The keyboard design is fairly standard, but sometimes input devices appear that have a slightly unusual appearance - from keyless units to vertical and mirrored keyboards. We've rounded up the 14 wackiest keyboards available.
When it comes to keyboards, most input devices follow the commonly held standard for layout and design, based on the 101-key IBM Enhanced AT Keyboard (aka the 'Model M', sometimes known as The World's Greatest Keyboard). Keyboards following that standard have a qwerty layout, a flat or slightly inclined rectangular shape, and keys situated (for the most part) where long-time computer users expect them.
Nevertheless, some manufacturers try to ignore this design and use their own layout in particular when creating an ergonomic keyboard because, for some people, typing on a standard qwerty layout is too awkward and too hard to learn. We've rounded up the 14 wackiest keyboards, so take a look and see whether you'd find these input devices comfortable to use.
Manufacturer: Ergonomic-Interface Keyboard Systems
When it comes to weirdness, the SafeType inhabits a realm of its own. The motions used to manipulate this strange, ultra-ergonomic device suggest a bizarre underground tickling handshake used by Chicago bootleggers in the 'Roaring Twenties'. Check out the side mirrors designed to get around the slight problem that while using this keyboard you can't see what the hell you're doing.
Billed as the 'World's Best-Selling Vertical Keyboard', the £211 SafeType evidently towers above its competition. My own research corroborates the manufacturer's market-share claim: I couldn't find any other vertical keyboards.
Klingon Language standard keyboard
Manufacturer: ZF Electronics
This is it: the official keyboard of the Klingon Empire. All of the letters on this sleek black £44 keyboard are rendered in Klingon script, though curiously the numeric keys on the input device exactly match the Arabic numerals familiar to Western Earthlings; this suggests that pre-Contact Klingons had no concept of number.
In any event, native Klingons will surely appreciate being able to type their work without having to worry about awkward transliteration problems: "You've not truly experienced my research paper, Professor Johnson, until you've read it in the original Klingon."
iGrip ergonomic keyboard and trackball
Here we see a textbook example of runaway button proliferation. This handheld keyboard/trackball device has buttons for fingers you didn't even know you had. But fear not: the good people at Alphagrip are confident that you'll learn to type on the £70 iGrip Ergonomic Keyboard & Trackball in half the time it takes to learn to type on a qwerty keyboard. Plus, it enables you to indulge in ultra-lazy typing while slouched back in your superplush man-devouring recliner.
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