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Ergonomic Product Categories > Keyboards > Fixed Split Keyboards          
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Fixed Split Keyboards

What are Fixed Split Keyboards?

A Fixed Split Keyboard is a keyboard which features a fixed 'split' or 'splay' in the alpha section of the keyboard, often with a fixed 'hump' or 'tent' in the middle of this split.

What are the Ergonomic Benefits of a Fixed Split Keyboard?

The first ergonomic benefit is derived from the introduction of some 'splay' between the portion of the keyboard utilized by the left and right hand.  By changing the angle from perpendicular to the plane of the body of the user to a splayed orientation, Ulnar Deviation in the wrists when typing can be reduced depending on the Anthropometrics of the individual.  Unfortunately due to the wide range of different body types, shoulder widths, relative lengths of upper and lower arms, this is a rough 'scatter shot' attempt at an ergonomic improvement, unlike the precise and targeted capabilities afforded by Adjustable Keyboards or Separated Keyboards.

The second ergonomic benefit arises from the fixed 'tent' in the keyboard.  By raising the planes of both sides of the keyboard and creating a 'thumbs up' posture, Pronation of the hands while typing is reduced to a limited degree.

NOTE: The 'feet' at the back of many keyboards, while arguably a user-configurable adjustable feature, do not qualify those keyboards as being classified as "Adjustable Keyboards".  This is because deploying these feet will create a positive inclination in the keyboard, which leads to Wrist Extension, and actually introduces an inferior design element to the ergonomics of the keyboard.

What are Potential Concerns when Considering a Fixed Split Keyboard?

The most significant concern when considering a Fixed Split Keyboard is whether the current workstation can accommodate the keyboard.  Often Keyboard Trays are too shallow to accommodate a Fixed Split Keyboard, and sometimes they will have a Wrist Rest which will need to be removed to provide sufficient space.  Finally, some non-height adjustable Articulating Arms may not lower sufficiently to accommodate the vertical tent of a Fixed Split Keyboard. 

Another consideration is the risk of Wrist Extension that is caused by tenting the Fixed Split Keyboard and failing to provide a Palm Support to prevent the wrists from 'dropping' off the now more significant vertical profile.

Fixed Split Keyboards are also not compatible with all other ergonomic devices.  For example, no Central Pointing Devices will function in conjunction with a Fixed Split Keyboard.  It can also be a consideration for certain types of Writing Surfaces.

Fixed Split Keyboards help to reduce awkward postures at the wrist but suffer from a lack of customization.  Depending upon the personal Anthropometrics of an individual, when one attempts to address issues at the wrist, it may create new problems at the elbow or shoulder.  In these cases, an Adjustable Keyboard or Separated Keyboard may provide the answer.

For What Types of Tasks / Users are Fixed Split Keyboards Suitable? 

While individuals of all levels of keyboarding skill are suitable potential users of Fixed Split Keyboards, the split inherent in this type of keyboard will force users to become better typists as they will find it almost impossible to type letters on the left half of the keyboard with their right hand, and vice versa.  In this sense, Fixed Split Keyboards may assist hunt-and-peck typists along the road to becoming touch typists.

What Physical Injuries or Conditions Typically Benefit from Fixed Split Keyboards?

Fixed Split Keyboards can be of some benefit to users including individuals with wrist conditions such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Guyon's Canal Syndrome.



Last edited December 9th, 2013

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