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BAT Keyboard is a one-handed, compact input device that replicates all the functions of a full-size keyboard, but with greater efficiency and convenience. The BAT is easy to learn and use. Letters, numbers, commands and macros are simple key combinations, "chords," that you can master in no time. Best of all the BAT's unique ergonomic design reduces hand strain and fatigue for greater comfort and productivity. The BAT is the ultimate typing solution for persons with physical or visual impairments and is proven to increase productivity when used with graphic or desktop publishing software.
Best Uses for the BAT Keyboard
The BAT Personal Keyboard has applicability in any computing environment, especially those using the keyboard with a mouse or other input device. The keyboard is the perfect solution for computer aided drafting, desktop publishing, graphics design and other uses such as accounting, telemarketing, or customer service. It is excellent in applications requiring only one hand. The current trend in ergonomic keyboards (splitting and separating the QWERTY keyboard) makes the BAT keyboard even more compelling for single-handed use.
It is light weight and compact, takes little desk space and can easily be transported. Take the BAT keyboard with you as your personal keyboard. Use it with your laptop as a remote keyboard. It is convenient and flexible. Use the BAT keyboard in any comfortable typing position, including the arm of your chair or your lap. Use it alone, in pairs, and with other input devices, such as a traditional keyboard, a mouse or a design tablet.
The BAT Personal Keyboard was developed over ten years of research by an internationally renowned human factors expert. Both the chord set and the physical design of keyboard are the results of that research. Each BAT keyboard is capable of entering all characters and functions of a traditional keyboard (plus many more) with only seven keys! Data is entered by "chording": pressing a key or combination of keys simultaneously. Chords are easy to learn in about an hour. Moderate proficiency is gained in less than 10 hours, much less than with traditional keyboards. Most people achieve 30-50 wpm. Actual learning performance varies with individuals.
Using the BAT Keyboard for CAD
The BAT Personal Keyboard, developed by Infogrip, Inc., has gained a large following of devoted fans in the world of Computer Aided Drafting. This revolutionary ergonomic keyboard allows full keyboard entry with one hand while the other is using a pointing device; greatly reducing hand and finger movement as well as permitting the user to keep their eyes focused on the monitor.
The BAT Keyboard compresses all the functions of a traditional keyboard into a seven-key unit the size of a hand. With one key for each finger and three color-coded keys for the thumb, users press key combinations, "chords" to type on the BAT.
CAD users typically have very little desk top space, forcing them to crowd multiple items into a small area. The BAT Keyboard’s innovative compact design (only one-third the size of a standard keyboard) frees up valuable work space. Additionally, the BAT eliminates both the need to look away from the screen and the travel needed when moving from a mouse or digitizer to a traditional keyboard, thus enhancing the users productivity. While also reducing hand and arm movement providing a more healthy ergonomic work environment.
Joe Kovalski of Accurate Design in Ventura, California uses the BAT Keyboard for CAD applications and finds it indispensable. "I keep one hand on the mouse and one hand on the BAT (Keyboard), I’ve memorized the keystrokes for the commands I use a lot, and it’s a lot faster than looking for those letters on a traditional keyboard."
David Satchell a plant engineer with a computer manufacturing company in Austin, Texas quickly took to the BAT and loves it. "I thought it would be difficult to learn, but I found it to be easier than learning to use a regular keyboard. All your fingers stay in the same place." Satchell said he had "always been uncomfortable at a regular keyboard," and finds that using the BAT Keyboard in conjunction with a mouse helps him work faster in Auto-CAD.
The BAT Keyboard is available for both PC compatible and Macintosh computers as well as having an option of left- or right-hand. (The left-hand model is the most popular.) The PC compatible is a "plug and play" keyboard, no driver is required. The Macintosh model plugs into the ADB port and comes with a software driver.
Other features include
Flexibility. Can be used alone, in pairs, with a traditional keyboard and/or with a mouse, digitizer or other pointing device.
Ergonomic design. Reduces strain and fatigue commonly associated with prolonged use of traditional keyboards and keyboard/input device travel.
Both PC and Macintosh models can be daisy-chained with another BAT Keyboard and/or a traditional keyboard. All can be used simultaneously.
Portability. Just 16 ounces and the size of a hand. The PC model comes with a lithium battery allowing the user to download macros to the BAT giving them the power of customized macros where ever they go.
An Alternative Keyboard for Artists
Not all works of art begin with the stroke of a brush. While walking through such places as the Art Institute of Chicago, the Whitney Museum or the Guggenheim, you may find one artist who paints to a different beat.
Ron Gorchov, based in New York City, first sketches his paintings on his computer with the help of the BAT Personal Keyboard by Infogrip, Inc. before the paint ever touches the canvas.
The BAT, a one-handed, seven key unit, allows your eyes to stay focused on the screen rather than on your hands. Gorchov had used the alternative keyboard for three of his past exhibitions. "My hand never gets tired with the BAT because I use it just like I would play a piano ...I’m not constrained," said Gorchov.
The BAT, which is ergonomically designed, can be placed in any location which adds comfort and mobility whereas a traditional keyboard is placed in front of the user. Although Gorchov’s computer screen is about 20 inches wide, the BAT can be used to interpret paintings of vast scales, even 20 feet.
With the help of the BAT, artists like Gorchov and graphic designers are going beyond the ability of the brush and bringing the basics right to their keyboard.
The BAT Keyboard and Disabilities
The BAT Personal Keyboard is a fully functioning keyboard for one hand. It’s innovative, compact design is ideal for individuals with physical or visual impairments. The keyboard’s small size allows user’s to easily port the BAT from home to work or school as well as place the keyboard in the most comfortable position to meet their needs.
An input system called "chording" is used to type on the BAT. Similar to Braille combinations of keys are pressed simultaneously. The BAT has seven keys, four for the fingers and three for the thumb. The center thumb key is used in combination with the four finger keys to type "space" and "a" through "z". The two outer thumb keys are used for special keys like "Alt", "Shift" and cursor movement. "Sticky" or "latching" keys are used to enter multiple key sequences, i.e. Alt F to open a file.
The BAT is a keyboard, it is not a mouse. However, all cursor movements can be achieved and with Windows ’95 and System 7 for Macintosh users can turn the keypad into a mouse. If a pointing device is desired, most users mount a portable Glidepoint touchpad (available from Infogrip) just above the thumb keys or place a trackball or mouse on the low side of the BAT, thereby minimizing hand movement.
Users can do anything on the BAT keyboard that they would with an extended keyboard and more.
TYPES OF USERS
Amputation of a hand or arm
Congenital absence or malformation of a hand or arm
Physical injury or nerve damage to a hand or arm
Limited range of motion from a physical injury
Head injury resulting in hemiplegia (paralysis on one side only)
The BAT is an excellent keyboard for people who have good use of only one hand or limited range of motion. Users need to have fairly good control of finger movements on the functional hand; however, the BAT keyboard is forgiving and key action can easily be adjusted to meet an individuals needs.
There is conclusive evidence that the lateral movements required to type on an extended keyboard causes Repetitive Stress Injuries in two handed users. Typing one handed on an extended keyboard is not only slow, it can increase the physical stress put on the hand, wrist and arm. One handed keyboard layouts only minimally cut down the distance needed to travel; the user still has to access 101 individual keys. The key distance the one hand user has to travel on an extended keyboard is double or triple what a two hand user has to cover.
The BAT is a third of the size of an extended keyboard. There is no key distance to travel on the BAT because all of the keys are under the fingers. The physical design is superior for one handed users; the keys are a light tension spring, the keyboard is naturally sloped and has a built in hand rest to encourage proper hand placement and is so small and light weight that it can be placed in the most comfortable and healthy position for the user.
Individuals with visual impairments often have difficulty learning and using an extended keyboard. Locating the keys is frustrating and time consuming especially with a mouse or other input device added to the equation. Physical stress on the back, neck and eyes can also result from individuals with severe visual impairments hunching over the keyboard and back again to the monitor to visually confirm where their fingers are and what they are doing.
All the keys are right under the users hand with the BAT. Location is not an issue. The user can quickly and easily locate the home row. This eliminates any need to look at the keyboard and allows the user to stay focused on the monitor as well as easily use a mouse with the free hand.
Like those with visual impairment many blind individuals encounter problems with correctly locating their fingers on an extended keyboard. Locating the home row can be frustrating and time consuming. Incorrect positioning can result in errors.
Since the BAT keyboard only has seven keys, finger location is not a problem. The user can easily feel the home row. This saves time usually spent to properly position the hands on an extended keyboard and decreases the number of errors from incorrect location. The BAT keyboard frees the other hand to access Braille text or a keypad to navigate a screen reader.
Ability to access the entire extended keyboard with only one hand
Very little hand and arm movement required to type
Ergonomically designed to position the hand in the most comfortable position
Easy to use -
IBM Compatible - Just plug and play, easily connected through the keyboard port, no driver required
Macintosh Compatible - connects through the ADB port and requires a small software driver (98k) be installed
Daisy chainable - Both IBM and Macintosh compatible versions allow for an extended keyboard to be plugged directly into the BAT and used simultaneously allowing other users to access the computer
Compact and light weight - The small size allows for easy placement in any position; i.e. desk top, lap, or mounted on a wheel chair
Easy to learn - The learning curve has been shown to be shorter than that of the QWERTY (extended) keyboard. The chord design was based on research which considered a frequency of use character index, the biomechanical action required to chord, and the cognitive process required to remember the chord combination.
Learning time - Within only a couple of hours of training users are familiar with the idea or feeling of what it is like to chord and have the letters, numbers and basic punctuation memorized. After only 20 to 30 hours users are up to speed, typing anywhere from 301 to 50 words per minute.
The Ergonomics of Typing
Many people ask about the ergonomics of typing and if the BAT Personal Keyboard reduces Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. We can not make any conclusive statements. But, we have assembled some general information that may be of interest to our customers.
This article discusses some of the ergonomic considerations of keyboard design as they relate to long term use. It describes cumulative trauma disorders (CTD's), repetitive strain injuries (RSI's) and factors contributing to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Many factors contribute to CTD's and the experts do not agree fully on the causes. This subject is controversial and hotly debated. We will attempt to stick to commonly accepted principles in the subject area.
Cumulative trauma disorders (CTD's) can be described as additive tissue damage accumulating over time. These are referred to as repetitive strain injuries, overuse syndrome, regional musculoskeletal disorders, or other names. Symptoms may surface over time in varying degrees, from mild discomfort to acute pain. CTD’s occur in situations where people perform repetitive manual tasks and are subjected to shock, vibration, and strain. Examples may include the use of hand tools, loading and unloading factory machinery, picking and placing operations, and most recently, operating computer keyboards and mice. We will focus on keyboards.
Cumulative traumas, as they relate to typing on keyboards, originate from shocks and strains. It is important to note that each of these is very small. CTD’s are the accumulation of these shocks over many hours of typing per day, 5 days per week, 50 weeks per year, and so on. Shock is the vibration or impact that the finger feels as it pushes a key. Examples include the shock the finger feels when it first contacts the key, the shock produced by a tactile feed-back "click" in the key, and the shock the finger feels when a key bottoms on its stroke. The shock varies with how hard an individual types. "Heavy handed" typists create more shock than individuals with a light touch, as the key impact and key bottoming is greater.
Strains result from finger exertion and the reaching and stretching of the fingers. The force of exertion is determined by the spring rate of the keys. Keys that have stiffer springs are harder to push, and therefore create greater finger exertion. The reach and stretch of the fingers to the various key positions are called "trajectories". It is believed that trajectories may contribute to the strain of the tendons of the hand and the Median nerve.
The carpal tunnel is a canal in the wrist that contains the median nerve and the hand tendons. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is the symptom of pain, numbness, and/or tingling felt in the wrist, fingers, and arm caused by excessive repetitive motion of the tendons within the carpal tunnel, causing irritation, then swelling, then pressure on the median nerve. To alleviate this condition, considerable emphasis has been placed by experts on the correct posture of the forearm, wrist and hand when typing. This includes work station and keyboard design.
Constrained posture is believed to contribute to RSI. Work station design plays a key role in reducing the risk by correcting posture. This includes properly equipping and adjusting chairs, desk heights, lighting and glare, and accessories such as document holders and wrist rests for the individual user. The workstation, when properly adjusted, should produce a posture where the arms and hands extend naturally from the torso and are not rotated (pronation) or turned (ulnar deviation) beyond certain limits. The traditional keyboard design does not fit well within these guidelines. It requires the hands to be placed flat (pronation) and close together. Placing the hands close together causes the typist to turn the hands outward (ulnar deviation). A better solution is a keyboard that allows the hands to be separated at a comfortable width and with the hands at a more natural angle with the thumbs elevated.
Summarizing, there are widely argued opinions about the contributing factors of these disorders, but the most widely accepted related to keyboard use include:
1. Pronation - the inward rotation of the forearm and hand from a vertical/thumbs up orientation.
2. Ulnar Deviation - the turning of the hand out of horizontal alignment with the forearm (i.e. the bending of the wrist toward the pinkie).
3. Wrist Support - proper wrist support is important for two reasons: a) to remove the weight of the arm from the shoulders; and b) to provide proper height of the wrist to the key-tops for proper hand posture.
4. Positioning - the hands should be comfortably apart to relieve wrist extension and elbows should be bent at 90° .
5. Frequency of Use - Disorders are cumulative. The less one uses each finger, the better.
6. Key effort - Light key pressures cause less strain, impact shock and fatigue over time, but can contribute to key "bottoming".
7. Tactile click - the tactile click preferred by most typists is considered a poor choice in that the click produces small shock waves up the fingers to the tendons in the hand.
8. Trajectories - the directed reach the fingers perform to type the upper, lower, left, and right keys for each finger.
9. Resting Periods - rest periods and task variety can reduce the risks of CTD’s. Warm- up and periodic exercises of the neck, shoulders, wrists and hands are also recommended.
10. Constrained Posture -
can be corrected by an adjusted workstation. ANSI Standard HFS-100 (1988) provides comprehensive list of recommendations.
The BAT Personal Keyboard addresses most of these issues. Pronation is improved by the 15° inclined typing surface. Ulnar deviation is eliminated by rotating the BAT to a proper angle for typing. The built-in wrist pad comfortably supports the arm to relax the shoulders and to provide proper finger posture when typing. Hand positioning is accomplished by moving the BAT in or out from the center of your body.
The BAT keyboard uses specially designed springs and non-tactile keys in the keyboard. This produces a low impact, light touch for long term use. The BAT keyboard only has seven keys and uses a typing technique called chording, combinations of keys are pressed simultaneously. This method minimizes finger and hand movement, reducing hand, wrist and arm strain.
Resting periods and workstation are the responsibility of the individual and are not addressable by keyboard design. Infogrip recommends regular typing breaks, a properly equipped and adjusted workstation and stretching exercises before, during, and after typing. (Suggested exercises are readily available at your local ergonomic office furniture supplier.) Switching to the BAT Keyboard may extend comfortable working sessions and reduce the risk of cumulative trauma disorders.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: HOW DO YOU TYPE ON IT?
A: The BAT Personal Keyboard is comfortable and easy to use. Your hand rests naturally on the built-in wrist pad, with the fingers over the four "home" keys and the thumb over the three thumb keys. You type using a technique called chording: pressing combinations of keys simultaneously. All of the keys of an extended keyboard can be typed on the BAT keyboard, with only one hand.
Q: HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO LEARN?
A: Learning varies with individuals. Most people learn the alphabet and numbers in about an hour, but usually not more than two hours. The tutorial, in the manual we provide, walks you through the alphabet at your own pace. Once you become familiar with the chords (chords are the finger combinations used to type), you can refer to the convenient Reference Guide which has all the commonly used chords on a single two-sided sheet. Then, just start typing!
Q: HOW CAN IT BE THAT FAST?
A: The BAT Personal Keyboard is easy to learn. In touch typing, we are taught to start with our fingers on the home keys. After some hours of practice, we are introduced to keys in positions other than the home keys. Many more hours of practice are required to memorize the proper finger positions for each letter. In short, you must learn two levels of subconscious decision making when typing: which finger to push and where to put the finger before you push it. This complexity is avoided with the BAT keyboard. Since your fingers are always on the home keys, it is a simple matter of learning which fingers to push to correctly type the alphabet.
Q: HOW FAST WILL I BE ABLE TO TYPE?
A: Typing speed varies with individuals. We know touch typists who type over 100 words per minute and some that never achieve more than 35 wpm. Our customers report typing speeds of between 30 to 50 wpm with one hand. Two important points: first, the BAT is not designed to be a high speed keyboard, its value is derived from other features. Second, having been available for a short time, no one yet has spent the thousands of hours that touch typists have invested with the traditional "QWERTY" keyboard. Therefore, although reported typing speeds are satisfactory, especially with one hand, we have not seen the limits to chord typing speeds.
Q: WILL I HAVE TO GIVE UP MY TOUCH TYPING SKILLS?
A: No. It has been shown that the chord method of typing is a different skill than touch typing. Fast touch typists are no better off than hunt and peck typists when learning to type with the BAT Personal Keyboard. If you are an accomplished touch typist, you don't have to give up your QWERTY keyboard. Just plug it in to the BAT and use it, too. Some customers do high speed typing with their QWERTY, then use the BAT for document editing.
Q: WHICH MACINTOSH COMPUTERS ARE COMPATIBLE WITH THE BAT?
A: The Macintosh model is compatible with Macintosh computers. The BAT uses a keyboard driver to function and plugs into the ADB port of your Macintosh.
Q: WHICH PERSONAL COMPUTERS ARE COMPATIBLE WITH THE BAT?
A: The PC model is compatible with IBM PC AT, PS/2 or higher and 100% compatible computers. The model requires no software to operate. Simply plug it into the keyboard port of your computer and begin enjoying the advantages of a free hand!
Q: WILL THE BAT Personal keyboard HELP CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME?
A: Many factors can contribute to cumulative trauma disorders, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, like proper adjustment and use of equipment and keyboards. Several specific factors have been attributed to keyboards, such as forearm posture and "key-push" effort. Many of these factors were considered when designing the BAT Personal Keyboard. No medical research has been conducted to know the specific answer to this question.
Q: WHAT IF THERE IS A PROBLEM OR THE BAT keyboard DOESN'T WORK FOR MY APPLICATION?
A: Infogrip provides full technical support to assist you in any phase of installation and use. Registered owners get upgrade offers as they become available. We are so confident that the BAT keyboard will exceed your expectations that we offer an unconditional 30 day money back guarantee. The keyboard is covered by a one year warranty.