Canadian keyboard specialists Matias on Friday released their new Dvorak Keyboard for PC and Mac—a USB keyboard with an onboard switch hardwired to the Dvorak layout.
“The nice thing about this new Matias Dvorak Keyboard is that it’s easily switchable. You just push a button,” said Matias CEO Edgar Matias. “This makes it easier for Dvorak and non-Dvorak typists to share the same equipment. If your spouse, co-workers, or lab mates do not share your love of Dvorak, this keyboard will keep everyone happy.”
Dvorak Keyboard History
Dvorak is claimed to be a more efficient, faster, and more comfortable keyboard map than the standard QWERTY layout, with 70 percent of the most commonly-used letters positioned in the home row. By comparison, QWERTY has only 32 percent of those letters in the home row. Consequently, your fingers move less, and it’s contended that typing is consequently less work on a Dvorak keyboard.
The classic QWERTY keyboard design was patented by Christopher Sholes in 1868 and sold to the Remington typewriter company in 1873. The story goes (disputed by some as urban myth) that Sholes’ objective in choosing such a seemingly chaotic letter layout was in order to accommodate a mechanical deficiency of early mechanical typewriters, to wit: when certain key sequences were struck in rapid succession, the type bars frequently jammed, so it is asserted that QWERTY’s inherent inefficiencies were intentional, designed to actually slow typists down in the interest of avoiding such jams.
The QWERTY workaround positioned the keys most likely to be hit sequentially on opposite sides of the keyboard, deliberately making the keyboard slow, or so the legend goes. It’s also at least a notable coincidence that that the letters to spell “typewriter” all appear in the QWERTY top row.
In 1936 a different keyboard layout was patented by University of Washington Professor August Dvorak, who claimed it to be much faster than QWERTY. Two other purported advantages of the Dvorak keyboard are that more typing is done from the home row of the keyboard (as aforementioned 70% vs. 32%) and fewer words are typed with just one hand. The Dvorak key layout is designed to correspond, roughly, with frequency of use; all five vowels are activated by the left hand, while five of the most common consonants are manipulated by the right hand. Most famously used by Apple co-founder, Steve Wozniak, the Dvorak layout is claimed to reduce typing fatigue and increase typing speeds.
The world record for fastest typing was set using a Dvorak keyboard by Barbara Blackburn of Salem, Oregon, who achieved cruising speeds of 150 to 170 words per minute, and peak speeds of 212 wpm or 17+ key presses per second.
For more information on Dvorak, here are some resources:
- Dvorak International
PO Box 11985
Eugene, Oregon 97440-4185
Web sites: www.dvorakint.org
Matias Dvorak Keyboard for PC and Mac
The Matias Dvorak Keyboard gives you the Dvorak layout, hardwired right into the keyboard, an approach that offers advantages software-based Dvorak solutions can’t offer.
For example, software Dvorak layouts may not take effect until after you log in, so if you need to type a password, you’re stuck typing it in QWERTY. With the Matias Dvorak Keyboard, you’ll never have this problem.
You also can switch to QWERTY on the fly using the keyboard’s layout selection key that lets you instantly & easily switch the layout to standard QWERTY and back, for those times when non-Dvorak typists want to use the computer.
The keyboard is labelled with both Dvorak and QWERTY key legends, so you can easily see which key is which.
The Matias Dvorak Keyboard’s high-quality dome (membrane) keyswitches give the keyboard a responsive, tactile feel, with enough resistance to hold the weight of your hands, and since your fingers work less on Dvorak, you’re presumably less likely to develop repetitive strain injuries from typing on one. Matias claims that RSI sufferers who switch to Dvorak commonly report their pain disappearing after a few months of use.
The keyboard also has a built-in 2-port USB that hub lets you connect your mouse or trackball directly to the keyboard, keeping your desk neat and tidy—a feature that used to be common on computer keyboards, but that has largely fallen by the wayside in recent years.
- Computer with USB port.
- Compatible with Windows 7, Vista, XP, 2000, Linux, and Mac OS X or Mac OS 9.
- 18.7 x 6.8 x 1.4 inches
- (47.5 x 17.3 x 3.5 cm)
- 1.65 lb. (750 g)
- 5 feet (1.5 m)
- 1 year limited warranty
At $99.95 (US) suggested retail price, the Matias Dvorak Keyboard is available now from www.matias.ca and select Matias Authorized Resellers.
Product [Dvorak Keyboard]