Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Expensive, difficult, slightly dangerous, not particularly effective... I'm on a roll.

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Workout Keyboard

The ultimate RSI prevention tool.
  [vote for,

I'm sure we've all heard the story of how the QWERTY keyboard was purposefully designed in order to slow the typist down and thus prevent key jams on old mechanical typewriters. It's an anachronism which now has no place in this modern age, but still - try telling your fingers that. If you asked me what letter was on on the third row down, six buttons from the right on my keyboard, I wouldn't be able to tell you, but it's a sure thing my fingers would know.

And, chances are, if you're reading this, you probably already spend quite a bit of time hunched over your computer, fingers all a-flurry. Your digits are conveying boundless wit and wisdom, but your bum just grows number and number with each passing minute. Thus far, exercising your brain has resulted only in atrophy of the arse/ass. And uselessly dextrous fingers.

So, instead of a tiny finger-based keyboard, imagine a keyboard that consists of various pressure pads spread out over an entire wall or even a whole room. Instead of just a wee key on your keyboard, each letter and symbol is now an individual pressure pad, which, thanks to generous amounts of Blu-Tac or some other anchoring agent, can be placed anywhere you want. Each key is just a switch, after all.

Common letters, such as vowels, could be placed at about eye level on the wall, making it easy to pummel out a quick "aeiou (and sometimes y)" pretty quickly. Consonants would be more spread out, with the least-used being the hardest to hit - perhaps requiring a particularly impressive flying kick to nail a "z". It might be an idea to have many spacebar pads, interspersed amongst the other keys, just for added fluency.

If you want an especially high-impact workout - perhaps if you're writing a particularly angry email - you could reverse the positions, making the most commonly-used letters hardest to hit in rapid sequence. Suddenly you'll sweat over each and every word that you type, and thus your writing will become tighter and more focussed as you strain to hit each individual pad. Is it worth the effort of hammering out "lachrymose" when "tearful" will do? Suddenly your own stamina becomes your editor, and tortuous business double-speak ("I'll run this idea up the flag-pole and see who salutes", etc) becomes a thing of the past.

Smileys and other such pseudo-heiroglyphic monstrosities will each have their own separate pads, which will of course be situated in the most hard to get at corners of the room. Or perhaps even on the outside of the walls. A Zen-like physical peak of perfection would have to be reached in order to hit them; by which time, with perfect Zen logic, the user no longer wants to use them. Mostly because by that stage they're no longer thirteen years old, and they already have a hard-won knowledge of the worlds of grammar and actual spelling. 4 reel.

This would also have the added benefit of making poets and writers quite hard, because each word would be won by sheer physical effort. Useful in bar fights. "Hit him with a quatrain from one of Shakespeare's love sonnets!" A combination unrivalled in Tekken ensues. "Now a limerick to the chest!"

"That was a nasty pun to the face. Byron, as the winner of that bout, do you have any comments?"

"Well, he broke from the Iambic Pentameter when he made that "Yo Mama" quip on my ribs. After that, I saw red and went all CAPS-LOCK on his ass..."

lostdog, Apr 21 2004

Baked for game controller http://www.pwrgrid.com
Shoulder-high Kilowatt needs real muscle [timbeau, Oct 05 2004]


       If you could somehow make typing more than one exclamation point extremely hard, this may solve the overuse of exclamation marks, too!!!!!
ghillie, Apr 21 2004

       (+) I like it! I can just imagine playing an action-oriented computer game using this setup.   

       In order to press control-keys (not to mention Ctrl-Alt-Delete) you would need to team up with someone. Gives a whole new meaning to pair programming.   

       How would you replace the mouse, btw?
Brummo, Apr 22 2004

       Anything you can type I can type better... (tapity, tap, tapatap, skip, kick, turn) ::actions on walls:: +
sartep, Apr 22 2004

       While at university, a friend and I were doing some work in interactive design. We modified a keyboard into a wall mounted piece of art. Our aim was aesthetic/ergonomic pleasure, not physical workout, but the basic principal is the same. I prefer your idea... (+)
Cunninglinguist, Apr 22 2004

       Maybe this'll get the blood flowing in these automatons I'm surrounded by--maybe they really do have emotions! (wishful thinking) [+]
yabba do yabba dabba, Apr 22 2004

       Brummo - I did think about the mouse thing. The best I could come up with with a kind of strange biathlon, where the typist carries a low-powered air pistol in a hip- or shoulder-holster. On the wall behind the pads (or to the side, or wherever) is projected a large image of their computer screen. Sophisticated electronic gubbins translate a pellet hit on a projected icon into a single mouse click, two hits in quick sucession as a double-click, and a second trigger or button on the pistol would (a la the grenade laucher thingies you get on some guns) fire a larger pellet wich would function as a right click.   

       As to clicking and dragging - somehow the projected wall is able to tell the difference between a pellet and a hand (perhaps just through sensing a prolonged rather than a fleeting contact). From then on, it's a little like Tai - Chi. In a "wax on, wax off" kind of way.
lostdog, Apr 22 2004


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