One of many main causes for the rising recognition of mechanical keyboards is improved ergonomics. Even with a traditional keyboard format, the predictable tactile suggestions of a mechanical key change can enhance typing consolation. In an identical vein, trackball mice can assist scale back the repetitive stress accidents (RSI) related to the unnatural motion required to function a regular mouse. It’s anecdotal, however my points with tendonitis disappeared after I switched to mechanical keyboards and trackball mice years in the past. I assume that Redditor tenstaana would agree, as a result of they constructed a customized mechanical keyboard that includes a trackball.
This keyboard does look fairly unusual, however its design is the results of ergonomic performance coming earlier than aesthetic preferences. A neat, orderly grid of keys could also be pleasing to the attention and straightforward to fabricate, however it doesn’t go well with the pure resting positions or motion of human fingers. The pressure of holding one’s fingers in an unnatural place and the pressure of lateral finger motion is what causes tendonitis and even carpal tunnel syndrome. The format that tenstaana selected is a extra aggressive evolution of keyboard layouts like that of the favored Microsoft Ergonomic 4000. It retains typist’s fingers and fingers in a cushty place, which is additional enhanced by the mechanical key switches and built-in trackball mouse.
Every thing about this keyboard is customized, right down to the massive PCB that features a Raspberry Pi RP2040 microcontroller. To account for the comparatively small variety of I/O pins, the PCB makes use of a shift registers to watch the keys as an alternative of a typical keyboard matrix. That additionally fully eliminates points like ghosting. An optical sensor displays the motion of the trackball and a big scroll ring surrounds that ball. The PCB additionally helps different controls rather than the trackball, together with a joystick. Each key change has its personal RGB backlight LED. A TFT display above the trackball reveals the present configuration, layer, and so forth. It even has haptic suggestions.
All of that matches within a phenomenal aluminum case that tenstaana designed to be lower on a CNC machine. The plan is to launch the subsequent revision as an open supply undertaking, so keep tuned for that.