Microsoft Unveils User-Friendly Windows 8 Keyboards

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft has unveiled new mouse and keyboard packages that feature special keys designed to make accessing Windows 8 features easier. The unusual-looking accessories are also designed to combat carpal tunnel syndrome and other injuries.

The package, known as 'Sculpt Ergonomic', includes a mouse, a keyboard, and a separate number pad. The keyboard has a large wristpad, but the keys themselves are arranged in two blocks angled towards one another.

The four rows of numbers and keys are split about a third of the way across (between the 6 and 7 keys, the T and Y keys, and so on), with a gap of an inch or so between.

The idea is that this makes it easier to type with your arms at a more natural angle and your wrists straight rather than bent. Those who've tested the keyboard say it works well, though in some cases you'll need to change the hand you normally use to type a particular key, such as 6. (Source:

The mouse, meanwhile, features an unorthodox curved shape with space to rest your thumb. The idea is to stop users having to rest so much of their wrist on a desk, which can cause an unnatural bend and result in injuries.

Number Pad Kept Separate

The number pad is kept separate for two reasons: first, you can place it anywhere on your desk, meaning you can keep your mouse closer to the main keyboard, cutting down on unnecessary arm movements.

Second, if you don't use the number pad much you can opt to save money by simply buying the keyboard and mouse.

A separate package, the 'Sculpt Comfort' set, has a more traditional keyboard (with no gap and a built-in number page), but features a pronounced curve. This means the keys don't lie perfectly flat, making it easier to type with straight wrists.

Mouse Has Dedicated Start Screen Button

Both sets of accessories have custom-built features for Windows 8. The keyboard function keys correspond to various options in the charms menu, while the mouse has a dedicated Windows key that opens the Start screen.

Consumers interested in the 'Sculpt Ergonomic' set can expect to pay about $80 for the keyboard and $60 for the mouse, or $130 for a package that includes the number pad.

Those who prefer the 'Sculpt Comfort' range will pay $60 for the keyboard and $40 for the mouse, or $80 for the package. (Source:

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