Full-sized TypeMatrix keyboard for better hotkey compatibility and comfort
  • ORFJackal April 2012

    Hi all. I'm a programmer and I've used the TypeMatrix 2030 keyboard (blank version) now for a couple of months at work. I like it, but it has a couple of caveats which I would like to be improved in a new TypeMatrix version:

    - The arrow keys and numpad are hard to find by just feeling them. Now it's slower for me to find them than on my old traditional keyboard, because I can't feel their shape. I would like them to be physically separate from the other keys, and shaped so that it's possible to _feel_ their location without looking at the keyboard. In other words, there should be some empty space around the arrows/numpad, and they should break free from TypeMatrix's rectangular matrix layout.

    - Some key combinations cannot be pressed, because some of the keys found from a regular keyboard are behind the Function key. For example in my programming environment one hotkey is Alt+Insert, which cannot be typed on TypeMatrix 2030 (instead I need to use the mouse). I would like a physical button for each standard key.

    - I don't care about the custom keys (media player controls, mail, www, calc etc.) so they can be removed, and their buttons could instead be used for the standard keys (insert, print screen, pause etc.).

    I've created a mockup of what kind of a keyboard I would like. You can see it here: http://pic.twitter.com/rgABtSsh Some details are not fine-tuned (for example I haven't thought about where to put the key which is left of "Z" in some keyboard layouts - I use Finnish/Swedish QWERTY), but I hope you get the basic idea. (Also the empty space in front of the keyboard could be used for a wrist support.)

    The main modifications in this mockup are:

    - Physical numpad, with a some empty space around it to make it easier to feel where it is when you move your hand there to use it. This helps in typing the numbers accurately and quickly.

    - Arrow keys with some empty space around them, so that it's easier to feel where they are when you move your hand to use them. I use the arrow keys very often (all programmers navigate in existing code more than they write new code), so they should be easy to reach. In this mockup they are reachable for both hands (I haven't tried it in action, but I hope it'll work well). One more idea is to put the Page Up/Down closer to the Arrows/Home/End, so that all navigation keys can be used together.

    - Removed all non-standard keys and replaced them with standard keys. Their locations are not too important, so they could also be in some other places, for example above the numpad (as long as there is some empty space all around the numpad).

    What do you think of a layout like this? Is there any hope of getting something like that produced?

  • ORFjackal - We like your revision and can definitely see that it would be helpful to some people, perhaps many, and as you say, especially programmers. If we had more financial backing, we would like to produce variations on our basic design, and we have a version that is very much like what you have proposed. However, it won't be happening through us in the near future. Sorry, but thanks for your feed back!


  • ORFJackal April 2012

    I'm sorry to hear about your financial backing status. Have you considered using Kickstarter?

  • KeithB May 2012

    That is a great mockup, and kickstarter is a great idea.
    I had been waiting for the new programmable version for ages, but since figuring out from a few forum posts how to use the Fn+F3 mode to reassign keys, (now English qwerty, formerly dvorak), I've got the thing tailored to my usage. Perhaps you may want to experiment for the alt-ins etc keys.

    My approach: Idea 1:
    Here's what my autohotkey.ahk file looks like now. Autohotkey runs on startup, and I merely hit Fn+F3, and the dvorak light lights, just like when I used to use dvorak.

    #SingleInstance force ; Do Not Double-Run
    #q::ExitApp ;=> Quit key (Windows key + q) to get out of this script

    ;=> TypeMatrix Keys when Fn+F3 is toggled on (& dvorak LED lights up)

    SC07B::Send ^c ; shuffle key becomes "copy"
    SC079::Send ^v ; desktop key becomes "paste"
    SC07D::Send {PrintScreen} ; calculator key becomes printscreen
    SC02B::Send {AppsKey} ; the mail key becomes a second context menu key
    SC070::Send {Insert} ; www becomes insert
    SC073::Send \ ; move \ back to where it's at under 102/103 mode
    +SC073::Send | ; move \ back to where it's at under 102/103 mode

    ;==> a couple of other personal reassignments
    Media_Play_Pause::Send #{Enter} ;runs my shortcut for "TextAnywhere" program
    CapsLock::^` ;capslock runs my shortcut keys for "Switcher" program (alt +`)

    Idea 2: I'm in the process of implementing this, but per a photo on the typematrix facebook page, I got a separate numeric keyboard, and am programming it for various things via autohotkey also.
    For your needs, just having a separate inexpensive numeric keyboard might solve your arrow keys problem.

  • Even a more-or-less bog-standard keyboard with TypeMatrix's straight keyboard grid would be a winner for me (and honestly, I think would be less intimidating that the 2030). I'm a Colemak user, which maps the CapsLock key to Backspace. This single improvement, coupled with physically separate cursor keys and numberpad, gives a standard keyboard the slight edge over a TypeMatrix for programming.

    I am constantly drawn back to my TypeMatrix. I love its small footprint, grid, and key feel. But inevitably I go back to my Microsoft Natural 4000 for the cursor keys and numberpad.

    Maybe I'll get a small separate numberpad, as suggested above. I'm also learning VIM, which more-or-less does away with the cursor keys. Maybe it will tip the balance for me.

  • @KoreyPeters:
    For occasional numberpad use, it only take a little getting used to holding function and using the embedded number pad. If you are a heavy numpad user though, you will likely need a separate numberpad.
    Regarding Colemak, we're selling a Colemak labeled skin for the 2030 now, it may be worth a try for you.


This discussion has been closed.
← All Discussions

Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Sign In Apply for Membership

In this Discussion