Ergonomic Keyboard Bobs and Weaves

smartfish pro motion keyboard

Engadget is reporting on a sighting at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas– an invention by Englewood, NJ chiropractor Jack Atzmon. Dr. Atzmon developed a regular-sized keyboard that contains a small motor and enough computer power to tilt slightly every so often — on three different axes — thus moving the user’s typing position.

His production company, Smartfish, has not conducted any clinical trials to support the theory, but it collaborated with the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan on the keyboard design.

A design such as this has the potential to decrease the incidence of carpal tunnel syndrome. Ergonomic keyboards are nothing new, but Atzmon’s appears to be a novel approach.

Atzmon had the idea for his keyboard during a trip to a Best Buy about two years ago. He realized that by having the keyboard itself move slightly every so often, it would shift the angle of a typist’s wrists and keep the carpal tunnel region from staying in the same position all the time.

Smartfish’s Pro:Motion keyboard, with a suggested retail price of $130, moves every 4,000 to 6,000 keystrokes, according to the company.

It remembers the last user’s typing pattern and will reposition itself about eight times a day. It also knows when you pause, and moves only then, so it doesn’t interrupt work flow.

Atzmon says his 20 years of chiropractic training and experience, including treating people with repetitive stress injuries related to typing, helped spark the inventor side of his brain. “Chiropractors are not taught to treat pain; we’re taught to fix it.”

About the same time, he injured his own arm while swimming with his kids, limiting his ability to perform chiropractic adjustments and giving him both the time and the motivation to turn his idea into a real product.

Wasamatterudeskitis? Get a Workstation Evaluation Free Online

ergonomics

Recently, I successfully completed a tricky two-handed control-alt-delete maneuver while holding my 4 month-old baby.  Although I nearly dislocated a shoulder (mine) and there was some crying involved (the baby) it occurred to me at that moment that many people are not as well qualified to perform ergonomic evaluations of their workspaces as I am.  Well, that oversight cannot be tolerated.

Ergonomics is the science of designing a job, equipment, or workplace to fit the worker.  Proper ergonomic design prevents repetitive strain injuries, which can develop over time and can lead to long-term disability.  Some companies provide ergonomic specialists to evaluate an employee’s workstation and make recommendations as to ideal positioning and equipment.  For people who do not have this service, I strongly recommend a website called Ergonomics Simplified

These folks offer a free online evaluation of your workspace.  They ask for an email address for identification but there is no verification so if you are as allergic to spam as I am, you can use a spam proof one (like mailinator) or some other fake. 

The free ergonomic evaluation asks some information about you, your job and your space and then walks you through an interactive step-by-step process making suggestions or offering tweaks you can do along the way.  The information appears to be clinically sound and goes beyond the ordinary.  This skeptical chiropractor is impressed….and I don’t impress too easily.ergonomics_workstation

For the maximum benefit, go to Ergonomics Simplified from your workspace computer so you can actually make some of the changes that are recommended.

Let me know what you think.

Dr. Brett L. Kinsler is a chiropractor in Rochester, NY with a pretty good ergonomic setup for some of his desks but not so good for some others.  His office website is RochesterChiro.com

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