Through @algernon’s excellent blog post, I noticed that Keyboardio may be making a trackball. This sounds quite logical given that Model 01 and 100 can be used as a split keyboard, where a trackball in the middle sounds like a logical solution (especially a symmetric/ambidextrous one).
I’d be very interested in this. I’ve been using Kensington trackball for years now (Expert Mouse Wireless and Slimblade) and am a happy user. However, I’d be curious to hear more about a trackball design that’s designed to fit in the split keyboard(esp. keyboardio) ergonomics.
I am actually using several Trackballs and I can only aggree to all things @hook said.
But I use thumb trackballs, not the ones “driven” with your index and/or middle finger. I think, the thumb ones are more comfortable to use - if I wanted to move my Indexfinger around, which also might cause wrist movement, I can just use a trackpad and have tons of guestures to choose from.
So, that said, for me it would have to be a thumb driven one like the Ploopy Thumb. But with more, better and more ergonomic buttons.
I’ve been using a Logitech M570 trackball full-time, for the last 9 years. It’s brilliant, with a battery life of about 1.5 - 2 years on one AA battery (it’s crazy!). It’s only for right-handed people though - but that is the majority of the world.
I would love to see what they come up with, but it would be hard to beat the M570. Not even Logitech’s newer trackball model beats the M570! Some M570 plus points:
Very nice fit in my hand. Larger than most mice, and slightly slanted
Very very long battery life
Has a buit-in dongle holder for when you travel with it.
I use the original packaging (plastic) as a dust cover - very useful it keeping the ball clean for longer
Ball is easy to pop out and clean - yet not so loose that it will simply fall out when held upside down.
Very well priced
This thing has saved my wrists - no more pain, like I experienced when I still used a traditional mouse, or a trackball that doesn’t use the thumb.
haha sad that most ppl seem to like finger scroll trackballs. i’ve been using thumb ones, so i guess i probably won’t be able to appreciate this upcoming trackball
current choice is the elecom ex-g pro
I like it for the high number of buttons and ability to go either wired or wireless, although i prefer wired
also for mac users, there’s this amazing mousing software called SteerMouse that allows all the customisation you’ll ever need in a mouse/trackball, there’s all the usual stuff like custom button assignment and macros but there are 2 features i particularly like that i don’t see often in other mouse software
Chords - you assign one or more keys to work as a layer shift key on your mouse to give you access to even more button assignments
Assign a button to go into scroll mode - so when you press that mouse button, your trackball doesn’t move the cursor but instead scrolls the page in the direction you move the ball
I am a big a fan of large trackballs like the Kensington expert mouse pro - the best part of the ergonomics for me is that the trackball stays in one place relative to the keyboard. Also nice is having extra buttons to program for things like bringing up a new browser window.
I chose the K100 because I am a woodworker (well aspiring woodworker) and so love that it is made from actual wood. I got the “octopus” stands with my keyboard, but they don’t give me the exact amount of tenting and negative tilt I am looking for. However the same threaded holes the stands use can be used to attach the keyboard halves to a wooden platform I can build myself out of a block of walnut to give me the exact tent, tilt and separation that is ideal for me. The center section of the platform between the two keyboards will be flush with the top surface of the keyboards so I could just slide my hand to the center area between the keyboard halves where I was thinking that I would put some type of trackpad or trackpointer so I wouldn’t have to take my hands off the keyboard to reach for a mouse.
I hadn’t thought of integrating a trackball, but that could actually be ideal. The easiest would be to just create a pocket that a trackball like the Kensington SlimBlade Trackball Mouse could set in to make it flush with the surface of the platform.
But for a real challenge to make it look totally custom, it would fun to integrate the Ploopy Nano into the platform with a pocket for the trackball carved into the wood. The circuit board would be mounted into the bottom of the platform with a hole in the bottom of the trackball pocket for the optical sensor to see the trackball. I’m new to keyboards where the keys can be remapped, so I am not sure how to implement the right and left selection buttons. It could be as simple as adding a layer where on the left keyboard the fn+cmd is mapped to the left mouse button and fn+shift for the right mouse button to allow the “buttons” to be pressed with the left hand while the right thumb or index finger moves the trackball (or fn+shift for the left button and fn+alt for the right on the right keyboard for left handed folks).