Effect of Computer Keyboard Slope and Height on Wrist Extension Angle

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The goal of this study was to determine the systematic effect that varying the slope angle of a computer keyboard along with varying keyboard height (relative to elbow height) have on wrist extension angle while typing. Thirty participants typed on a keyboard whose slope was adjusted to +15°, +7.5°, 0°, –7.5°, and –15°. The height of the keyboard was set up such that participants’ wrists were at the same height as their elbows, above their elbows, and four cm below their elbows. Results showed that as keyboard slope angle moved downward from +15° to –15°, mean wrist extension decreased approximately 13° (22° at +15° slope to 9° at –15° slope). Keyboard height had a similar effect with mean wrist extension decreasing from 21.8° when the keyboard was lower than elbow height, to 7.3° when the keyboard was higher than elbow height. Potential application of this research includes the downward sloping of computer keyboards, which could possibly be beneficial in the prevention of musculoskeletal disorders affecting the wrist.


Human Factors, Vol. 43, No. 2 (2001): 287-298. DOI: 10.1518/001872001775900940.