Microsoft shows the Windows 8-enabled Sculpt Comfort Keyboard, which joins a growing number of peripherals expected at delivering a healthy computing practice.

Today, Microsoft Hardware announced the newest member of its ergonomic lineup, the Windows 8-enabled Sculpt Comfort Keyboard. The keyboard includes a number of ergonomic structures designed for extreme efficiency and comfort, including a contoured layout, a removable padded palm rest, and a split backspace key with spacebar key.

Sculpt Comfort Keyboard

The Windows 8-enabled Sculpt Comfort Keyboard combines innovative ergonomics such as the Contour Curve key layout and padded palm rest to encourage a more natural positioning of your body. It comes with Microsoft’s first split spacebar with backspace functionality.

Sculpt Mobile Keyboard

The Sculpt Mobile keyboard balances ease, efficiency and movability. At less than three-quarters of an inch thick, it slips easily into a bag or briefcase. The keyboard features the Comfort Curve layout designed with a slight bend in the keyset, which helps encourage a more natural typing posture.

Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard 5000

The Microsoft Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard 5000 makes it easy to take a keyboard with you that is easy to use and doesn’t impact efficiency. It has a Comfort Curve layout that boosts natural posture.

Wireless Comfort Desktop 5000

The curvaceous keyboard design demands to more than your eyes, inspiring you to use a more natural posture that aligns your arms, wrists and hands for greater ease with its ergonomist-approved Comfort Curve design.

Comfort Curve Keyboard 3000

The Comfort Curve keyboard is designed with a slight 6-degree angle in the keyset. This curvature helps to encourage a more natural arm and wrist posture, providing greater ease throughout long use.

Natural Ergonomic Desktop 7000

Microsoft’s Natural line of keyboards – the Natural Ergonomic Desktop 7000 (shown here) and the Natural Ergonomic Desktop 4000 – significantly decrease carpal tunnel disease indications. They also reduce difficult posture, one of the primary risk factors associated with common workplace harms.

Wedge Touch Mouse

Microsoft’s entire Touch range of mice (the Wedge Touch Mouse is shown here) share the same slope on their touch strip – 23 degrees – which the designers found was the ideal slope for both ease and fluid touch scrolling.

The Sculpt Comfort Keyboard is part of Microsoft Hardware’s ongoing energies to keep its customers relaxed as they spend ever-increasing hours on their computers, says Suneel Goud, senior product marketing manager in Microsoft Hardware.

“At the end of the day, we want our customers to have a great computing experience,” Goud says. “And that comes from both the software experience and the hardware peripherals used to interface with the computer. Our lineup of keyboards and mice are designed to keep our customers comfortable and to keep them healthy by helping to reduce the risks associated with repetitive stress injuries.”

For businesses, ergonomics can have big economic implications. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration estimates that RSIs cost employers US$15-20 billion a year, with employees missing an average of 12 days of work and making US$38,500 in worker’s comp claims.

Goud encourages everyone to take a look at Microsoft Hardware’s ergonomic lineup and create a comfortable workstation for themselves. Certified ergonomists help design, test and approve peripherals from Microsoft Hardware, and the Sculpt Comfort Keyboard reflects a vast body of research. For example, it’s the first Microsoft keyboard to feature a split backspace-spacebar key. Internal research at Microsoft shows that more than 90 percent of people hit the spacebar with their right thumb, leaving the left side virtually untouched. (Go ahead, look at your keyboard – you’ll probably notice a shiny spot on the right-hand side where your thumb strikes.) That’s a lot of wasted real estate.

At the same time, the backspace key is the third-most used on the keyboard – perhaps a comment on our collective typing skills – trailing only the spacebar itself and the letter ‘e.’ These statistics led Microsoft to split the spacebar and add optional backspace functionality into the left-hand side. The result aims to improve both ergonomics and typing efficiency.

(If all that change is overwhelming, don’t worry. The default mode is the standard keyboard set up we’ve used for years; customers must activate the split functionality.)

Microsoft also increased the actual size of the space bar, making it easier to strike, since it’s the most frequently used key; included a palm lift to straighten and support wrists; and added Windows 8 hot keys so customers can quickly search, share, access device settings and more with the tap of a finger.

Goud notes that RSIs are often the accumulation of smaller injuries, and people often neglect the warning signs. He speaks from experience. When Goud first joined Microsoft on the U.S. Retail team, he noticed carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms. He ignored them for a while, then started taking frequent breaks. Finally he picked up the Microsoft Natural Desktop Ergonomic 7000 keyboard.

via Microsoft News Center

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