Inputs Of Interest: The Differently Dexterous DataHand Directionalizes Digits

If you had debilitating pain from repetitive stress injury in the 1990s, there were a lot of alternative keyboard options out there. One of the more eye-catching offerings was the DataHand keyboard made by DataHand Systems out of Phoenix, AZ. The DataHand debuted in 1993 with a price tag around $2,000. While this is admittedly pretty steep for the average consumer, it was well within the IT budgets of companies that wanted to avoid workman’s comp claims and keep their employees typing away.

In theory, this is holy grail territory for anti-RSI keyboards. The DataHand was designed to eliminate wrist motion altogether by essentially assigning a d-pad plus a regular push-down button to each finger. The layout resembles QWERTY as closely as possible and uses layers to access numbers, symbols, and other functions, like a rudimentary mouse.

Although if you put them this close together, you’re kind of missing the point. Image via Bill Buxton

Ergonomic to the Max

Typing on the DataHand is supposed to be next to effortless. The directional switches are all optical, which probably has a lot to do with the eye-popping price point. But instead of being spring-loaded, these switches use magnets to return to the neutral position.

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Shotgun Blast Lights Up Your Controller

[Jrfhoutx] makes gaming in the dark a bit easier with this backlight shotgun shell d-pad for an Xbox 360 controller. He’s building on another tutorial he posted showing how to use the brass base of a shotgun shell to replace the stock plastic direction pad. That hack uses most of the original plastic part, cutting it down a bit and capping it off with the shell base. But now he’s detailing the process used to add LEDs around the base. He picked surface mount 0603 packages which are first chained together, then held in place using hot glue. While you’re in there, give this rapid-fire mod a try as well.