Mechanical Keyboard and Repetitive Strain Injury

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

Does mechanical keyboard reduce risk of repetitive strain injury? Yes, absolutely. Because the keys on keyboard is the thing that your body's muscle actually interact with the most, more important than hand position (split keyboard), wrist position (keyboard tenting), key position, or the letter position (the letter arrangement). Your hand pressing the keys is the primary interaction. Great key switches, ease this most critical aspect.

Keyboard key switch mechanism has surprising effect on you. It changes your typing habit. Here's a simple story.

On social networks {Google Plus, Google Reader, Twitter, Facebook}, you can press {j, k} keys to go down/up by post. It's nice, but for some reason i just don't like using it. I was using Microsoft Natural 4000. It has rubber dome keys.

now, i'm on Truly Ergonomic Keyboard, it has mechanical keys, and i find that i started to use {j, k} keys for post navigation.

The ease of pressing the keys made a difference.

cherry mx switch tester 66388
Key Switch Tester

[see Keyboard Key Switch Mechanisms]

I have used mechanical switch keyboards before. Earliest is 1991, IBM Model M keyboard that came with IBM PS/2. Used it for half a year. My second one is Matias Tactile keyboard , around 2002. Really nice. I realized the quality in keys just by touch and look, without knowing what “mechanical keyboard” means. Only after 2008 i joined team keyboard freaks.

Key Switch Topic

Typing Habits, Repetitive Strain Injury

Habit, Injury

Mouse Pain

emacs, vi, RSI

Xah Keyboard Guide