Microsoft's Sculpt Comfort Keyboard Has A Dual-Purpose Spacebar

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News Posted: Wed, Sep 19 2012 11:33 PM
A keyboard made specifically for an operating system? Yeah, that's a thing now. Microsoft has just unveiled the new Sculpt Comfort Keyboard, a new typing apparatus designed with Windows 8 in mind. It's an ergonomic board that's sleek and subtle, with a litany of Windows 8-specific hot keys. However, the most prominent feature has to be the newfangled space bar. It's the first desktop keyboard to offer a split backspace-spacebar key. According to MS, it's research showed that "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," and that the backspace key is the third most pressed key on the keyboard - behind the spacebar itself and the letter "e." Having to reach up for the "old" backspace key, however, is a real time waster. So, why not move it?

It'll sure be interesting to see how many people genuinely try to buck a habit that's developed over years, but you can be one of those when it ships "soon" for $59.95.


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

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Because efficient keyboard redesigns have been so popular, right Dvorak?

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Kyouya replied on Thu, Sep 20 2012 1:49 AM

I am definitely the other 10% who uses his left hand to press the space bar while typing...and I'm right handed. Let this show that just because you are right handed, it doesn't mean your other hand is useless.

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ThePinkus replied on Thu, Sep 20 2012 1:17 PM

I will suppose that this is not a gaming board... or maybe?

I am thinking about the left hand, with index, middle and ring resting on the WASD, the pink on shift-ctrl and the thumb on the spacebar.

So it depends on the latter still being in reach of the our left thumb, without moving our hand.

IF it is, than the spacebar and new backspace could actually be better than the spacebar+alt used commonly today (where alt is under the other fingers or the hand).

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3vi1 replied on Thu, Sep 20 2012 8:32 PM

i'm somewhat tempted... and somewhat skeptical.

Keyboards are the only thing Microsoft makes that I've ever recommended. I've had a lot of their natural keyboards and think they're a great product.

However.. I grew up learning to type the correct way. I use both thumbs on the spacebar for speed (though the right a tad more). i'm not sure I can break my habits at this point and not accidentally backspace over good text.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

++++++++++++[>++++>+++++++++>+++>+<<<<-]>+++.>++++++++++.-------------.+++.>---.>--.

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deadmanet replied on Fri, Sep 21 2012 8:13 AM

Mark me down in the 10% category as well. I may be right handed, but all my years playing games using WASD, I've gotten used to using my left thumb to hit the space bar. Will admit that it's kind of a neat change, for those that are only going to use it for non-gaming purposes. Don't see it working as a gaming keyboard though.

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JOMA replied on Fri, Sep 21 2012 10:55 AM

I'm probably old fashioned but I prefer just a standard simple keyboard. I'll certainly give it a try if I have a chance.

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