Bad keyboard design has been a bugbear for many office workers all over the world. With many of us spending up to eight hours a day using large, cumbersome keyboards complaints of aching wrists and lower arms are far too common place.
Harrowing figures from the U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), reveal that repetitive strain injuries are the nation’s most common and costly occupational health problem. RSI affects hundreds of thousands of American workers, and costs over $20 billion a year in workers compensation.
In the UK it’s been reported that 500,000 workers report a repetitive strain injury with a collective loss of 5.4 million working days lost due to sick leave in one year. For those badly affected approximately 6 workers leave their job every day due to an insurmountable repetitive strain injury.
Up until quite recently it appeared that there was very little that could be done to avoid this growing problem. After all, using a dictation program instead of inputting text via keyboard and mouse is hardly a viable solution when you’re working in a loud and busy office space. However, there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon. The designers at Bakker Elkhuizen have devised an elegantly simple and yet inspired solution in the form of the UltraBoard 950 compact keyboard.
Offering all of the functionality of a traditional keyboard, the UltraBoard 950 has one notable difference. It’s designers have done away with the keyboard’s traditional numeric keypad. After all, the numeric keypad contributes a significant percentage to the size of the keyboard and, yet, is only used by some 10 per cent of all keyboard owners. The result: a stylish compact and highly practical keyboard which allows you to place your mouse closer to your body, so you won’t have to reach as far to use it. And, by keeping your arms alongside your body, the all-too familiar sensations of aching wrists, arms, shoulders and neck virtually disappear. Genius.
When we first heard of the UltraBoard 950 we were mildly sceptical at its ground breaking claims. However, after 10 days straight of only using the UltraBoard to work with, we were converted. By doing away with the numeric keyboard, the UltraBoard is also noticeably more portable. So carrying it around with a laptop is an effortless experience. My desk was less cluttered because of the space I was saving by using a compact keyboard and, more importantly, after 8 hours infront of the screen I felt no discomfort whatsoever in my wrists, arms, shoulders or neck. While typing I was able to improve my ergonomic posture by adopting a neutral position. All of this because I didn’t have to reach as far for the mouse. Excellent.
On a side note, the UltraBoard also offers two handy USB ports on either side of the keyboard. This again improved my work rate by having USB sticks close at hand rather than having to stretch and plug and unplug them from the back of the computer. Priced at just under £80, the UltraBoard 950 could be the most cost effective purchase you’ll make for your office and your health. Go Buy.
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Kizzi Nkwocha is the editor of Business Game Changer Magazine and publisher of The UK Newspaper, Money and Finance Magazine, the net’s fastest growing wealth creation publication. Kizzi Nkwocha is chair of The Ethical Publishers Association and co-chair of The Logistics Association. Kizzi made his mark in the UK as a publicist, journalist and social media pioneer. As a widely respected and successful media consultant he has represented a diverse range of clients including the King of Uganda, and Amnesty International. Nkwocha has also become a well-known personality on both radio and television. He has been the focus of a Channel 4 documentary on publicity and has hosted his own talk show, London Line, on Sky TV. He has also produced and presented both radio and TV shows in Cyprus and Spain.