RTINGS.com on Glove80: "The Best Ergonomic Keyboard for Enthusiast"

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Glove80 Keyboard Ergonomics and Keeping Your Hands Healthy


Key Glove80 ergonomic features are:

  • Split so that halves can be repositioned to minimize ulnar deviation, which causes carpal tunnel
  • Neutral tilt to minimize wrist extension (wrist bending upwards), a common cause of wrist pain
  • Built-in adjustable tenting to minimize forearm pronation
  • As low profile as possible to avoid forearm bending upwards or wrist extension
  • Concave key well and innovative thumb cluster for a comfortable reach of all keys to reducing finger and thumb strain and stress
  • All ergonomic features work together holistically to allow for palm resting on palm rest while typing (should you want to) to allow you to relax your arms and shoulders while typing

A well-designed keyboard can help you to maintain a good posture and comfort to avoid many common causes of RSI traditionally associated with keyboards.

We will describe the ergonomics designs of Glove80 and explain how they help you maintain the best wrist and hand health so that you can work and play at your peak performance. But before we do that, let's have a look at what typing is like on a Glove80.

Full Split, Ulnar Deviation & Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Ulnar deviation happens when the wrist is bent outwards. It is a common cause of carpal tunnel syndrome, which is caused by pressure on the median nerve. On a standard staggered row keyboard, because of the straight rows, the wrists are forced into a position of ulnar deviation. A split keyboard, such as Glove80, allows you to reposition the keyboard halves wherever you like, such that the wrists are straight when viewed above.

Glove80’s ability to reposition the halves has another advantage. The halves can be positioned further apart, to eliminate the need to round the shoulders, which helps to keep the shoulder relaxed.

Neutral Tilt & Wrist Extension

Wrist extension happens when the wrist is bent upwards. This bending can greatly reduce blood flow and is a common cause of wrist pain and fatigue. Glove80 is designed with a sculpted palm rest such that the wrist is straight when viewed sideways (i.e. no wrist extension) when the palm is resting on the palm rest and your forearm is horizontal. This is called a neutral tilt. Glove80 is one of the very few keyboards that offer a neutral tilt typing position.

Ultra Low Profile Keyboard

This brings us to the next point. It is generally recommended that the forearm should be held at a horizontal position and should never be tilted upwards. Likewise, as we discussed prior, the wrists should not be bent upwards. To allow for the horizontal arm position and no wrist extension, the keyboard (specifically the top of the keycaps) must be low enough. Unfortunately, the amount of space between the hands and your thigh is extremely limited, and that space needs to accommodate the table and keyboard, and still leave enough wriggle room for your legs. This is the reason why we did everything to make Glove80 so low profile. Glove80 uses premium low-profile Kailh Choc switches. The lowest keys “D” and “K” are an incredible 20mm (0.8 inches) from the top of the keycap to the table (try measuring your current keyboard). Furthermore, we designed a built-in tenting system that adds no extra height, unlike the tenting kits of many other ergonomic keyboards.

Glove80 comparing against Kinesis Advantage. The Kinesis Advantage360 has a higher key height than Advantage

Tenting & Forearm Pronation

So what’s the tenting system? If you press your palm flat on your desk and hold it there for a few minutes, you will feel tension on your forearms and you are experiencing forearm pronation. If you rotate your palms such that your thumb points slightly or more into the air, you will find the position more comfortable. This is the purpose of tenting. By default, Glove80 has a tenting angle that is comfortable for most people. However we found that this is one variable that differs greatly between users. So we built a clever tenting system into Glove80. The legs of Glove80 can be extended to change the tenting angle of the keyboard, with infinite levels of adjustments. Unlike many other ergonomic keyboards, the tenting kit is integrated and adds no extra height.

Concave & Columnar Key Well

The finger keys for Glove80 are arranged in columns to minimize sideways finger movements and the compensating wrist “wriggling”.

Glove80 has a concave key well that is shaped to follow the curves your fingertips draw when you curl your fingers. The concave key well minimizes the finger motions you need to press a key, and so allows you to type faster and with less fatigue. Compared to a flat keyboard, a concave key well minimizes the need to move your palm.

Accessible Thumb Cluster

Glove80 has an innovative design for thumb keys. Our thumbs are our strongest digits and are underutilized on most keyboards. Unlike other thumb cluster designs, Glove80 offers comfortable access to 6 thumb keys per thumb so you can relieve the workload on other fingers, especially the pinkies. With 12 thumb keys altogether, the thumbs can handle the modifiers and other common non-alpha keys like space, return, delete and backspace.

For most people, of all the thumb joint motions, the flexion-extension motion (sweeping along roughly the palm plane) of the carpometacarpal (CMC) joint is the most comfortable and with the greatest reach. The CMC joint of the thumb is the joint located at the very base of the thumb. With a well-designed concave key well, the palm hardly ever has to move, so effectively the CMC thumb joint stays in one place. Glove80 is designed to take advantage of that, so that you can reach every thumb key simply by drawing an arc with the CMC joint as the center, without stretching your thumb or moving your palm much if at all.

How Everything Works Together

However there is more to the whole than just the parts. These Glove80 ergonomic features work together. Because the palm hardly ever had to move to reach the finger keys and the palm keys, a user could choose to rest the palms on the palm rests while typing, which allows the arms and shoulder to remain relaxed.

Glove80 is the result of 8 years of refinement with 500+ prototypes and ergonomic experiments by two keyboard warriors who wanted the best keyboard for themselves. If you would like to know more about the design journey of Glove80, check this out.