Setting Up for Ergonomics

Both the Model 01 and Model 100 are ergonomic keyboards. That is, their design lets them to be used comfortably, and without stress injuries. They do so in two ways: by the positioning of the hardware, and by keeping the hands on the keyboard as much as possible and off the mouse, which is notoriously unergonomic.
By contrast, the Atreus is designed mainly for portability with a laptop. That said, it still has more ergonomic features than any keyboard built into a laptop.
Regardless of how you set up the Model 01 or Model 100, the arrangement of the keys is designed to reduce how far the fingers move, and to make movement from key to key easier. These goals are reached in numerous ways:

• Dvorak and Colemak key caps and layouts are available. Both a

re said to be more ergonomic than the more popular QWERTY layout.

• The keyboard does not have separate function keys, arrow keys, or number pad, reducing the keyboard’s length by a third. Instead, these features are accessed by pressing the fun (function keys) plus another key. For example, the first ten numbered function keys are used by pressing a fun key plus a number key. Similarly, fun plus h, j, k, and l give the arrow keys.

• Little used keys like Insert or Home are not present by default, although you can add them if you want.

• The rows of keys are curved, and therefore closer together.

• Each key is sculpted to guide fingers from key to key.

• The thumb clusters and function keys  below the regular keys mean that important keys can be pressed by the thumbs, the strongest and most flexible digits. 

Other ergonomic features:

• One of the center bars for joining the two halves is angled, so that it tents – that is, it positions the inner edges higher than the outer edges. Tenting puts your hands in a more relaxed position.

• Using the longer connecting cable, the two halves can be placed so that your arms are in a straight line with your shoulder. This position reduces the tendency to slouch forward and hold your arms close to your body which is encouraged by most keyboards.  Plus, you can use the space that separates the two halves for the mouse or a macropad, both which add to the ergonomic features.

• The pairs of stands available for purchase on the Keyboardio website can be turned to tent each half, or give negative tilting (the placement of the side of each half that is closest to you higher than the sides farthest away. Negative tilting makes your fingers move more easily. In some positions, the stands  do not have all legs flat, but just keep turning them until they are in a comfortable position. However, as you experiment, periodically check the screws that hold the stands in place to be sure that they neither tighten nor loosen. Only tighten the screws when you have found a position you want to use. Note, too, that the two haves are easiest to adjust separately. When the halves are joined, they can get in each other’s way.

• Because key switches are easily swapped, you can choose ones that require less pressure to depress and are quick to be ready for their next use. The differences between switches are small, but quickly add up during long typing sessions (see “Swapping and Modifying keys caps and key switches”).

• What each key does can be customized. Characters or actions can be moved to where they are more comfortable, and you can reduce the number of keystrokes required for each action, keeping your hands on the keyboard and away from the mouse.

These last two ergonomic features are also available with the Atreus.
The cases have space to rest your wrists. However, this position can be unergonomic, and you are better off adjusting your workstations so that your fingers are suspended over the keys. This is the position touch typists use. If your arms tire in this position, you can adjust your chair so that they are higher than the keyboard and your elbows rest on its arms support your elbows.

Experiment with these features, and experiment with different positions. You should also experiment with your posture and the height of both your chair and your keyboard. When you find the combination of features that works best for you, you will probably experience a gradual reduction or even a curing of repetitive stress injuries.

You might also investigate ergonomic chairs with lower back support and ergonomic alternatives to the mouse, such as a track ball or an artist tablet with a stylus.