One cause of carpal tunnel injury is the travel distance required to reach the keys not in the home row. The DataHand reduces travel distance by 90%. Your hands are always in the home row, even when using the mouse. Each key requires about a half inch of finger movement from the home position, and because your hand is resting comfortably on the palm rest, there is virtually no strain on the carpal tunnel muscles.
On a generic keyboard the only motion you can do is to press down, over and over, contributing to carpal tunnel fatigue. Even so-called ergonomic keyboards still force you to pound the keys. In contrast, the DataHand requires a variety of motions from the fingers. Five different motions are used: North and South, East and West, and down, rather than repeating the same downward motion. The varied motions are less repetitive, shorter, gentler, and less stressful. If you have a repetitive stress injury like carpal tunnel syndrome this product can offer you more comfort, less stress, and lower chance of additional injury or re-injury. And it can help you regain the efficiency and speed that you had before your injury. In fact, many users report an increase in their efficiency after learning and using the DataHand for a short time.
The DataHand is the most adjustable input device on the market. It is totally ergonomic, which means that it totally adjusts to the needs of the user. The revolutionary design is adjustable on every plane. While other devices require excessive finger and hand movements to find most of the keys, this one places all the keys within a short reach of the fingertips. Unlike other products, the Data Hand can be adjusted to the right distance between your hands. The two hand modules can be positioned for the comfort of virtually any user. Simply place the two modules at the distance that feels most comfortable for you. In addition to distance each unit can be rotated to any angle. Rotate the pieces until your hands and arms are comfortable. The distance and rotation adjustment alone makes this device more ergonomic than any other commercially available keyboard… and there’s more.
The DataHand palm pads are designed to support your palms so that the fingers are positioned on the key switches with virtually no effort required to hold the hand in place. There are two sizes of palm pads available, small and large. Unlike the Data Hand, other economic and generic keyboards only partially support the palm.
The DH can also be adjusted for the length of your fingers. The key switches can be raised or lowered by adjusting the wheel on the side of each unit. The reach adjustment can be moved toward or away from the palm rest. After adjustment your fingers should lie comfortably on the keys while your palms set on the palm rests. Remember, the key switches should be directly under your fingertips when your hand is resting on the palm rest. You may want to experiment a little bit with the settings to find the most comfortable position for you.
Some users like to work on the provided LapLander, shipped with each order. The unit can also be placed on a desk or conventional keyboard tray. Another option is to place each module of the DataHand on the arms of a specially designed ergonomic office chair. Some users place the two hand units as much as 3 feet apart on opposite arms of the chair. This gives them more ergonomic positions and is more comfortable.
You can see that the distance and rotation adjustment, the size of the palm rest and the versatility of mounting the keyboard enables the DataHand to conform to the preferences of each individual user.
Another cause of carpal tunnel injury is the amount of force needed to strike the keys of a generic keyboard. Unlike other products on the market that use membrane switches for each key, the Data Hand uses patented magnetic switches, switches that require 80% less force than needed on a regular keyboard. On each module there are five sets of key switches. Four finger modules and one thumb module. Each finger module has five keys: down, north, south, east, and west. The finger movement required to activate these keys is as little as 1/2 inch from the home position. The key activation movements are gentle and quick. Each key has a different feel and movement direction. The thumb module also has five keys on each hand. These keys are used for return, shift, backspace, control and alt keys, and for the numbers mode. The template just above the fingers displays the key layout for your visual reference.
Another major cause of repetitive strain injury is poor hand positioning. Other ergonomic computer keyboards change the physical layout in order to address hand position but that only begins to ease the effects of repetitive stress injuries. In fact most ergonomic keyboards incorporate only small, cosmetic changes. The DataHand incorporates and exceeds all the advances of the competitor’s products. You can adjust the angle of the Data Hand to accommodate your body type and comfort zone. The two sizes of palm rests included ensure that your wrist and forearm are supported in the neutral position. You can use the DataHand on your lap by using the LapLander, on a keyboard tray or desktop, or by mounting it on the arms of a computer chair. On the traditional ergonomic keyboard hand position is improved, but the hands must still be held over the keys and there is still a reach required to strike the keys that are not in the home row. The Data Hand eliminates poor hand positioning because it is completely adjustable and it brings all keyboard operations to the fingertips. With this device only the fingers do the work, no hand, arm, or wrist movement is involved. Every function of the device is available from the same hand resting position.
Another contributing factor to RSI is the force required to type or pound the keys on a generic keyboard. In comparison, the amount of force required to activate the keys on a DataHand is 80% less than required on a traditional device. This is because of the Data Hand’s patented magnetic switches. Only a light touch is needed to activate each switch, letting users work gently and quickly.
New units are not currently being sold but it seems used keyboards show up on ebay every so often if you’re looking for one of those.