Rewriting Life

Krazy Keys

Take a standard computer keyboard, chop it in half, and stand each half on end. Now, put one hand on each side, palms facing in-and type. It might feel strange, but if you’re a heavy user, this odd setup could help avert chronic injury such as carpal tunnel syndrome.

The “vertical keyboard” lessens strain because it allows the forearm to remain in its neutral position (think handshake). The palms-down posture required by conventional keyboards, in contrast, forces the radius and ulna to cross, a stressed configuration. A recent study by Alan Hedge, director of Cornell University’s Department of Design and Environmental Analysis, showed that when typists used the vertical model, they spent significantly less time with their wrists and arms in the strained positions known to increase the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome. Ergonomic-Interface Keyboard Systems-the La Jolla, Calif., company that designed and patented the novel data-entry tool-is seeking licensees to turn the prototype into a commercial product.

Uh oh–you've read all five of your free articles for this month.

Insider Premium

$179.95/yr US PRICE

More from Rewriting Life

Reprogramming our bodies to make us healthier.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Premium.

  • Insider Premium {! insider.prices.premium !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Our award winning magazine, unlimited access to our story archive, special discounts to MIT Technology Review Events, and exclusive content.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Bimonthly home delivery and unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website.

    The Download. Our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation.

    Access to the Magazine archive. Over 24,000 articles going back to 1899 at your fingertips.

    Special Discounts to select partner offerings

    Discount to MIT Technology Review events

    Ad-free web experience

    First Look. Exclusive early access to stories.

    Insider Conversations. Join in and ask questions as our editors talk to innovators from around the world.

You've read of free articles this month.