This bundle of Kinesis products consists of a Freestyle2 Keyboard for PC (KB800PB-US or KB800PB-FC) and a Freestyle2 Keypad for PC and Mac (AC800HPB-US) or Mechanical Keypad for PC (AC210USB-BLK). The modular design permits the rearrangement of each component to any desired location in the workspace as needs change throughout the day. A left handed configuration as pictured is one of many possibilities. In addition to the freedom of placement arising from the modular design, the Freestyle2 Keyboard also offer a number of unique ergonomic features that provide even more configuration options to address a wide range of ergonomic risk factors.
Eliminates Overreaching for the Mouse - The Freestyle2 enables individuals to keep the mouse or other pointing device right beside the right or left edge of the keyboard. Keeping the mouse well within the comfort zone, can greatly reduce the potential for shoulder, neck and wrist pain to arise from repeatedly reaching over the number pad for the mouse. Right-handed individuals with conventional keyboards are required to reach 12" or more for the mouse. The symmetrical, compact design of the Freestyle2 reduces this reach to under 6" for both left- and right-handed users.) Learn More About Overreaching.
Eliminates Ulnar Deviation and Associated Risks - The modular design of the Freestyle2 means that individuals no longer have to bend their wrists to an awkward angle in order to align to the keyboard. Rather, they can now either spread the two keyboard halves far enough apart to maintain a perfectly neutral alignment, or can use a combination of both "spread" and "splay" to achieve a more neutral alignment of the hands and forearms. Awkward wrist alignment has been associated with reduced circulation to the hands, pressure on the median nerve and may possibly contribute to the development of associated RSI. Learn More About Ulnar Deviation.
Reduces Wrist Extension - Most standard keyboards are positively inclined (i.e. the number row is higher than the space bar). A positive inclination forces one to lift their hands by bending up at the wrists. Maintaining the hands in this position strains the wrists and the muscles along the top of the hands and the forearms. The Freestyle2, even without added accessories, has a neutral, low-profile design (7/8") with 0° slope. The keycaps are actually negatively inclined at 10°. The result is an overall negative slope that helps to reduce wrist (and finger) extension when using this keyboard. Learn More About Wrist Extension.
Facilitates Relaxed Position with Maximum Circulation - Complete separation of both left and right keyboard modules encourages anatomically neutral and relaxed positioning of the shoulders, elbow, arms and wrists, greatly reducing the risk of pain and discomfort caused by shoulder rotation, elbow abduction, and ulnar deviation. Learn More About Ergonomic Risk Factors and Sources of Injury.
Reduces Finger Strain and Fatigue - Tactile, low-force membrane keyswitches reduce the amount of effort required to type, benefiting all typists, regardless of their level.
Can Eliminate Wrist Extension - With the addition of the Palm Support Accessory, the potential for wrist extension is effectively eliminated, whether the keyboard is used flat or tented with the VIP3 Accessory. Learn More About Correct Usage of Palm Supports.
Can Decrease Forearm and Wrist Pronation - When a tenting accessory is attached (either the V3 Accessory or the VIP3 Accessory), the Freestyle2 Keyboard offers the option of typing with the palms slightly facing each other, rather than in the traditional "palms down" position that can often lead to fatigue or pain in the hands, wrists, elbows and arms. Both tenting accessories raise the inside edge of each keyboard module, offering tented angles of 5°, 10° and 15°. The V3 permits tenting alone; the VIP3 offers tenting combined with integrated palm supports. Learn More About Pronation.
Readily Accommodates Individual Needs and Body Types - The Freestyle2 Keyboard can be configured to meet the unique needs and preferences of most individuals, whether tall or short, broad-shouldered or of slight build.
Can Support Vertical Typing Positions - With the addition of the Ascent Accessory, the Freestyle2 provides an option for those whose forearm pain is unusually severe, or whose arm may be immobilized due to injury. The Ascent Accessory permits each half of the keyboard to be tented in 10° increments from 20° all the way to a fully vertical 90°. (Note: for the majority of people there is little ergonomic benefit to typing in a fully vertical position. Those who choose this option must be touch typists (as they will be unable to see the keys), and they must have arm support while typing to avoid straining the muscles of the shoulders and upper back.) Learn More About Pronation.
Narrow Foot Print for Comfortable Mousing and Keying: At only 15.375" wide the Freestyle Solo provides for close placement of any pointing device reducing over reach issues. By placing a numeric keypad to the left of the keyboard the mouse can be moved much closer to the keyboard, signficantly reduced the reach required.
Double-wide Keys: The keyboard features double-wide Delete and Escape keys, providing an easier target.
Familiar Key Layout: Familiar key layout provides for minimal adaptation time for experienced typists.
Quiet, Tactile Key Switches: The Freestyle2 features quiet, low-force, tactile membrane keyswitches. Rated at 10 million actuations the keyswitches on the Freestyle2 require only 45 grams of force, significantly reducing the effort required to activate each key and below that of most common keyboards and even below that of many other advertised ergonomic models.
Detached Numeric Keypad: The Freestyle2 Keyboard can be paired with two different stand-alone numeric keypads that can be placed to optimize the workspace. The Freestyle2 Keypad for PC and Mac exactly matches the Freestyle 2 in appearance and feel. Those who do heavy numeric entry may wish to consider the Mechanical Keypad for PC which offers high quality mechanical keyswitches rated for 50 million actuations. This keypad has a higher profile than the Freestyle2 keyboard.
Both of the numeric pads above offer additional special functions not available on integrated or embedded numeric keypads.
Variable Separation: The two halves of the Freestyle2 can be separated up to 9" apart, a range that is sufficient for most. A 20" separation is also available for those with broader shoulders, or for use with the Ascent Accessory.
Sleek, Ultra-Low Profile Design: The Freestyle2 has a substantially thinner and narrower design than most ergonomic keyboards, with a height of only 7/8" and a width of 15.375".
Browser, Editing, and Multimedia Hot Keys: Easily accessible, driverless hot keys offer the option of decreasing the number of mouse clicks and increasing productivity. These hot keys include volume control and mute keys, a calculator key, commonly used browser functions such as forward, back and home, and application functions such as cut, copy and paste. Hot keys on the inside columns have vertical raised ridges to provide tactile feedback and maintain positional awareness when using these keys outside the regular alphanumeric areas.
Embedded Numeric Keypad: In place of the separate numeric keypad found on traditional keyboards (which places the mouse outside of the comfort zone for right-handed individuals) the Freestyle2 provides a numeric keypad embedded into the right-hand module as a second layer. Along with the number keys on the top row of the keyboard, this embedded number pad is an effective option for numeric input. (Note: Standalone numeric keypads are available as optional accessories for those whose work involves numeric data entry. Look for these in the Numeric Keypads category.)
Pivot Tether: The left and right modules of the keyboard can be connected on the top edge by the Pivot Tether. With the Pivot Tether attached, the keyboard can be splayed at the pivot point (forming an 'A' shape), rather than fully separated. (Note, however, that this configuration sacrifices many of the ergonomic benefits of complete separation.)
VIP3 Accessory: When installed on the Freestyle2 the optional VIP3 accessory facilitates tenting of the keyboard halves by 5°, 10°, or 15°. The VIP3 accessory also includes detachable palm supports with replaceable palm pads. Although the palm supports can be used alone without the VIP3 tenting modules, they must be attached when using the VIP3 tenting modules.
V3 Accessory: The optional V3 accessory can accomplish the same tenting angles of 5°, 10° or 15° as does the VIP3 accessory. However the V3 accessory is not equipped with palm supports and is better suited for use where there is limited depth for the keyboard or where a central pointing device is in use. Note: Palm Supports cannot be used with the V3 accessory nor can the V3 be combined with Palm Supports to mimic the VIP3. If palm supports are desired then the VIP3 Accessory should be purchased.
Palm Supports: Palm supports come as part of the VIP3 accessory or can be added as an accessory by themselves. They cannot, however, be used when using the V3 accessory. Therefore, if both palm supports and tenting are required, the VIP3 accessory should be selected. If tenting without palm supports is required, get the V3 accessory. If no tenting is required, the Palm Supports Accessory should be selected. The Palm Supports Accessory also includes optional cushioned palm pads covered in Lycra for extra comfort.
Ascent Accessory: The optional Ascent accessory when installed on the Freestyle2 Keyboard creates variable tenting ranging from 20° to 90° (in 10° increments). The Ascent accessory can also be used with the optional palm supports, particularly at angles 20°, 30° and 40°. At angles higher than 40° an alternative method of arm support will be required.
Images (Click on any thumbnail to view larger image)
Freestyle2 - with Matching Freestyle2 Numeric Keypad for PC
Freestyle2 - with Low Force Tactile Numeric Keypad
Freestyle2 - Compact configuration
Freestyle2 - Splayed configuration
Freestyle2 - With 20" separation cable
Freestyle2 with VIP3 accessory
Freestyle2 with V3 accessory
Freestyle2 with Ascent accessory
Freestyle2 with Palmrest accessory
Freestyle Palm Rest accessory
Freestyle2 side profile
Side profile comparison between Freestyle2 and original Freestyle Solo
Animated Demonstration: This short animation shows how the Freestyle2 Keyboard and Accessory Kits work together.
Atlas Ergonomics White Paper: Published in March 2010 by Atlas Ergonomics of Grand Haven, MI., this white paper reports on that company's intensive five-month study of a split keyboard design. The Freestyle Solo (the predecessor to the Freestyle2) plus the compatible VIP Accessory, was chosen for the project. Researchers studied the impact of the Freestyle Keyboard’s split design on the posture, discomfort, and performance of approximately 80 software manufacturing extremities employees, focusing in particular on the positions of the hands and upper during keyboard use. The study found that 92% of participants used the Freestyle in its split configuration, rather than splayed (i.e. with the two modules connected at the pivot point). The degree of ulnar deviation was reduced across all BMI levels and body types with no reduction in performance for the duration of the study. At the end of the study 96% of participants said they preferred the Freestyle over their previous keyboard.
"An Evaluation of a Totally Split Compact Keyboard and its Impact on Posture, Discomfort, and Performance" by Atlas Ergonomics, is 21 pages long and available in .pdf format.
Package Contents: Freestyle2 Keyboard for PC with 9" cable (either US English or Canadian French Bilingual), Pivot Tether, User Manual and either the Freestyle2 Keypad for PC and Mac or the Mechanical Keypad for PC
Make sure the keyboard is properly positioned. Sit in your usual position at your desk and gently square your shoulders. Allow your upper arms to relax to your waist. Lift your forearms at the elbow and extend your fingers so that there is a straight line from your elbow through the centre of your wrist to your middle finger. Place the two halves of the keyboard on your desk or keyboard tray such that your arms and hands can maintain this position as you type. The modules ought to be shoulder width apart.
Place the mouse on the side of your dominant hand. For most people, the compact design of the keyboard will bring the mouse close enough to the body. However, if your pain is more severe, you can prevent even more movement at the affected shoulder by positioning the mousing side of the keyboard closer to the centre of your body, and then turning it slightly so that your arm can remain perpendicular as you type. You will then be able to reach the mouse with very limited involvement of the shoulder muscles.
Become familiar with your numeric keypad and find what layout is most comfortable for you.
Consider the Palm Support Accessory if you would like Palm Supports, but don't need to tent the keyboard.
Consider the V3 Accessory if you need to tent the keyboard, but don't want palm supports. The V3 Accessory can tent the Freestyle2 to 5°, 10° or 15°. Note that the V3 Accessory cannot be used in conjunction with the Palm Supports. Common situations where this accessory is recommended include using the Freestyle2 on a keyboard tray, or with an inline pointing device that has non-removable Palm Supports.
Consider the versatile VIP3 Accessory if you need to tent the keyboard, and also want palm supports. The VIP3 Accessory tents the keyboard modules by 5°, 10° or 15° and comes with removable Palm Supports included.
Consider the Ascent Accessory only if you must type with your hands in a more than 15° vertical orientation. (Note that you must be a skilled touch typist to use this more extreme solution effectively.) The Ascent Accessory can be used with Palm Supports (sold separately) at angles up to 40°. The 20" separation cable is typically recommended for this accessory, as it provides the needed flexibility. An optional linking plate (included with this accessory) may be used to connect the two tenting modules if desired for increased stability.
Note: Angles beyonds 40° will require some kind of forearm support to maintain the hands in an appropriate position.