A lot people around me have Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI), and it seems to me that they are constantly in search of that “ergonomic keyboard”, or that “ergonomic mouse”, or that “ergonomic something”.
Now I honestly do not know if such devices exist, but I do have an observation when it comes to preventing / treating RSI: our lives practically demand the Strain, and therefore, it seems wiser to deal with the Repetitiveness.
Here is the punchline: buy a bunch of keyboards and pointing devices, each different in their design. Then rotate between them once every two weeks or so.
This rotation scheme has served me very well. I can only hope it works for you. I am not a therapist.
The crucial point to note is that these devices should be as different from each other as possible so that they strain your muscles somewhat differently. For instance, if you just go out and buy ten optical mouses, that probably won’t work very well. Perhaps rotating between just one trackball and one mouse will serve you better.
I conjecture that this “strain your body differently” principle is what some therapists are solely relying on, whether they are consciously doing so or not.
One of my friends, regardless of how “ergonomic” her keyboard is, still needs to go see her therapist once in a couple months. And every time she sees her therapist, the therapist’s recommendation always results in a change. Maybe the mouse is different this time, maybe the keyboard tray’s height will be adjusted. For the first few weeks after the session, the change “works”. But the problem will manifest itself again afterwards, so she goes see her therapist… and the cycle repeats.
Note that I am not arguing that no device is “more ergonomic” than the others. For example, I actually believe if you want to stick to one keyboard in your whole life, you want to stick with Kinesis Contoured.
But really, the ThinkPlus USB Keyboard with UltraNav is also very nice. Now, throw in a 3M vertical mouse and a very simple Logitech trackball. Together with the keyboard and mouse that you already have, you have just built a very cool equipment pool.
Finally, I note that this rotation model should work very well if you have a lab or research group that can pool the equipment budget.
P.S. As for chairs, I don’t have the money to buy a couple fancy chairs. Since I don’t use air conditioning much, I like Aeron best. I just keep adjusting my Aeron during the day before I get fatigue in a pose. I know some people say Leap or Freedom or something else is better, but who’s going to buy it for me?