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Effect of keyswitch design of desktop and notebook keyboards related to key stiffness and typing force

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This study aimed to compare and analyse rubber-dome desktop, spring-column desktop and notebook keyboards in terms of key stiffness and fingertip typing force. The spring-column keyboard resulted in the highest mean peak contact force (0.86N), followed by the rubber dome desktop (0.68N) and the notebook (0.59N). All these differences were statistically significant. Likewise, the spring-column keyboard registered the highest fingertip typing force and the notebook keyboard the lowest. A comparison of forces showed the notebook (rubber dome) keyboard had the highest fingertip-to-peak contact force ratio (overstrike force), and the spring-column generated the least excess force (as a ratio of peak contact force). The results of this study could aid in optimizing computer key design that could possibly reduce subject discomfort and fatigue.
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Keywords: Computer keyboard; Computer keys; Typing; Typing force

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Mechanical Engineering, Marquette University, P.O. Box 1881, Milwaukee, WI, 53201–1881, USA 2: Department of Physical Therapy, Marquette University, 346 Walter Schroeder Complex, P.O. Box 1881, Milwaukee, WI, 53201–1881, USA

Publication date: August 15, 2006

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