ErgoDox EZ keyboard blends ergonomics, mechanical switches

Two criticisms are sometimes made about today’s standard computer keyboards. One is that they don’t offer much comfort while typing. The other knock is that the lack of an audible clicking noise when a key is struck can sometimes lead to less accurate typing.

The ErgoDox EZ keyboard addresses both of these issues. The keyboard itself is split in half, allowing each side to be placed at a slight distance from each other or angled to provide greater comfort to the user. The design, its maker says, can therefore help prevent issues such as carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive stress caused from typing. Because the product is a mechanical keyboard, it has individual switches under each key which promises to make for a more accurate and faster typing experience.

The keyboard follows the existing ErgoDox, which has only been available as part of a kit that buyers have to assemble on their own. The EZ version will cost $250 and is slated to ship in December. Its maker is hoping to raise $50,000 by April 25.

The ErgoDox EZ keyboard holds promise for fans of mechanical keyboards. The split design is a nice feature already available in rival products such as the Kinesis Freestyle 2. Another appealing feature is the programmable functionality of the key layout, but it’s not clear from the product’s Indiegogo campaign just how simple that will be for users.


BeeRaider keyboard alternative stirs up buzz with efficiency improvements

In banging away on a daily keyboard, it’s easy to forget that the QWERTY keyboard isn’t the most ergonomic or efficient keyboard layout.

patent-claimedThis is the core message the folks behind the BeeRaider keyboard are championing. The QWERTY keyboard, believe it or not, was designed to slow typing down as a means to prevent typewriter jams. Consequently, BeeRaider claims that the QWERTY keyboard layout simply isn’t cut out for the modern demands of heavy data entry. BeeRaider’s alternative wireless keyboard is radially shaped, a design chosen because it lessens the distance between keys. As a result, the company claims that the shape of its keyboard and the more logical arrangement of the most used letters in the English language results results in a keyboard that can be comfortably used with either one or two hands.

What’s more, BeeRaider claims that its keyboard layout can be memorized in just 10-20 minutes. This type of keyboard design philosophy was first demonstrated on Android smartphones and tablets. BeeRaider’s first physical product will be English only and is set to be delivered in either Q1 or Q2 of 2015. A BeeRaider can be had in either a changeable QWERTY or Optimized model for $104.99 or $112.49.

Even though the QWERTY design is without mainstream rival today, that hasn’t stopped a smattering of companies from coming up with intriguing challenges. If its clai ms regarding increased memorization, speed, and accuracy are to be believed, its learning curve may be worth it, but inertia will likely keep the traditional layout as the dominant one for the foreseeable future.


Back to the Backers: Mükava ergonomic table

Backerjack covered the ergonomic table, Mükava, back in September. Although it was unsuccessful in reaching its goal on Kickstarter, the brains behind Mükava, Tom Keenan, decided to try another tactic. He set up a campaign on Indiegogo with a low goal, 1% of his original $50,000 campaign. Asking backers for only $500, Keenan found success on Indiegogo. Now, he’s moved back to Kickstarter with the same small goal.

Mükava is an ergonomic table aimed at making reading books, tablets, phones, magazines or whatever else easier. The table has an adjustable angle and height, making it easier to read in bed or wherever else. Devices stick to the surface made of a special material and it comes equipped with book holders for this old-fashioned medium. In addition, Mükava has USB ports for charging, an LED light and even Document Pebbles to attach documents.

Mükava is versatile to be sure, but looks a little bit like it belongs in a hospital. Still, its many uses span both the home and office. Keenan hasn’t changed the table at all since the original campaign. Backers can have their very own for a $225 donation for estimated delivery in April 2015. It’s clear that backers like this product because they’re still ordering it and if Keenan can keep those goals low, he’s certain to have success for Mükava. Don’t give up, Keenan!


Tiny Swiftpoint GT mouse offers touchscreen gestures without screen touching

The introduction of the touch-centric Windows 8 and the impending advent of its big brother, Windows 10, have given manufacturers headaches in trying to figure out how to best design a computing system comfortable enough to take advantage of their features. Trying to reign its many tiles along with getting the start menu under control with an ordinary mouse just doesn’t cut it. Although trackpads have fared OK, even touchscreen laptop combinations have come up short.

The Swiftpoint GT is a extremely compact mouse with the ability to use natural touch gestures in a non-touch environment. Its ergonomic design has a point-and-click mode with which all the standard mouse functions are available, but the magic begins with a light press of toggle at its front. A comfortable pen-like grip facilitates natural touch screen gestures like scrolling and flicking with natural motions of the wrist, so as to avoid the dreaded crab claw that results from long periods of mouse use.

It sports a Bluetooth LE connection for up to several weeks use, and a separate USB dongle should the computer it’s used with not be equipped with it which doubles as its rapid charger: just 30 seconds of charging time gives user one hour of use. The Swiftpoint GT goes for $93 and should the campaign reach its $25,000 goal, backers should receive their very own December 2014.

The Swiftpoint GT can also be used with an iPad or Android device as well, but the former exists only more as a portal to Windows than anything else. In addition, learning an entirely new manner of input may actually might make using Windows more difficult for some, especially since left-handed users are left out in the cold. Still, the Swiftpoint GT seems like a must have for Windows users who can grasp its benefits, and probably is a bit easier to swallow than the ThumbTrack — fellow hardware manufacturers should take note.

Tech Accessories

Easel comes together to make your laptop keyboard a bit more comfortable

The name laptop is given to computers that can theoretically be held in one’s lap, if one’s lap were in a heat-resistant suit and not capable of being burned. EASEL is a pair of magnetic legs for the bottom of a laptop, making it a comfortable fit on any flat surface. The EASEL lifts the laptop up and angles it forward, making it more comfortable on eyes, necks, and wrists. The added bonus to this is that it creates a space for airflow beneath the laptop that will let heat out as needed.

Because EASEL has just the two legs that can be adjusted to fit any width of laptop, it’s a snap to remove from the laptop. Then, the magnetism of the legs makes them click together when nearby, meaning users won’t wind up losing only one leg and can easily tuck them into a laptop bag. Designed by Arizona inventor Jordan Mummert, EASEL is going to take $7,200 to buy materials and handle shipping. For $36, they can be placed under the buyer’s laptop in November 2014. These laptop legs are beginning to become easier to find, but if those that like the aesthetic, simplicity, and magnetism of EASEL can easily get stuck on this product.

Tablet Accessories Tech Accessories

Mükava table covers any angle to prop up your laptop or tablet

editors-choiceThe Premise. The aches and pains associated with the fine pleasures of reading from a newspaper, a book, or — more recently, smartphones and tablets — a problem as old as time. The stopgaps we employ to read or surf just a few more pages aren’t very helpful either: laying on your side or even turning upside down can offer temporary comfort but eventually that soreness will return, making it difficult to enjoy devices or books for long periods at a time.

The Product. Tom Keenan’s Mükava Table aims to alleviate that discomfort, ergonomically facilitating the reading of books, magazines, documents, and devices in a home or office setting. It does this either with its Mükava Pads, which allow any device to be attached and swapped no matter the size, or its tucked away book bands to hold up everything else. The product has a few more tricks up its sleeves, too. Located neatly behind it are two USB ports to charge devices, Document Pebbles to attach documents, and a removable USB light for reading without ambient light. The table is versatile enough to be placed in any room while sleek enough to double as a side table when not in use. The campaign also includes their Mükava for Monitor Arm, which fits onto any standard monitor arm with a VISA plate for those places where the full stand isn’t convenient.

The Pitch. The company behind the idea, The Project for Adult Literacy and Schools, LLC, bills itself as a social enterprise looking to donate 10% of every product sold to charities that support their causes. It does a great job in clearly detailing all of Mükava’s strengths as a product with just enough textual information accompanied by bright, clear pictures and informative GIFs. Altogether, the skillful use of mediums paints an easy-to-understand picture of what the product can do. As such, their campaign will go a long way in convincing potential backers to contribute towards their $50,000 goal.

The Perks. Pledging $260 can get you a Mükava in either birch or white, while splurging $300 can net you a premium version in brushed stainless steel. If the entire Mükava is excessive for your setup, a $100 pledge can get you a Mükava for Monitor Arm instead.

The Potential. The Mükava is a stunner. Its smooth lines and versatile nature make it a tempting product for anyone. The Mükava Pad is a standout feature, allowing past and future devices to be attached without worry of ever being outdated. Its price, though, makes a possible purchase a bit harder to swallow considering you could buy a much cheaper case or a stand, even if it probably wouldn’t look as good nor have nearly as much utility.