Imagine your hands typing on a standard keyboard. Now relax your shoulders and unbend your wrists so your hands line up with your forearms. That’s why the new X-Bows keyboard is so oddly shaped.
The X-Bows is a new sort of ergonomic mechanical keyboard, designed to alleviate the repetitive strain injuries of the shoulders, wrists and forearms often encountered by folks who spend a lot of time typing. Company founder Dr. Sigo Wang, a specialist in medical imaging, saw a lot of these injuries and decided to design a new keyboard as a preventative solution.
Rather than go with a split solution like the Ergodox, which does alleviate strain but features a really steep learning curve, Dr. Wang designed a keyboard that’s a little more familiar to the everyday user.
So it’s got the inward bowing on both sides, which helps straighten the wrists and spread the shoulders. The alphanumeric keys are ortholinear—on top of one another—instead of the staggered layout originally introduced in mechanical typewriters to make the mechanism less prone to jamming.
While the standard functions are available on the sides of the board, there’s also a Shift, Enter, Ctrl and Backspace key in the center of the board, so users can use their thumbs more and their pinkies less. The board is fully programmable as well, so nothing is set in stone.
There are a couple of things set in plastic, however. The X-Bows’ unique design means users aren’t going to be swapping out keycaps any time soon. The board comes with a custom set of doubleshot ABS plastic shine-through caps atop a selection of Gateron switches, and there aren’t a lot of standard shapes. Maybe if the board catches on we’ll see some custom kits, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.
X-Bows is currently running a Kickstarter campaign, which seems to be moving along at a nice clip. They’ve got a silver version planned in case things go incredibly well.
You can read more about the X-Bows over at the official website.