Just found again this very quick clumsy mock-up I had made back in March after the 16 announcement, of a small module for a trackpoint, so I thought I could share it there — also to start a conversation for a trackpoint module, or some other kind of add-on, for the 16.
This also includes split keyboard modules (do not look too closely), albeit in a size that would be between medium and large (unless it could be done with 4 small modules).
I love this concept, both because the trackpoint and the physical buttons would be nice, but also because of the improved ergonomics of a split keyboard on a larger chassis like this. I know I’d pay a pretty penny for something like this if framework ever goes down this route. I’d also build a kit for something like this if the community can figure it out, though I don’t know how well that would work with precision sensitive components like membrane keyboards…
I know that I would buy what I see there in an instant if it came like that. Ortho and a trackpoint? Take my money.
I’ve never used an ortholinear keyboard before. Are they easy to adjust to? Is there any non-visual benefit to them?
Regardless, I’d adjust to it for this
@JRLarsen I’ve got some custom ortholinear keyboards I’ve used quite a bit, and I like them because it feels like a more even typing experience. For example, you don’t have the big reach to hit “b” or “6” like on a staggered board. A split spacebar like on the shown layout also allows you to put a frequent key like shift (or backspace if you aren’t a very accurate typist like me :D) under one of your strong thumbs rather than the weak pinky. With that said, I haven’t actually seen any proper trials done to suggest they reduce the risk of injury or strain despite doing a bit of looking around… I’d be happy to be proved wrong though.
They also have some downsides in some use cases. For example, if you are gaming using wasd, it is very difficult to press “2” while holding “w” compared to a staggered keyboard.
As for adjusting to them, it took me maybe a week or two to get used to it and get back to my normal typing speed (a modest 80wpm for reference). Then maybe another month or two before I could comfortably switch between staggered and ortho without missing keys regularly (I still type on a staggered keyboard on my laptop). I don’t think it is something that should be default on any sort of mass market device, but I’m sure there is a reasonably large community of keyboard geeks who would shell out for something niche like this if it was available.
Mainly, I like the idea of a split keyboard because they definitely improve ergonomics by reducing the rotation of your wrists.
I don’t think that would be comfortable to use cause of the big distance between the trackpoint you would have to stretch your finger, not to mention the mouse buttons are too high up, it would be one thing if you are using trackpoint only but you’ll lose the ability to seamlessly type and use the trackpoint. Why not move some keys to the center module at the very least?
For even better ergonomics, you could angle the split in a /\ way.
The halves could be more close together for the shortest finger travel to the trackpoint possible.
Optimal would be a near<->far movable trackpoint to adjust to the optimal spot for individual hands – likely the place where two arcs would intersect that center at the place where the hand rests and have the radius of relaxed index finger position from there (don’t know how to better express that short of a diagram).
Such a build could easily find a market in RSI plagued and might even be health insurance reimbursable in some countries (with an unknown amount of paperwork…). Crowdsourcing-?