The Evolution of the Keyboard

The basic design of today's computer keyboard, a set of keys grouped along a horizontal plane, was first introduced over 130 years ago as part of a heavy, desk-bound, mechanical typewriter.

When sitting at a desk, knowledge workers can achieve typing speeds of 50 to 100 words per minute or more using a keyboard. And faster typing means greater productivity. Many people, however, would like to use computers without having to sit at their desks to do so.

Prior to the invention of the typewriter and touch typing in 1867, the average speed with which people could record their thoughts was approximately 10 words per minute using a quill pen. Today, computers come in all shapes and sizes and can be used, and are needed, in multiple environments.

Yet, despite advances in the power and capabilities of portable computers, the speed of data entry on miniature keys or with a pen-like stylus reverts back to pre-1867 levels.

For modern-day computing, the keyboard is deficient in a number of important areas:

A. Inflexible - The keyboard was originally intended to be used only on a desk. It is awkward and uncomfortable to use a keyboard in situations such as leaning back away from your desk, sitting on a couch, recliner, bed or floor, sitting in a plane, train, bus or car. It is also difficult to use a portable computer while standing or walking around because fast data entry on a keyboard requires that it be supported by a flat surface. And if the keyboard is shrunk along with the computer, the keys become too small to allow touch typing or even fast hunting and pecking, thus greatly restricting a user's productivity.

B. Unhealthy - It is argued that extensive keyboard use can cause repetitive stress injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome as well as back, neck and shoulder problems.

C. Inefficient - It is so difficult to learn how to touch type on a QWERTY keyboard that the majority of people who take touch typing courses revert to hunting and pecking. And even those who do touch type do so with a letter layout that was specifically designed to slow down typing so the first mechanical typewriter keys wouldn't jam.

The QWERTY keyboard has not been replaced because most alternatives, such as the Dvorak keyboard, do not offer enough benefits to convince people to switch. It is argued the Dvorak lets you type faster, but you still have to be seated at a desk to do so. The AlphaGrip has many benefits, a major one being that it allows users to type quickly and comfortably while away from a desk.

Additionally, once you grasp the AlphaGrip, your fingers naturally fall on all the buttons necessary to generate all the major characters. Thus, there is no "pecking" on an AlphaGrip - there is only touch typing.

The AlphaGrip, which looks and feels like a futuristic game controller, yet has all the functionality of keyboard, overcomes many of the deficiencies of the standard keyboard. It can benefit society in the areas of productivity and public health by enabling high speed data entry while away from a desk and by allowing users to position their hands and bodies more comfortably while typing.

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