We addressed computer ergonomics today in physical therapy. I am of course a mess. The hardest part of all of this is how tightly the convenience of a laptop is intertwined into my life.. My early feelings on the matter are that I’m going to have have to set up my desk at home and any office I work for more than a day or two. It’s vaguely depressing to drag around a split keyboard and stand everywhere I go but I keep reminding myself it beats surgery..
Here’s an example of what she recommended:
Basically: sit back in a chair with lumbar support. It should push your shoulders back. Your knees should be 90 degrees, your ankles should be 90 degrees. Your chair should of course be high enough to allow your knees to be 90 degrees. The top of the monitor should be level with your forehead. Your arms should be at your sides, 90-100 degree bend in your elbows, wrists neutral. My PT says you usually want a keyboard tray to place the keyboard at the right height but in my case I may be able to get away without one because I’m tall enough to reach the keyboard on a table and maintain a neutral wrist position. Hands should bend in naturally.. You want a keyboard that takes minimal finger effort to type on. You should use as little force as possible while typing.
What this means for a traveling laptop user is a portable notebook stand and a split keyboard:
You can buy them both at goldtouch.com but their return policy is draconian and I have never seen either in person.
Yes, that’s a Mac keyboard.. draw your own conclusions. No, it hasn’t arrived yet.
A conventional mouse is fine.. so I’m just going to carry one of of the dozen or so Dell mice hanging in my closet.. eventually I’ll pick up a bluetooth mouse.
Traditional molded ergonomic keyboards are apparently bad: they’re one size fits all, ie don’t allow adjustment. Keyboards that tilt toward you are bad. If a keyboard has feet you’re better off folding them down and laying it flat.
I find it surprising that no one makes a bluetooth split keyboard. Goldtouch will have a travel split keyboard in February: http://www.goldtouch.com/p-139-goldtouch-go-travel-keyboard.aspx