The effect of six keyboard designs on wrist and forearm postures

David Rempel, Alan Barr, David Brafman, Ed Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


There is increasing evidence that alternative geometry keyboards may prevent or reduce arm pain or disorders, and presumably the mechanism is by reducing awkward arm postures. However, the effect of alternative keyboards, especially the new designs, on wrist and arm postures are not well known. In this laboratory study, the wrist and forearm postures of 100 subjects were measured with a motion analysis system while they typed on 6 different keyboard configurations. There were significant differences in wrist extension, ulnar deviation, and forearm pronation between keyboards. When considering all 6 wrists and forearm postures together, the keyboard with an opening angle of 12°, a gable angle of 14°, and a slope of 0° appears to provide the most neutral posture among the keyboards tested. Subjects most preferred this keyboard or a similar keyboard with a gable angle of 8° and they least preferred the keyboard on a conventional laptop computer. These findings may assist in recommendations regarding the selection of keyboards for computer usage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)293-298
Number of pages6
JournalApplied Ergonomics
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Design
  • Keyboard
  • Posture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)


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