Conventional Keyboard

Risk Factors

1. Ulnar Deviation

Ulnar deviation occurs when your wrist is bent outward in the direction of your little finger. It is among the most common and potentially damaging keyboard postures and can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome and other serious repetitive strain injuries.

On traditional keyboards, the span of your shoulders exceeds the contiguous width of the home row keys. In order to position your hands over the home row, it is necessary to bring the hands together in front of the body with the wrists deviated. Ulnar deviation constricts the blood flow through your wrist, requires static muscle tension, and puts pressure on the median nerve which runs through the carpal tunnel in the wrist. Ulnar deviation is an acute problem for individuals with broad shoulders.

The Freestyle keyboard family addresses the issue of ulnar deviation in either of two ways: Split and Splay. Because of its adjustability, the Freestyle design is perfect for all body types.

Adjustable Split

The left and right key modules can be completely separated to achieve a neutral wrist posture for a wide array of body types.

The Freestyle2 is available with a standard 9″ linking cable or an extended 20″ cable.

The Freestyle Pro has a standard 20″ linking cable along with a convenient compartment for storing any excess cable.

 

 

 

Adjustable Splay

Rotate the key modules and separate them as needed to put your wrists in a more neutral position.  The Freestyle2 includes an optional “Pivot Tether” which can be attached to facilitate a symmetrical splay angle.

Fixed Split

The Advantage2 keyboard addresses the issue of ulnar deviation by separating the standard keyboard layout into left and right key wells.

These key wells position your arms approximately at shoulder width so your wrists are straight to reduce harmful ulnar deviation and abduction.

2. Forearm Pronation

Pronation in the forearm and wrist occurs when typing with your palms face down towards the worksurface. The majority of this turning involves the rotation of both forearm bones (ulna and radius).

Sustained pronation puts pressure on the forearm muscles and tissues which reduces blood circulation and can lead to fatigue and repetitive strain injuries (“RSI”). Research demonstrates that a moderate elevation of the thumb side of the hand dramatically reduces the pressure on the forearm muscles.

Adjustable Tenting

The Freestyle keyboard family addresses forearm pronation with three different modular tenting accessories designed to work with or without palm supports. Quickly attach the tenting accessory to the bottom of the keyboard to elevate the inner edge of the key module. Tenting lets you type with your forearms in a more neutral and comfortable position.

All Freestyle tenting accessories provide variable and reproducible tent settings to greatly reduce pronation. The V3 and VIP accessories support tenting of 5˚, 10˚ and 15˚ and the Ascent accessory supports tenting from 20˚ to 90˚.

Freestyle2 Accessories: V3, VIP3, Ascent

Freestyle Pro Accessories: V3 Pro, VIP3 Pro

Fixed 20˚ Tenting

The Advantage2 keyboard addresses forearm pronation with integrated tenting that elevates the thumb sides of the hands at a fixed lateral slope of approximately 20 degrees. Because of its unique shape, the tenting puts your hands in a natural position that is comfortable and intuitive for typing.

 

3. Wrist Extension

Wrist extension occurs when wrists are bent up and back, putting fingers higher than the wrist joint. This posture greatly reduces blood circulation in the hands leading to pain, fatigue, and numbness.

Most traditional keyboards, and even many ergonomic keyboards, have a positive 10-degree slope or “pop-up feet” on the back underside that actually exacerbates the problem. Even “neutral slope” keyboards can lead to problems if the user drops their wrists in front of the keyboard and down onto the work surface.

The Freestyle family of keyboards address wrist extension in several ways.

Zero-Degree Slope & Optional Palm Supports

Freestyle keyboards feature a zero-degree slope from front to back so your wrist is at the same elevation as your forearm and hand. This design ensures all keys are below wrist level so you are never reaching “up” for any keys.

Additionally, many users choose to attach our modular palm supports that position your wrist in a completely neutral position. Unlike a “wrist rest”  these “palm supports” provide cushioned support to the palms (as needed) and protect the more sensitive wrists by alleviating pressure on the areas that impact circulation.

Freestyle2 Palm Supports

Freestyle Pro Palm Supports

Replacement Freestyle Palm Pads

Integrated Palm Supports & Cushioned Pads

The Advantage2 keyboard addresses wrist extension with its integrated palm supports that position your wrists in a neutral position – at the same elevation as your forearm and hand. The concave key wells ensure that all keys are below of the level of your wrist so you are never reaching “up” for any keys.

Unlike a “wrist rest” these “palm supports” provide support to the palms (as needed) and protect the more sensitive wrists by alleviating pressure to the areas that impact circulation. Each keyboard includes a set of cushioned palm pads which can be attached for additional comfort.

Replacement Advantage Palm Pads

4. Mouse Overreach

Most traditional, and even many ergonomic keyboards, have an integrated numeric 10-key which increases the overall width of the keyboard. The wider your keyboard, the further from your body you have to position the mouse.

When you have to extend your forearm and shoulder to reach for the mouse, you put unnecessary strain on your forearm, neck, and shoulders.

Tenkeyless Design with Embedded 10-Key

The Freestyle family of keyboards address mouse overreach by “embedding” the numeric keypad in the right key module. An embedded keypad shrinks the overall width of the keyboard and allows for placement of the pointing device directly in front of the shoulder for maximum comfort. The keypad actions can be quickly accessed using the “Fn” key.

Stand-Alone USB 10-Key

Heavy 10-key users should consider purchasing a stand-alone keypad which can be placed in the optimal position based on your workflow and deskspace.

 

Kinesis offers two standalone keypads:

Freestyle2 Keypad

Mechanical Keypad

 

 

Tenkeyless Design with Embedded 10-Key

The Advantage2 keyboard addresses mouse overreach by embedding a numeric keypad in the right key well. An embedded keypad shrinks the overall width of the keyboard and allows for placement of the pointing device directly in front of the shoulder for maximum comfort. The keypad actions can be quickly accessed by using the “Keypad” key.

Stand-Alone USB 10-Key

Heavy 10-key users should consider purchasing a stand-alone keypad which can be placed in the optimal position based on their workflow and deskspace.

Kinesis offers two standalone keypads:

Freestyle2 Keypad

Mechanical Keypad

5. High Key Force & Fingertip Impact

Most traditional, and even many ergonomic keyboards, feature keys with a high activation force and/or “short-travel” switches. High force keys require more effort to actuate and thus cause more finger strain and fatigue. These effects build up over time and can cause a variety of health issues.

Short-travel switches like those found on laptops and many “budget-friendly” keyboards require that you fully-depress the key to actuate it. The result is “bottoming out” with thousands of unnecessary micro-impacts on your fingertips each day.

The Freestyle family of keyboards use low-force, full-travel key switches to reduce strain and fatigue, and eliminate unnecessary impacts.

Low-Force, Full-Travel Membrane Switches

The Freestyle2 keyboard uses membrane key switches with low activation force: 35g activation force /45g peak force. The Freestyle2 has a custom membrane engineered to provide “tactile feedback” which provides a slightly elevated force at the point of actuation. Tactility can train typists not to “bottom-out” the switch and eliminate those unnecessary impacts.

 

Low-Force, Full-Travel Mechanical Switches

The Freestyle Pro keyboard uses low-force Cherry mechanical key switches for incredible comfort, performance, and durability. Choose the MX Brown stem variety for “tactile feedback”. Tactile feedback provides a slightly elevated force at the point of actuation. Tactility can train typists not to “bottom-out” the switch and eliminate those unnecessary impacts. Choose the MX Quiet Red stem for a linear feel (no tactility) and reduced noise.

Low Force, Full Travel Mechanical Switches

The Advantage keyboard uses low-force mechanical key switches for incredible comfort, performance and durability.

The Advantage2 Quiet LF features MX Quiet Red switches for a linear feel (no tactility) and reduced noise.

All other Advantage2 models feature MX Brown switches for “tactile feedback”. Tactile feedback provides a slightly elevated force at the point of actuation. Tactility can train typists not to “bottom-out” the switch and eliminate those unnecessary impacts.

Additionally, the Advantage is equipped with optional electronic key tones providing auditory feedback when a key switch actuates to train you not to “bottom-out” the switch.

©2019 KINESIS