muscles and joints and decrease musculoskeletal disorders. No studies have been done to prove this yet. Typists who have used the new, improved set-up say it is comfortable and easy to make the adjustment. Not everyone may need a special keyboard. More studies are needed to find out what works and who needs it the most.
Richard W. Marklin, PhD, CPE, and Guy G. Simoneau, PT, PhD. Design Features of Alternative Computer Keyboards: A Review of Experimental Data. In Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy. October 2004. Vol. 34. No. 10. Pp. 638-649.
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