Keyboard.io trackball?

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).

https://asylum.madhouse-project.org/blog/2022/10/06/trackball-musings

Which itself was a reply to @jesse’s twit and the thread that followed there:

Since 1) not all of us are on twitter and 2) this is the official forum, I thought it would be great to have the discussion here.

That said, I never used a trackball for any serious amount of time, but am intrigued and warming up to the idea as a happy Model 01 owner.

So this post is just to kick-start the discussion here. I’m sure quite a few people here have experience, preferences and ideas to share :slight_smile:

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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.

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Me too I use a ploopy. The finger ball for me is where it’s at use my thumbs too much my phone.

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For me, as someone who would still need to move to a trackball, the biggest concerns are:

  • enough programmable buttons – for certain buttons and button combos I have certain desktop-relevant short-cuts
  • preferably easy to program – I’m currently very happy with Roccat Tools (Linux) for my Roccat Kone Pure mouse
  • ergonomics – seems silly to use a trackball, if it’s not actually more comfortable to use
  • sound and smoothness of the ball bearings – some can apparently be very loud and weird to use; different options in ball bearings might be a good idea too
  • easy to repair and mod (e.g. different switches, casings, etc.) preferably OSHW
  • (preferably wood casing)
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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.

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I’d certainly be interested in a trackball. Using a vertical mouse at the moment which is pretty good, but have been contemplating a track ball again after a lot of years of not using one.

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I’ve been using trackballs for decades, a Kensington Expert Mouse (wired) is sitting in between the two halves of my Model 100 right now, slightly raised by a small box.

I’ve always used large-ball, finger trackballs, because I need to avoid messing up my thumbs. I don’t understand how people can tolerate, much less like, thumb trackballs. I won’t be caught near one.

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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.

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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
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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.

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This software is awesome! I used my trackballs with “BetterTouchTool”, which does have some nice features, but not “Chords” - this brings it to a totally new level!

For testing I also have a ploopy thumb here (it is nice, but the quality of the buttons leaves room for improvement) where I installed a custom Version of QMK to have “chords”.

Thanks for the hint!

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