Protomic v.o.f. of the Netherlands
Protomic is a company dedicated to improving the computer workplace
They offer expertise in human movement science, biomechanics, work-function psychology, product design and development.
Protomic offers a complete workplace solution package including hardware and software, advice on general ergonomic factors, task monitoring for safety and the application of innovative products such as the DataStealth keyboard, voice recognition systems and other productivity enhancing products.
The revolutionary DataStealth keyboard is the result of a joint research project with several major Dutch universities. The design incorporates anatomic and ergonomic principles, offering improved comfort and reduced risk of repetitive strain injury while increasing productivity. Repetitive strain injury, also called cumulative trauma disorder (CTD), in keyboard operators is caused by poor posture and sustained immobility with a tense posture of the neck, shoulders, arms, and wrists, and the repetitive motions in the fingers required for striking the keys. Repetitive shock waves from the key clicks may also play a role on the clinical profile. Several factors associated with keyboard injury arising from the configuration of the standard keyboard are described in the following pages.
In developing their solution they decided to use a more conventional keyboard design. The challenge was to find a configuration that did not surrender the ergonomic advantages of a vertical configuration, and enabled a visible and essentially flat keyboard to be used. In the meantime, their studies of alternative keyboards had indicated that a vertical configuration was not necessary. DataStealth is best of both worlds. The DataStealth solves these problems by angling the keypad 45 degrees. The keypad area is gently sculpted and the keys are arranged to reflect the finger reach arcs of the human hand in both the horizontal and sagittal planes. The hand rest provides optimum placement of the users hand and relieves the users' upper limb from static load while typing.
CyberGlove Systems 3D's CyberGlove was used to record the exact position and movement of the users fingers while typing on the DataStealth keyboard. These data were collected for the classical flat keyboard and a range of alternative keyboard designs. From this information they made a biomechanical model of the stresses and strains in the soft tissues of the hand while typing. Preparations are underway for the collection of additional data that their current studies indicates will be more valid measurements of the risk factors for RSI. This data will be used to further improve their keyboard.
For more information contact:
Jan Visserhof 36
5709 EA Helmond
Tel: + 31 492 556159
Fax: + 31 492 556158