Wednesday, September 19th 2012

Microsoft Hardware Debuts Windows 8 Keyboard With Split Backspace-Spacebar Key

Building on its previously announced lineup of Windows 8 hardware peripherals, Microsoft Corp. today introduced the Sculpt Comfort Keyboard, an ergonomic keyboard featuring an enlarged split spacebar with optional backspace functionality that enhances typing efficiency and speed. From its thoughtful design and ergonomic shape to the Windows 8-specific keys, the Sculpt Comfort Keyboard is the perfect Windows 8 desktop companion for productivity and comfort.


Research and Design

With the Sculpt Comfort Keyboard, Microsoft is introducing its first keyboard to feature a split backspace-spacebar key. This design choice is the result of internal research that showed 90 percent of typists use only their right thumb to press the spacebar, leaving a lot of unused real estate on the left side of the bar. Research also showed the backspace key is the third most pressed key on the keyboard - behind the spacebar itself and the letter "e" - but constantly striking backspace breaks a person's typing stride because of its location on the top right-hand corner of the keyboard. In response to these findings, Microsoft made two adjustments to help increase typing efficiency and speed:

● Increased the width of the spacebar to make the bar easier to strike.
● Split the spacebar to make use of the neglected left-hand side as an extra backspace key.

Ergonomics

The Sculpt Comfort Keyboard's advanced ergonomics are the result of many unique design features. In addition to increasing typing efficiency, the keyboard's split spacebar also improves ergonomics by virtually eliminating the awkward "pinky reach" to the standard backspace key, keeping wrists in a comfortable position. The keyboard also sports Microsoft's own Contour Curve design, which features a six-degree bend in the keyboard layout with a dome-shaped arc to help promote a comfortable, neutral wrist position while keeping keys within easy reach. Its removable palm rest can be used for added comfort or easily detached with the press of a button for a sleek, compact look.

Designed by Microsoft, Optimized for Windows

The Sculpt Comfort Keyboard also includes several keys that give customers quick access to the most commonly used Windows 8 features, including Search, Share, Device and Settings hot keys and an updated Windows key. With its wireless USB connectivity, the Sculpt Comfort Keyboard also reduces the unnecessary clutter of wires.

"With Microsoft's new lineup of Windows 8 peripherals, we designed every piece of hardware to provide the best Windows experience possible on any device," said Brett Kelleran, general manager of Microsoft Hardware. "The Sculpt Comfort Keyboard brings the best of Microsoft to the desktop - advanced ergonomics, improved productivity, great design and features optimized for Windows."

The Sculpt Comfort Keyboard will be available soon at the online Microsoft Store and other participating retailers. Estimated retail price is US$59.95.

More information about this and other Microsoft Hardware products can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/hardware.
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19 Comments on Microsoft Hardware Debuts Windows 8 Keyboard With Split Backspace-Spacebar Key

#1
remixedcat
I like my Comfort Curve 3000 keyboard.... Types nice and it's really small and sleek. I use it on a KB drawer and I got lots of room left.
Posted on Reply
#2
neliz
MSI Rep
Compaq used to bundle these keyboards with their professional "DeskPro" line in the late 90's.. they quickly dropped the idea after they found out no one, really no one is educated to use the backspace on that position... Especially those that type with ten fingers.

Even with the supplied software, you could disable the function (so you'd have a split spacebar.)

Guess how many people enjoy hitting the chasm between the spacebars all the time.. exactly.
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#3
eidairaman1
neat idea but they should be able to swap the key from left and right
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#5
STCNE
I use the left side of the spacebar when I type, guess I wouldn't be able to use this board.

Are these wave boards actually more ergonomic than a regular board? To someone who hasn't used them they look like a comfort nightmare. I'd think you'd get a bigger comfort difference switching to mechanical keys, I know that worked for me. There is nothing more uncomfortable than low profile keys IMO. Before I got a mechanical board I was using the keyboard from our 96' Dell.
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#6
remixedcat
They are much better.... this one has little indents in each key that makes you hit it just right. this is much easier for typing long epic posts on than my last KB. I hate how old KBs type. They have small keys and a tiny backspace button. those dell keyboards suck. also they are so loud that someone sleeping a couple rooms over might be an angry bird...
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#7
Octavean
I guess I am one of the 10% of users that only uses the left thumb on the spacebar. I wouldn’t exactly classify myself as left handed but for some reason the left hand has always been dominant with specific tasks that most right-handed people would use their right hand for.

I cant tell from the picture but the split spacebar should be equal distance and one would hope configurable in software.

What I don’t get is why the keyboard has elevation on the front. I’ve only seen elevation of the rear of keyboards.

Basically this keyboard seems more like a gimmick then something that fills a niche but if this is such a good idea then I guess we will start seeing it in onscreen keyboards as well,….such as Windows 8 / Windows RT tablets.
Posted on Reply
#8
Aether
by: Octavean
What I don’t get is why the keyboard has elevation on the front. I’ve only seen elevation of the rear of keyboards..
My thought:
It's elevating one's wrist so that the angle that you rest your hands on the keyboard exerts less strain/pressure on/near your median nerve. This could help reduce the likelihood of swelling in the carpal tunnel thus reducing the likelihood of getting carpal tunnel syndrome.

I am still not a fan of these ergonomic keyboards, I've built up too much finger muscle memory.

I guess I am also included in that 10% that generally use the left thumb/side of the spacebar
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#9
n-ster
Most people I know use both sides, they just use whichever side is easier for what they are typing
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#10
cadaveca
My name is Dave
I don't use backspace? I use the DELETE key?
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#11
micropage7

too bad it has small enter button, why dont they make it bigger
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#13
remixedcat
My MS keyboard has a layout like that... the small enter button doesn't bother me.... a small backspace does... it's how my desk feels around my hand and having that makes it feel better.
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#15
Captain.Abrecan
This keyboard is not for you guys. You are not the target market ;)

This keyboard is for draftsmen & CAD technicians; people who have their right hand on a trackball or space navigator, and their left hand on the keyboard for command line stuff.

I have been waiting a long time for this keyboard.
Posted on Reply
#16
neliz
MSI Rep
by: Captain.Abrecan
I have been waiting a long time for this keyboard.
No need to wait!

Compaq keyboards with Erase-Eaze:

Compaq numbers:
international: 247430-B31
spare part number: 247432-B31

Posted on Reply
#17
entropy13
by: Captain.Abrecan
This keyboard is not for you guys. You are not the target market ;)

This keyboard is for draftsmen & CAD technicians; people who have their right hand on a trackball or space navigator, and their left hand on the keyboard for command line stuff.

I have been waiting a long time for this keyboard.
How small is your hand? I put my hand on my keyboard (roughly around the WASD area, to make it situated near the leftmost portion of the whole keyboard) and my left thumb is already on the rightmost third of the spacebar. And it's not like my hands are bigger than normal.
Posted on Reply
#18
Captain.Abrecan
by: entropy13
How small is your hand? I put my hand on my keyboard (roughly around the WASD area, to make it situated near the leftmost portion of the whole keyboard) and my left thumb is already on the rightmost third of the spacebar. And it's not like my hands are bigger than normal.
Pretty small. When I do that my thumb ends up under the c/v keys. It makes playing the piano hard as shit too. It's like, every song the notes spread across a whole octave. My fucking hand doesn't stretch that far :mad:
Posted on Reply
#19
[XC] Oj101
I'm right-handed but use my left thumb for the space bar, I can't say I've ever used my right thumb while at a PC other than gripping a mouse. I do a LOT of typing (in excess of 15,000 words per day) and I quite like the idea of backspace being the RIGHT half of the space bar. I normally use my right ring finger for backspace, I can see that with a bit of practice this could make for more efficient typing.
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