One of the great benefits of 3D printing is the ability to ignore previous restrictions seen within more traditional means of manufacturing, which include expensive injection molding techniques that are great for creating multiples of the same product. That is so 2005 though, and we now live in the year 2014. This is a time when consumers don’t want products that require that they “get used to” using, but rather products that are customized for them. This is why 3D printing is such a unique method of manufacturing. It costs no more to produce a single unit than it does to produce one million, meaning that customization will eventually become just as affordable, or close to it, as mass production.
One man, by the name of Øystein Krog, is taking the idea of customization and using it in the creation of a computer keyboard which could make typing a whole lot easier for just about anyone. The keyboard, which Krog calls the 3D Ergodox, is still a work in progress, but the ideas and the prototypes that he has come up with so far are nothing short of genius.
“The idea is that you define a 3d curve for where your fingers move (the green curves seen in the image) and then the code automatically creates everything else,” Krog tells 3DPrint.com. “That way you can have highly customized keyboards. One possibility is that you can measure your hand/fingers and input that into a model that calculates a nice shape for the keys.”
Since his model is highly parameterized and very dynamic, he hopes that he will be able to develop an app that takes photos of a person’s hands, then uses computer vision technology in order to come up with custom measurements. It will then use these measurements to calculate a custom ergonomic keyboard layout. First Krog wants to create a working prototype for his latest iteration. The only problem is that his 3D printer does not have a large enough build volume.
“I guess I’ll have to build a bigger one,” Krog explains.
If this is the only issue that Krog runs into, this product should be a piece of cake for him. The idea behind his keyboard is a good one, and if he can come up with a working prototype, there is no reason why his idea couldn’t become a reality. There are so many people that develop all sorts of physical problems from carpal tunnel syndrome to back pain and more, due to computer use. Krog’s 3D Ergodox may be one step in helping prevent some of these injuries.
What do you think about the feasibility of 3D printing this 3D Ergodox? Would you be interested in having a custom keyboard built exactly for your own hands? Discuss in the 3D Ergodox forum thread on 3DPB.com.