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OrbiTouch Keyless Keyboard Review

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the forsaking-qwerty dept.

Hardware 347

robyn217 writes "When I last looked at strange, new keyboards (here's the previous thread here on slashdot), I thought I'd seen it all... not even close! I just reviewed a new keyless keyboard, called the OrbiTouch, and gave it a run for its money. It's literally made up of two humps--it reminds me of holding onto my knees rather a keyboard. To type or mouse, you need to move the humps around in a synchronized manner. It's twisted--but it's better for you to decide for yourself--here's the article, OrbiTouch Review: A Keyless Keyboard with lots of pictures. Think you'll give it a test drive? Will it survive the year?"

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IN SOVIET RUSSIA (-1)

IN SOVIET RUSSIA (621411) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078941)

OrbiTouch Keyless Keyboard Reviews You!

Touchless (2, Interesting)

Stormcrow309 (590240) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078948)

It would be great if it works as advertise. I am a Laptop user myself and it would help. I don't know if I could get use to the no feel response.

price (4, Insightful)

Wakkow (52585) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078953)

According to the last page of the review, it costs $695. Interesting concept but .... need I say more?

Re:price (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6079045)

Last page? It's in the SECOND PARAGRAPH!

Freakin' "skimmer"

Re:price (5, Insightful)

Fancy78 (471787) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079068)

Because some of us have RSI and simply can not type with out pain. It would be a bargain if it would let me continue my career.

just out of curiosity... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6079097)

How did you post that message?

Are you really willing to go through the pain of typing with RSI just to be heard on slashdot?

Re:price (1)

sixdotoh (584811) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079113)

Number of people with RSI willing to pay vs. cost of keeping company alive . . .?

i agree, for that price, cool concept or not, how long can it last . . .

Re:price (3, Interesting)

interiot (50685) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079130)

Especially because it can seemingly be replaced with two cheap 8-way joysticks. That's all it is, two joysticks with fancy boob coverings.

Re:price (2, Insightful)

vmfedor (586158) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079216)

That's not the point. The whole idea behind this fancy contraption is to make sure that wrist/finger movement is kept to a minimum. Joysticks require a lot of wrist movement.

Re:price (0)

FFON (266696) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079246)

mmm boob coverings

Mouseless Mouse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6078958)

How can it be a keyboard and not have keys?

Tubeless monitors rule!

Grrr..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6079282)

RTFA You stupid idiot!

Make it a single ball for 1 hand (4, Insightful)

purduephotog (218304) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078968)

and you've got it made. Sorta like what divers have to use. my biggest complaint about keyboards is their limited motion.... I can relearn to type (tho it would be rather hard, I admit)... just give me a keyboard I can use with 1 hand and rest it wherever I need to (no jokes about a keyboard in your lap, etc ;P)

Besides, that many keystrokes combined with a good mouse might make sims such as Americas Army quite a bit more interesting ;-)

Re:Make it a single ball for 1 hand (1)

dasuridai (606603) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079131)

I think that sounds like a great idea, but I think that the additional options of using both hands require their use. However, I would like to see something like mice/keyboards. It would be like have a mouse for both hands, with different key combo's or whatever for typing. I know it sounds complicated, but typing IS complicated, but it still becomes easy with enough practice.

Re:Make it a single ball for 1 hand (1)

Transient0 (175617) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079151)

he's got a good point.

I think most coders spend more time with one hand one the keyboard than they might think. Especially if they are using Windows and don't have the middle-click-as-copy thing going for them. There are a lot of cases where you want to be able to make simple command keystrokes while also using the mouse.

If these keyboards don't make it realatively easy to press any CTRL-(letter) combination with only the left hand, I could consider that a pitfall.

Re:Make it a single ball for 1 hand (1)

sixdotoh (584811) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079197)

along with your CTRL key thing, i'm glad that the tiny backspace key has finally seemed to go out of style. what was with that! one of the most used keys ;) and they make it this tiny little thing and end up hitting that stupid slash . . . ugh

Re:Make it a single ball for 1 hand (1)

Crockerboy (611431) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079240)

You got an excellent ponit there, I do spend a lot of time with one hand on the keyboard and one on the mouse..enough so that I've actually gotten rather good at being over to slide the left hand over and do some nominal typing with the left hand on the right home row.

Even more so with the standard WASD and Mouse games.

What I'd like to see is a keyboard where half with a mouse built into the right half where you phsically move the entire key set as if it was a mouse. Therefore I can move the mouse as much as I needed and be able still type just as fast.

I wouldn't pay $695 for it though, maybe $150~$200 tops.

Re:Make it a single ball for 1 hand (1)

blamanj (253811) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079268)

1 hand

Shades of Doug Engelbart's original design [stanford.edu] of a combination of mouse and "chording" keyboard.

$695 YOW! (4, Funny)

Bold Marauder (673130) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078978)

I think I can wait until I see it at wal-mart for $99, thanks.

Those afraid of change will die... (1)

Thinkit3 (671998) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078979)

Those who stick to the old ways will die in war. And we are always at war. This sounds like a good idea, and it is very different. I'll give it a try. I don't want to die.

Re:Those afraid of change will die... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6079007)

I agree, it definitely would be tough to relearn but you can't be afraid of new concepts.

Re:Those afraid of change will die... (1)

sixdotoh (584811) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079233)

those who are using old-style keyboards being killed off worse than bubonic plauge right now . . .

ugh. (4, Insightful)

Quasar1999 (520073) | more than 11 years ago | (#6078985)

This is one of the few peices of computer technology that needs to have a better upgrade path... I mean, I get a new video card every year or two... and a complete new system at least once every 4 years... the damn keyboard hasn't changed much in at least the last 10... The MS Natural keyboard was the last 'major' update to the keyboard design, and it wasn't much more than simply splitting it in two... Barely qualifing as an evolution on the design

When are we going to have some real changes? I want something that allows me to enter data as fast as I can think... Why can't we come up with a better general input device??? Keyboards SUCK!

Re:ugh. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6079038)

> I want something that allows me to enter data as fast as I can think...

Since women always joke about "men's brain being in their pants", I suggest a computer-penis interface that would... eh? What, officer? Why are you arr!54%$@#%$NO CARRIER

Re:ugh. (5, Insightful)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079102)

Well, I think that this means that the keyboard practically reached perfection.

CPUs can be improved a lot, but the keyboard has been doing its job just fine for a long time. If we're still using the same design as 10 years ago then it means that simply no improvement is needed.

Other fancy replacements didn't gain any noticeable market share. Voice recognition is still far from perfect and is noticeably slower. I suppose a direct interface to the computer might finally replace the keyboard, but I doubt that will become available any time soon.

Re:ugh. (4, Informative)

Angry White Guy (521337) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079154)

MS did not create, nor implement the first natural keyboard. Check out the PCD--Maltron keyboard [teleprint.com] .

Microsoft (1)

Photar (5491) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079276)

I always assumed that they just licensed the hardware. I can't imagine that there is anyone at Redmond designing mice.

Re:ugh. (1)

PS-SCUD (601089) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079225)

Do you really want your boss to walk by and see you typing "My boss is such an asshole! He doesn't even know I banged his wife."

Re:ugh. (1)

mhesseltine (541806) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079248)

I want something that allows me to enter data as fast as I can think...

So, you'd like a jack in the back of your head like that in The Matrix?

Not just for RSI (4, Interesting)

fastdecade (179638) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079013)

From the article:

why would anyone design a keyboard like this? In one simple word, comfort.

There are also other reasons why keyboard alternatives like this are cool. Disabled users, obviously. Also for typing where you can't be very accurate, e.g. while riding a bike.

Hmmm wonder if you could type with your feet while surfing during lunch ...

Re:Not just for RSI (4, Funny)

DogIsMyCoprocessor (642655) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079237)

Also for typing where you can't be very accurate, e.g. while riding a bike.

I hope your life insurance provider doesn't see this.

Re:Not just for RSI (2, Funny)

Mikey-San (582838) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079238)

I think I've misread you, but . . .

Typing while /riding a bike?/

I don't know about you, but when I'm riding my bike, I'm paying attention to the BIG-ASS FORD BIGGER-THAN-FUCK-ALL EXCURSIONS flying past me at fifty miles per hour. Typing is the least of my concerns when there are inattentive soccer moms fighting with their spoiled honkey kids sitting in the back of their suburban combat vehicles.

This is prolly redundant already (1)

Fizzl (209397) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079258)

Hmmm wonder if you could type with your feet while surfing during lunch ...

Jesus christ!

And I thought _I_ was a net addict =)

Knees, eh? (4, Funny)

rice_burners_suck (243660) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079016)

Hmmm... If it's like holding onto some hot girl's knees...

Re:Knees, eh? (4, Funny)

NearlyHeadless (110901) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079040)

Best line in the review: "Despite--or maybe because of--the OrbitTouch's similarity to the female anatomy, it's very comfortable to use. Your hands rest very naturally on the twin domes."

Re:Knees, eh? (1)

Wakkow (52585) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079058)

Or from the review:

"Despite--or maybe because of--the OrbitTouch's similarity to the female anatomy, it's very comfortable to use. Your hands rest very naturally on the twin domes."

.....

Re:Knees, eh? (1)

Crusadio (30981) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079082)

I don't think they're just talking about knees. From the review:

Despite--or maybe because of--the OrbitTouch's similarity to the female anatomy, it's very comfortable to use. Your hands rest very naturally on the twin domes.

=)

Re:Knees, eh? (1)

Mikey-San (582838) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079271)

... It'll be a new experience for Slashdotters everywhere! ;-)

Oh, but I kid! I do!

Thanks, I'm here all week. Tip your waitresses.

Figures... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6079017)

"it reminds me of holding onto my knees rather a keyboard"

Only a ghey slashdotter would make this connection. It reminds the rest of us of breasts.

Blurph... (-1, Offtopic)

Morologous (201459) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079018)

Urilb, womeibe gwl plbw2i! Apaojam eidjgnm.

Fuck you, there are popup ads on your site. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6079021)

Fuck you, there are popup ads on your site.

Luv it!! (3, Funny)

eclectic_echidna (586735) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079023)

I just grabbed my knees, and boy is that comfortable!

I'm just not sure... (0)

cageyjames (642932) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079027)

OK, this may solve Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, but now I'll get Tennis Elbow from my keyboard...

Hey! (5, Funny)

Bob McCown (8411) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079028)

Hey, a breast-shaped keyboard. Just what a geek needs to surf pr0n!

Re:Hey! (1)

krumms (613921) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079076)

hehe I can see someone hitting CTRL+ALT+DEL during some kind of weird, pr0n-driven, keyboard/breast frenzy. ... woah, I really need sleep :)

Re:Hey! (1)

tempest303 (259600) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079267)

Exactly what kind of boobs are YOU people looking at, anyhow!? This thing looks like a pair of mirrored Logitech mice stuck onto a keyboard, and I'm pretty sure the *last* thing I'd mistake them for is *breasts*.

article text (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6079030)

OrbiTouch Review: A Keyless Keyboard
May 29, 2003
By: Robyn Peterson

Editor's note: Back by popular demand, our Keyboard Krazy author visits one late-entry in our quest for the most "out there" design. For a recap of the wild input devices we've already reviewed (vertical keyboard, gesture sensitive keyboard, cyborg system, etc.) check out Keyboard Kraziness and Mouse Madness. Note: There are some important considerations to keep in mind before you purchase any ergonomic keyboard.

Imagine a keyboard with no space bar, no letters, no numbers... no keys at all. In fact, forget the entire idea of a keyboard, as you know it, altogether. Just reach down with both hands and grab your knees (assuming you have two knees), and close your eyes. Only subtle differences exist between this sensation, and the experience of first lowering your hands and gripping the OrbiTouch Keyless Keyboard (pictured below).

click on image for full view

But why would anyone design a keyboard like this? In one simple word, comfort. But comfort comes at a very steep list price of $695 in the case of the OrbiTouch, so its appeal will likely be limited to a specific class of users that cannot use standard keyboards without pain. Of course, there will also be the early adopters with excess discretionary income who must have the coolest new gadget. And for users who master the device, they will most certainly impress friends and coworkers.

The standard equation for typing has always been,

Typing Equation:
Wrist movement + Finger pressing = Keystroke

Even the entrants in the first round of keyboards we reviewed rarely dared to rework this basic equation. It's as simple and accepted as,

Yellow + Blue = Green

The OrbiTouch completely removes finger movements from the process of typing, while significantly reducing the amount of wrist motion. With Carpal Tunnel Syndrome as a leading claim for Worker's Compensation, a lot of people are not only interested in reworking the current typing strategy, but developing a whole new typing equation.

Keyboard Kraziness & Mouse Madness
Review: Typing With Gestures on the TouchStream ST
Review: DataHand System, More Cyborg than Keyboard

Hey, if any of us want to keep on typing for our entire careers (let alone typing our whole lives), we should be interested.

It's a completely new idea in computer input devices--but is it a good idea? That's what we're here to find out.

First we'll take a look at how this odd device works, and we'll take a peek under the hood. Then, we're going out for a test drive. Now, it's not our style to keep our opinions to ourselves, so next we'll give you the lowdown on what we liked and what we didn't like. Is the keyless keyboard a keeper? Read on to find out...

How It Works

Installation is easy as the OrbiTouch keyboard connects to both PS/2-compatible keyboard and mouse ports simultaneously which is to be expected since it handles standard mouse and keyboard functions (only available for PCs at this time). Note: An Apple-compatible version is reportedly in the works right now.

Weighing in at 4.5 pounds and sizing up to virtually the same dimensions as a standard keyboard, it fits on just about any keyboard tray and desktop keyboard slot -- and the slick black design will make even the most anachronistic desktop look simply space-age.

The "keypad" is comprised of two domes upon which the hands are intended to rest. Each dome can slide in up to eight different directions, allowing movement of up to seven millimeters in each direction-- so the movements are fairly easy to make, and don't require a large range of motion.

click on image for full view

Keystrokes are composed of simultaneous movements of both domes in sync. For instance, moving the left dome to the left and moving the right dome to the right will create a letter 'd'. Learning the repertoire of chords will be challenging early on, but shouldn't prove to be an ongoing obstacle. Think how many of us have learned to write in the Palm OS Grafitti language, with its unique keystrokes, and this is somewhat analogous, though is certainly far more challenging and will take more coordination with both hands in use. Maybe those of you who are ambidextrous, play the piano, or switch-hit will have an easier time!

A close-up of the key map legend arranged in a standard QWERTY design is below. Note that the yellow arrow signifies the left dome, and the blue arrow signifies the right dome (yellow and blue colors can be seen better in the close-up photo).

click on image for full view

click on image for full view

click on image for full view

Clicking the Domes
Each of the domes can be "clicked" like a mouse button. A gentle push downward will accomplish this click (it's very easy). Shift, caps lock, and number lock modes are entered by a specific sequence of clicks:

* Shift: press and hold left dome
* Caps lock: single-click both left and right domes simultaneously
* Number lock: double-click left dome

click on image for full view

Mousing is also accomplished via dome movements. To enter the "mouse mode", single-click the right dome. Movement of the mouse is then controlled by the right dome, and clicking is controlled by movements, not clicks, of the left dome. It's very simple.

* Moving left dome left results in a left-click
* Moving right dome left results in a right-click
* Moving middle dome left results in a middle-click

To click-and-drag an object, you would first position the pointer over the object, and then move the left dome to the left (and don't let go!)--this results in a left-click. Then, you can drag the object by moving the right dome. Just let the left dome move back to center when you want to release the object.

Goal of the OrbiTouch
The true purpose of the "out there" design of the OrbiTouch is to effectively eliminate finger movement and reduce, as much as possible, motion of the wrists. According to the manufacturer, Keybowl Inc., the OrbiTouch reduces repetitive strain injury (RSI) motions by up to 82% over standard flat keyboards. In so doing, Keybowl is attempting to level the playing field for those with hand/wrist pain. While not completely removing barriers for those with typing-related pain, the OrbiTouch comes closer than any keyboard, or other input device, we've seen yet.

If you're impressed by official kudos, take a gander at a few of the technology/innovation awards that Keybowl has raked in lately, including:

* IEA/Liberty Mutual Prize in Ergonomics and Occupational Safety
* 2003 Consumer Electronics Show "Innovations" and "Best of Innovations" Awards
* February 2000 Semifinalist in the Discover Awards

Not bad, eh? Well, we like awards over here at ExtremeTech, but once a product hits our lab, we apply our own testing methods and will generate our own ratings. So, let's go for a test drive...

Going For a Test Drive
Despite--or maybe because of--the OrbitTouch's similarity to the female anatomy, it's very comfortable to use. Your hands rest very naturally on the twin domes.

First off, the mere appearance of the domes implies that they should be turned and twisted. Every person who stopped by while I was testing attempted to turn one of the domes--I quickly had to slap their hand and point a finger toward the ominous, and obvious, warning label directly on the front of the keyboard (pictured below).

click on image for full view
Notice the warning label--do not twist the domes!

With the idea now firmly planted in our heads that the domes should only be slide in the eight directions, not twisted, we were able to proceed unhindered.

Taking Baby Steps
Upon booting up my computer with the OrbiTouch keyboard plugged in (although according to the directions this reboot isn't necessary, I tend to do it anyway with any sort of install), I failed miserably to type in my network password. With only one attempt left to type in my password correctly before my account was frozen (our security setup freezes an account after a certain number of unsuccessful login attempts), I had to temporarily plug in the TouchStream ST in order to get the job done.

Needless to say, the first few sentences with the OrbiTouch were hard won. Learning a completely new key map is never easy but strangely enough, the OrbiTouch map is somewhat intuitive. After a couple of hours, typing became a little more natural and speed started to increase, but not much. Here's the key map again to refresh your memory:

click on image for full view

Being a big fan of shortcut keys, I use "chords" (typing more than one key at a time) to accomplish quite a few of my daily tasks. Typing chords on the OrbiTouch can be a challenge, as an example, I have the chord Control-Alt-Z set up to launch the trusty ol' Notepad (no better application for writing HTML). In order to type this chord, I need to first set the keyboard in "control mode", then set the keyboard in "alt mode", and finally do the motions to create the letter 'z'.

Now, before I can type in Notepad, I need to exit the "alt" and "control" modes with the same sequences given in steps 1 and 2. Put simply, it just ain't easy--but that doesn't mean it's bad--it just means there's a steep learning curve. You'll really need a load of desire to climb this curve, take my word for it.

Mousing without a Mouse
Mousing with the OrbiTouch is a snap! As we stated earlier, the right dome moves the mouse pointer and the left dome controls the clicking of the mouse buttons. It's very simple from the get-go.

click on image for full view

Likes and Dislikes

What We Liked
What an innovate design! The OrbiTouch breaks all boundaries that I've ever seen set for an input device. It's smart, it's clever--and it even looks cool. And for those that need to minimize finger and wrist movements, it's heaven sent.

click on image for full view

Plus, the company seems very cool. There's a discussion board on their website on which users have posted a few interesting questions. The staff seems very responsive, and seems willing to tackle tough questions. Check it out here.

As we said during our Test Drive, mousing is very natural on this keyboard. In fact, the mere resting of the palms on the domes is very comfortable. I could imagine becoming very accustomed to this keyboard if given enough time to surpass the immense learning curve. That brings us to our next point...

What We Don't Like
Climbing this learning curve is like climbing Kilimanjaro, on a daily basis, without ever leaving your office. It's not easy. Enough said. On the flip side, anything worth learning takes effort. So there, I refuted myself.

Dislike number two is the price, a whopping $695. Keep in mind that you could buy/build a fairly nice computer for less than the retail price of the OrbiTouch--for proof see Loyd Case's Attack of the $50 CPU.

Final Thoughts (or 30 Days to Better Typing)

Be ready to expend loads of effort to become efficient on the OrbiTouch. That said, in my mind, the OrbiTouch doesn't have to be easy to learn to have accomplished its goal. In fact, it's safe to say it efficiently tackles the goal that it set out to accomplish. The OrbiTouch is designed to minimize movement of the fingers and wrists, and this keyless keyboard does exactly that. It drastically minimizes hand and finger movements.

While it may be difficult to learn this system, for those users who cannot type on a regular keyboard due to pain or injury (or for those with a strong desire to avoid pain & injury due to repetitive stress injuries), the OrbiTouch fits the bill perfectly, albeit with a steep price.

Coming Full Circle
The only competitor to the OrbiTouch that I've reviewed that even comes close to this sort of innovation is the DataHand System. The DataHand system does a good job of limiting wrist movement, but in so doing, it requires the fingers to compensate by handling most of the work. On the flip side, the OrbiTouch eliminates finger movement completely, but does leave some motion for the wrists and shoulders.

With either of the OrbiTouch Keyless Keyboard or the DataHand System, a beginner will encounter a steep learning curve. However, for those readers out there who experience pain when typing--well, let's just say thanks to both manufacturers for leveling the playing field.

Product: OrbiTouch Keyless Keyboard
Web Site: Keybowl, Inc.
Pro: Minimizes finger and wrist movements without sacrificing functionality in a significant way. Opens doors for people who experience pain when they type.
Con: Difficult system to learn as it's a whole new system of typing. Plus, it's expensive.
Summary: This innovative design is a winner for those who can't type on a standard flat keyboard. It minimizes movements to lead to, or aggravate repetitive stress injuries.
Price: $695, Available from Manufacturer
Score:

Copyright (c) 2003 Ziff Davis Media Inc. All Rights Reserved.

possible keyboard cover = bra (4, Funny)

Numeric (22250) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079031)

i think a victoria secret bra might be a decent keyboard cover.

Ooooooo.... (2, Funny)

GeneralEmergency (240687) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079032)


....I can see the market now for anatomically correct, er, grip enhancements for this baby!

Re:Ooooooo.... (2, Funny)

fobbman (131816) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079251)

I just looked down at the gel-filled wrist rest in front of my keyboard and had a very impure thought.

Make work a plesh-ah! (5, Funny)

revscat (35618) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079043)

From the article:

Despite--or maybe because of--the OrbitTouch's similarity to the female anatomy, it's very comfortable to use. Your hands rest very naturally on the twin domes.

So, instead of clacking away on a keyboard all day I can basically feel up boobies while I work?

Is there a downside to this?

Boobs != Plastic? (2, Funny)

I'm a racist. (631537) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079124)

...I can basically feel up boobies while I work? Is there a downside to this?
Boobs aren't made out of plastic (at least not entirely). If that's really your thing though, might I recommend yet another input device [realdoll.com] ?

Re:Make work a plesh-ah! (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079159)

Yeah, you will get bored with Boobies!

Re:Make work a plesh-ah! (2, Funny)

etn991 (626061) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079199)

...Is there a downside to this?

Yeah, no nipples.

Re:Make work a plesh-ah! (1)

DWIM (547700) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079212)

So, instead of clacking away on a keyboard all day I can basically feel up boobies while I work?

Yeah, it's missing some, uh, buttons...

Gaming? (1)

jagilbertvt (447707) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079047)

I'd hate to be the one trying to play an FPS on that keyless kb.

Ahem.... (2, Funny)

Hilleh (561336) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079048)

There's a VERY good reason that I like to be able to have one hand free when I surf the web....

Drinking soda, of course.

Learning Curve (1)

spector30 (319592) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079051)

Has anyone here actually laid their hands on one of these? I am curious to know what the learning curve is. Also, will this cause other problems than carpal tunnel with use over time?

The other thing is will one-handed typing go the way of the dodo? ;-)

Re:Learning Curve (2, Funny)

dmomo (256005) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079138)

Pretty Steep for Geeks, I'd Imagine... I mean most of us are still trying to figure out how to unhook a bra!

Re:Learning Curve (2, Funny)

spector30 (319592) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079253)

Scissors work well for that particular issue. It gets expensive, but hey you get to visit Victoria's Secret with her afterwards.

moron touting for stock markup felons (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6079057)

it 'should' be against the 'vitual' law, soas not to further pollute the ether with greed/fear based larcenIE.

or, we could just stop giving them more&more monIE.

they already have more than enough, most of the rest of US, do not.

it's not as simple as it sounds, but it is quite doable.

if you are a greed/fear based lifeform, you may choose not to participate.

consult with yOUR creator. don't take forever to do it, 'cause time is not on yOUR side at the momeNT. future generations would be grateful. if we don't get our heads out of our .asps, what the future generates may not be what you wanted for US/them (yOUR kids). that's the spirit.

there must be a line somewhere?

here's won: "Beware the industrial/military complex"

won of you knows who said that?

Re:moron touting for stock markup felons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6079134)

What are you on about?

$695, that's nothing..... (3, Informative)

stuckatwork (622157) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079060)

The Datahand system, reviewed here [extremetech.com] has a price of $1,295 USD.

Wow. 'Taint cheap, eh?

Just put your hands on the domes .. (3, Funny)

reyalsnogard (595701) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079063)

I can imagine it now -- a geek-wife request: Pretend I'm an OrbiTouch and type something provocative to me, honey!

Brings to meaning to the term 'hands on.'

Yellow + Blue = ? (1)

Plutor (2994) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079064)

From the article:
The standard equation for typing has always been,
Typing Equation:
Wrist movement + Finger pressing = Keystroke
Even the entrants in the first round of keyboards we reviewed rarely dared to rework this basic equation. It's as simple and accepted as,
Yellow + Blue = Green


I would say that's not universally true. In my mind, Yellow + Blue = White. I call shennanigans on your analogy.

Re:Yellow + Blue = ? (1)

DJ Rubbie (621940) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079120)

If you were talking about light,
Yellow light + Blue light = white light
You are correct.

They were probably refering to mixing paint, so they should say:
Yellow + Cyan = green

IMHO, I doubt any non-geek or non-artist type will know what cyan is.

Re:Yellow + Blue = ? (1)

Anti Frozt (655515) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079143)

It depends on which colour theory you are using.

In one case, Yellow + Blue = Green (Subtractive.

In the other, it's not true as green is a primary colour. Red + Green = Yellow.

Re:Yellow + Blue = ? (1)

Plutor (2994) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079175)

I knew people were going to respond to this by pointing out that sometimes Yellow + Blue = Green, and sometimes it equals White. But my point was that the author was using this equation as an example of a never-questioned axiom of keyboard design. This is a bad analogy.

This would be great except... (1)

mike_mgo (589966) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079069)

I don't think the sensation of grabbing onto your knees is going to capture the imagination of many people.

Now, let me think, what body part, that their are 2 of, would computer geeks love to get their hands on and fondle all day. Hmmm, I just can't think of anything but I'm sure someone can come up with something.

Re:This would be great except... (1)

mike_mgo (589966) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079101)

I guess its pretty sad that in the 60 seconds it took me to write this about 8 other people came up with the exact same joke. Oh well, no karma for me today.

Get A Grip! (2, Interesting)

PRES_00 (657776) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079072)

The learning curve on this device is way too high!
You might as well use two mice with specialized software to have the same effect. At such a high price, I won't even glance at it. Who will carry such monstrosity to work and home?

Re:Get A Grip! (1)

Chrimble (7748) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079261)

It's a specialist, niche device. Hence the high $$$ - economies of scale and all that.

In the world of RSI keyboards, it's not an uncompetitive price, and whilst the learning curve is high, if it enables you to work then surely it'll pay for itself in no time?

I don't think the transportation is an issue. Who carries a keyboard around with them anyway? (not withstanding the foldable palm types).

doomed to failure (5, Funny)

kajoob (62237) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079073)

this will never work as most geeks have little to no experience cupping their hands around two large mounds - the learning curve is just way too steep

It's obscene... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6079077)

If you don't believe me, look at the pics on the review and then look at some of the female porn you have on your harddrives.

Keyboard standardization (3, Insightful)

dspyder (563303) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079088)

Really, the only way any of these options will catch on is if people can standardize. Switching between ABCDEFG keyboards (like on my 2way pager and a lot of games) and QWERTY is hard enough. If you have to have a different keyboard at work, home, the library, internet terminal, etc. nobody will ever learn these odd (though likely better) keyboards.

--D

Use your feet.... (1)

Anti Frozt (655515) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079089)

...leaving both hands free while searching for pr0n.

Cyberfondle 9000 (1)

el-spectre (668104) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079090)

This things looks like the interface to one of those 'interactive' adult DVD players...

i love michael sims (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6079093)

*_g_o_a_t_s_e_x_*_g_o_a_t_s_e_x_*_g_o_a_t_s_e_x_* [24.174.80.139]
g_______________________________________________g
o_/_____\_____________\____________/____\_______o
a|_______|_____________\__________|______|______a
t|_______`._____________|_________|_______:_____t
s`________|_____________|________\|_______|_____s
e_\_______|_/_______/__\\\___--___\\_______:____e
x__\______\/____--~~__________~--__|_\_____|____x
*___\______\_-~____________________~-_\____|____*
g____\______\_________.--------.______\|___|____g
o______\_____\______//_________(_(__>_\___|_____o
a_______\___.__C____)_________(_(____>_|__/_____a
t_______/\_|___C_____)/______\_(_____>_|_/______t
s______/_/\|___C_____)_______|__(___>_/__\______s
e_____|___(____C_____)\______/__//__/_/_____\___e
x_____|____\__|_____\\_________//_(__/_______|__x
*____|_\____\____)___`----___--'_____________|__*
g____|__\______________\_______/____________/_|_g
o___|______________/____|_____|__\____________|_o
a___|_____________|____/_______\__\___________|_a
t___|__________/_/____|_________|__\___________|t
s___|_________/_/______\__/\___/____|__________|s
e__|_________/_/________|____|_______|_________|e
x__|__________|_________|____|_______|_________|x
*_g_o_a_t_s_e_x_*_g_o_a_t_s_e_x_*_g_o_a_t_s_e_x_*


The perineum is the area of skin rich in nerve endings that is located below the anus (the opening for bowel movements). For men, the perineum extends to the vaginal opening; for women it extends to the base of the testicles.

Because the perineum is so rich in nerve endings it often feels pleasing to have it touched or stroked. If one is comfortable with being touched on the perineum, its stimulation can be incorporated into a couple's lovemaking to further enhance sexual arousal.

To make stimulation smoother and more comfortable, it is often helpful to lubricate your fingers before stroking the perineum during lovemaking.

As long as the stimulation remains outside the body on the perineum, any type of lubricant (petroleum-base or water-base) will do.

However, because this kind of stimulation is often associated with insertion of the finger into the vagina or anus, or both, a water-base lubricant is recommended and preferred.

The anus is rich in nerve endings & participates with your genitals in the contractions of sexual arousal & orgasm. Anal stimulation greatly enhances & intensifies masturbation, oral sex, or intercourse. A good rule of thumb, when experimenting with anal play, is relax, use plenty of lube (the anus & rectum do not produce any lubrication of their own), and enjoy.

Because the perineum is so rich in nerve endings it often feels pleasing to have it touched or stroked. If one is comfortable with being touched on the perineum, its stimulation can be incorporated into a couple's lovemaking to further enhance sexual arousal.

Because the perineum is so rich in nerve endings it often feels pleasing to have it touched or stroked. If one is comfortable with being touched on the perineum, its stimulation can be incorporated into a couple's lovemaking to further enhance sexual arousal.

However, because this kind of stimulation is often associated with insertion of the finger into the vagina or anus, or both, a water-base lubricant is recommended and preferred.

  • Re:Wakeup call [24.174.80.139] by JJahn (Score:2) Friday May 30, @09:06AM
1 reply [24.174.80.139] beneath your current threshold.

DVORAK (2, Insightful)

gerf (532474) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079099)

Really, instead of some huge leap, i suggest switching away from QWERTY first. Qwerty was made to slow typing, by making you reach for keys. The reason for this being that the original typewriters would jam if you typed too fast. Obviously, this leads to carpal tunnel, and all that good stuff. DVORAK and some other keyboard formats are made to make it easier, faster, and easier to accurately type. I'm not switching yet, but i'm thinking about it. One of my friends did, and he loves it.

New keyboards are neat and all, but they're still first designs, first revisions. If i'm to try something new (new to me), i'll wait for a year, and see if it's really beneficial. If it is, then i'll look at the cost, and if it's worth it. At this time, this product seems to be more eye candy and "if i have more toys, i win" than actually worthwile. Point: if my g/f wants to use my computer, do i have to switch keyboards? Really, i don't see the $600 benefit in that. not yet at least.

From the comments so far... (1)

glwtta (532858) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079115)

I'd have to say I am not the only one to immediately think of a pair of "surrugate" breasts when looking at this thing... interesting design decision.

hooters! (1)

el_gregorio (579986) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079123)

this basically looks like a couple of boobs on your desktop. it may have some great pr0n applications, but most of us don't have the practice necessary to correctly operate such a contraption.

frat boys, on the other hand, may soon become 1337...

alternatives (1)

mobiusjava (655737) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079127)

I did a little research before I spent the cash on m y Fingerworks touchstream [fingerworks.com] . I spend about 12 hours coding a day and had finally reached the point where I really needed to get something to help alleviate rsi. I've only had the device for a day and it's very awkward at first, but I believe I'll be back up to 70 wpm in a few weeks. Short of having surgery, or the greatly sought uis of gibson lore, I believe devices like these will hopefully prevent rsi for others. As for price, I make my living with my hands...what's that worth? I think perhaps the greatest hurdle these devices face is that it's nearly impossible to find an outlet to demo them.

Not that new... (1)

klocwerk (48514) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079139)

It's been around for a few years now.

I remember seeing them quite some time ago when I was looking for alternate input methods for wearable computing.

Follow these simple instructions... (1)

JorenDahn (670270) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079147)

Grab on to the right breast, and... er, I mean dome...

Great for those immobilized hands (1)

gmkeegan (160779) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079150)

This would have been great last year when I had 2 broken wrists due to a snowboarding accident, except for the cost. I looked into a couple of alternatives like the Twiddler [handykey.com] , a one-handed keyboard alternative, but even for $220 couldn't the cost for a 4 - 6 week typing replacement. For someone with a more permanent condition, this looks like a fascinating alternative.

This just in: NabiSCO to sue SCO for trademark violation

Oh no (1)

Quill_28 (553921) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079152)

>Despite--or maybe because of--the OrbitTouch's >similarity to the female anatomy, it's very >comfortable to use. Your hands rest very >naturally on the twin domes.

Good Lord, what has he done.

The jokes are endless.

No twisiting! (3, Funny)

drdale (677421) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079155)

Maybe the "female anatomy" should come with the same warning label.

Nipples (4, Funny)

CaptCanuk (245649) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079157)

Millions in research and they left out the nipples. Didn't the QA department notice this minor glitch. Oh, you mean it's actually a keyboard? nm.

I looked at the picture. . . (1)

taustin (171655) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079161)

. . . and all I can say is, "Are those tits?"

Another Interesting Keyboard-As seen on ThinkGeek (1)

Chucow (572393) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079171)

Another Interesting Keyless Keyboard. [thinkgeek.com] Thought this one was equally interesting, something fellow slashdotters might be interested in if they hadn't seen it.

OrbitTouch???? (4, Funny)

GeneralEmergency (240687) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079183)



OrbitTouch?? Sucky Name. You guys shoulda gone with the more obvious "BoobieBoard" .

Prior Art? (1)

ebuck (585470) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079190)

Remember Karate Champ (1984 Coin-op)?

Looks like basically the same interface, but without the flying flowerpots and of course the bull!

First Nickname (1)

kgbkgb (448898) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079198)

I hereby declare the first nickname for this input device: "tits".

"Are you using a normal old mouse, or tits?"

"If your tits aren't working, try checking the connection to your computer."

Oh yeah, sounds great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6079213)

Let's see, I can type by juggling a pair of plastic tits ... or by pressing a button that has the letter I want to type printed on it.

I think I'll stick with the keyboard, THANKS!

(At least the feminists don't have to snicker about JOYSTICKs anymore, now they can have their own TITBOARD).

120+ wpm (2, Insightful)

Strike (220532) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079217)

What I wonder is what the response time is in like one of these things ... is it even technically possible to achieve speeds of 120+ wpm on it? (i.e., is the signaling rate of the "orbs" good enough to handle 8 chars per second) Not only that, how fast would a person's wrists have to move on average to move the N millimeters that it takes to do an average "keystroke"?

Also, though I haven't looked at it in comparison to letter frequency, their schema for keystrokes seemed suboptimal, but still pretty good. For example, transitioning from "t" to "h" (arguably one of the most common two-letter combinations in all of typing) requires going from up,right to right,left instead of just leaving one dome the same and moving the other. Same thing with going from "i" to "n" (also very common), you have to go from up,down to down,lower-left. It's a minor thing, but it seems that attention to these things could have a significant impact upon the ease of use (less motion required, which is supposed to be one of their big selling points), and the speed at which people can type on it (if you don't have to move as far, you key faster - kinda like how Dvorak is more optimal than QWERTY).

notepad? (2, Insightful)

Quill_28 (553921) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079220)

>I have the chord Control-Alt-Z set up to launch the trusty ol' Notepad (no better application for writing HTML).

Ahhhh, 2nd year CS students could write a better editor.

vi, my friend, vi

even emacs is better :-)

No wonder he worried about CTS

Slow input (0)

Ozor (592387) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079231)

According to there web site a professial typist that does 120 words a minute will do 50-60 after a few hours of learning. Seem likes a step back to me.

Not correct typing posture (1)

zeus_tfc (222250) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079243)

Typing Equation:
Wrist movement + Finger pressing = Keystroke


Now, granted I only scanned the first page of the article, but this statement bothers me. Having taken both typing and piano lessons, I'm pretty sure that this is an incorrect statement. There should be little or no wrist movements while typing. The correct posture for both typing and playing the keyboard (piano) is the the wrists high above the keyboard, and the fingers arched. In this position, the wrists do very little moving, unless you are reaching for keys out of range in the home row (or middle C on the piano).

Of course, this is not usually how people type. Most people I've seen type with their wrists rested on the table or desk in front of the keyboard, but this is not correct posture, and is much worse for you, as it takes your wrists out of the neutral position.

I'm just disagreeing with the statement, I don't know anything about the keyboard.

$695 makes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6079245)

me extremely UNcomfortable! Sure, yeah, okay, I'll take a dozen of them - right after I finish throwing up.

Give me a break.

Minimal Wrist Movement? (1)

C0deM0nkey (203681) | more than 11 years ago | (#6079277)

The reviewer never made it clear, though he stated frequently, how this device "minimizes wrist movement".

From looking at the pictures of the keyboard chords required, many require you to twist the domes from 6 o'clock to 12 o'clock. It seems to me that in order to get any kind of speed out of this device, you'll be twisting your wrists quite severely. The wrist movements required to use a standard keyboard seem minimal in comparison.

Anyone have any other insight?

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