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AG-6 Suggestions

Page history last edited by PBworks 16 years, 2 months ago


Home > AG-6 Suggestions


Here are suggestions to improve the AlphaGrip.

Resistent Keyboard

By: Johan Chaparro. Date: Thu, May 1 2008.

An acrylic keyboard with the keys NOT in the surface, because the friction with the fingers erases the painted "name" of the key. I want my alphagrip for a lot of years look like new.


Compressed set of Thumb Buttons

From: Carl Andersen Date: Wed, Apr 26 2006 2:24 pm

Just for my own 2 cents here, I would like to see the AG6 have a much more *compressed* set of thumb buttons. From a RSI perspective, the trackball and some of the buttons (e.g. the mouse buttons) require a long long reach from one's thumb that is very tiring….


From: Felipe Castro Date: Wed, Aug 1 2007 8:47 am

For this to be acomplished, I suggest further to copy the layout for the indice fingers to the long finger (which also is as much strong), so we would have four more positions in the bottom part. Then, four buttons in the thumbs surface could be moved down.


Wireless AG


by: Johan Chaparro. Date Thu, May 1 2008

Two ways to communicate is good. ONE: USB cable. TWO: any kind of wireless technology. So, if my batteries are dead I can use the cable; if I need mobility, freedom, I just put the batteries again.



by: DougS Date: Wed, Apr 28 2007

This is pretty obvious, but it hasn't been mentioned on this page. So I thought I would include it and mention some of the ideas we have discussed in the Google Group.


  1. Bluetooth: this is a set standard that other keyboards and mice use for wireless connectivity. It could also possibly be compatible with mobile phones. Most laptops come with this now, so it might not require a USB (or other type) adapter to work with the device.
  2. Wireless USB (UWB tech): This is a USB wireless replacement that has been talked about for a while, but has not shown much effectiveness in the market. It is cost prohibitive right now, and in limited supply.
  3. Custom wireless protocol: This would require the most work, and would make a dongle necessary for it to work properly. However, it might be the easiest solution if it will fit in the limited space in the AG.
  4. IR (optical infared): This is also common for wireless keyboards, but requires a dongle and line of sight. I don't personally recommend this, but it is an option.

Problems with wireless:

  1. Power source is the biggest one (unless somebody has one of the wireless extension cords). It has to be powered by something to operate both the wireless transmission and the USB keyboard and mouse functionality.
  2. Fitting everything inside of the AG. This a little room in the lower part of the grip, but not much.


Four Buttons for each Finger on Back – Eight for Index Fingers


From: Lee Tumbleson Date: Thurs, Apr 6 2006 11:20 am

How about this for a finger layout? I didn't put any shifting on here and I didn't design the thumbs.

And here for another:

  • single 3-position rocker on the index fingers and {Two} (2) 2-position buttons on each of those
  • 4 buttons on each finger
  • individual keys, not rockers, with rounded corners
  • more significant 'dividers' between each of the fingers

From: Lee Tumbleson Date: Thurs, Apr 6 2006 12:10 pm

Yes, I have considered (5) 3-position switches on the bottom, for each hand; I am definitely leaning towards this. qwerty or Dvorak, it gives a 1-1 correlation to the "boards" that we are using now. One other arrangement is to put a single 3-position rocker on the index fingers and put (2) 2-position buttons on each of those. So, for the right hand, this would add a button between N and U and it would change M and H, both, to 2-position buttons. This would allow for one more non-shift character than qwerty/Dvorak, but it wouldn't provide the exact 1-1 correlation of the (5) 3-position switches.


As long as we're adding buttons on the bottom, how about putting four buttons on each finger? They should be smaller, like the J/V/X/Z on the front, a little firmer than the AG-5. Three of these would be 'natural' and the fourth would be a little bit of a stretch. However, if you do that, then you would have number/symbol keys. No color shifting, just regular shifting. The only characters that we would lose, from standard qwerty, would be the ', " and some lesser used symbols (`-_=+[{]}|). This arrangement precludes long fingernails.


So much of this is difficult with trying it. I'll probably go out and get some clay...


I'm thinking individual keys, not rockers. Keys that don't have any sharp edges. The edges on the AG5 are too crisp. The keys on my HP 48SX calculator are nice and rounded.


They should be square keys, about the same size as what we are now using as colored shift keys. But, the edges should be rounded off. With the AG-5s crisp edges, I can get my finger 'caught' on the edge as I am trying to find another key by touch (and inadvertently press the wrong key). The middle of the three keys should have a significant locator bump, at least as big (it should be bigger) as the one on the 'C' on the front of the AG-5. The bumps on the O and the S are the right idea, but a little too small for my sensitivity.


Also, more significant 'dividers' between each of the fingers on the bottom. The divider that is already there should be doubled in height and put between each finger.


As long as I'm talking about improvements:


  • The unit should come with a variety of clip-on palm supports. That would do what Carl has done with his foam. This would allow the palm to be pushed out, to accommodate larger hands.
  • I also push keys, inadvertently, trying to feel another. The keys should be a little stiffer.
  • Buttons are too recessed
  • Three buttons under each finger
  • Don’t recess thumb area, put on same plane as LEDs
  • FIVE 3-position buttons

From: Lee Date: Wed, Apr 5 2006 10:50 am


(You are right about navigating through the Google Groups. I have email notification turned on, but it takes you to the top of a thread and it's difficult to figure out what you've read and haven't read)

Anyway, the reason for the extensive chording is the ability to type something (like this entire post) without ever having to shift. The thumb buttons are too 'recessed' for my comfort. When I stretch my thumb up to a shift button, I pull my digits off of their 'home' positions. The REAL solution to this is to put three buttons under each finger. In fact, I think that FIVE 3-position buttons are what is really needed. The index finger would have two of these (six buttons total) and the other digits a single 3-position button. This would allow STRICT qwerty correlation.

I also don't think the 'thumb' area should be recessed, it should stay on the same plane as the LEDs. Maybe my hands (or just my thumbs) are too short. I posted on that elsewhere in this group. My hand is 7 3/4" from wrist (I measured this from the second crease, not the one that curves up toward the palm) to end of my middle finger and I can't figure out a good way to measure my thumb.

If the thumb buttons were positioned more naturally (for me), then I probably wouldn't be so interested in chording.

The only characters that I had to shift in this post were numbers, quotes and the apostrophe. However, I still have two chords open, guess what I'm going to put there...


by: Johan Chaparro, Date: Thu, May 1 2008.

A key distribution that let use the same fingers as the qwerty keyboards.


Function Keys Should Work as a Press not only a Lock

Crtl-Alt-Fn keys are very important in linux. You use these keys to switch between terminals. The current way that the alphagrip is designed makes it difficult to do this quickly. A 'press' instead of a 'lock' for the fn key might make things easier. Many games need Fn keys, such as Deus Ex and its sequel. This keys need to be accessed fairly quickly. Again, a press fn key instead of a lock fn key might make this easier. Perhaps an even better solution would be to have controlling keys (crtl,alt,win,esc,fn and so on) to default as 'press' keys, but when you press them in combination with a green or red key, they 'lock.' Just a thought.


From: Yary Date: Fri, Nov 9 2007

I posted a similar suggestion to google groups. Fn-as-lock doesn't make much sense to me.


By: Johan Chaparro, Date: Thu, May 1 2008.

Press is as necesary as lock. Sometimes you could need only a press while press other key, but sometimes maybe need lock. An idea could be: if I press the "shift" key before the press of other key at the same time, without release, the press function is used; but if I press and release the "shift" key, the lock function is activated. My question is: and If I press by error that "shift" key and need to deactivate the lock function? Maybe pressing and releasing a second time could free the lock function.

Improve Placement for Ctrl, Shift, Alt and Color Shifts


From: Lars Krueger Date: Thurs, Jun 1 2006 3:03 am

I just came to the idea how to improve the placement of the shift-keys for both Control, Shift, Alt and colorshifts like in Carl's remap.


The reasoning is this:


  • Many programs require combinations such as Shift-Ctrl or Alt-Shift or any combination thereof up to Shift-Alt-Control.
  • We have three shifts (Control, Shift, and Alt).
  • If we put them in a circle where each key gets a 120 degree segment we can press either one, or any two at a time, or all three together.
  • If we do this for the colorshifts (e.g. red, green, and blue) too, we get eight shift levels at 24 keys each -> 192 keys. This way we could get rid of the index finger up/down keys, leaving 160 keys. This more than enough to even leave out a few shift levels or to include the more funny looking members of the character map (e.g. like the German umlauts, French accented letters, or the Euro sign, ...).
  • This can be conveniently combined with regular shifts. Assume Red-I is the delete key. The Ctrl-Alt is pressed using the left thumb, Red using the right thumb, right middle finger presses I, Windows login dialog opens!

A conceptual drawing is to been seen (to the right). I hope, you don't mind I "stole" the images from Carl’s remap archive ;-).


A test of this feature could be done using e.g. Shift, Backspace, Z for the Shift, Control, Alt and Tab, Space, Enter for colors. Tab and X should be the same color as the keys have the wrong shape and distance for the Enter-Tab combination.


(see replies in AlphaGrip Google Group: http://groups.google.com/group/alphagrip/browse_thread/thread/bcffc640dccc0b67/c1d7bbf20124ccfb#c1d7bbf20124ccfb)


(Further refinement here: http://groups.google.com/group/alphagrip/browse_thread/thread/01c92da7076edb3e/9ab96a56ada873e6#9ab96a56ada873e6)

Lock Ctrl and Alt Buttons

From: Lage Date: Tues, Apr 25 2006 10:56 am

Reading through the group, I see that people tend to complain about the placement of the Ctrl and/or Alt buttons, so I came up with an idea to make these "locked", somewhat like CapsLock but not quite. My idea is that once pressed, Ctrl and Alt each modifies the next key/character to be pressed, i.e. in order to press e.g. Ctrl-C you can either hold Ctrl and press C or first press Ctrl, then release Ctrl and then press C. …

Sticky Keys – Response to Lage

From: Matthias Schult Date: Tues, Apr 25 2006 4:54 pm

This (sometimes very useful) behavior is called "sticky keys". Check the accessibility settings of your window manager or try pressing five times to enable it.

Press Shift five times on Regular Keyboard to Activate

From: dugless Date: Wed, Apr 26 2006 11:09 am

Great suggestion guys. I'm using that w/my AG right now, and it definitely helps me use the shortcuts. Just remember that shift isn't sent from the AG, so you will have to turn it on with a standard keyboard.

Move Functions up from Lower Front Surface

From: Lars_e_Krueger Date: Sun, May 14 2006 9:56 am

I'm very comfortable with the upper thumb buttons (ckyl and Enter, Space, Tab, Backspace) but the lower thumb keys (Esc, etc. and Del, etc.) are quite hard to reach.


What was the reason to put quite important keys (Esc for Closing Dialogues, Ctrl, Alt for almost all shortcuts) there while leaving lots of the upper thumb keys vacant in red and green shift? You could get rid of a few buttons (thus reducing the production costs, hint, hint) while improving the ergonomics.


My ideas:


Red-V is a good place for Del, green-V for insert. They are geometrically (topologically would be the better term, I guess) far enough from backspace to become mixed up.


Either Alt or Ctrl could be mapped to pressing Red-Green together. I'd vote for Alt, as I tend to memorize menu paths (Alt-E g a is "Insert Graphics from File" in the German version PowerPoint).


I'd put Esc to Red-LeftMouseButton. PrintScreen and CapsLock are (for me) very unimportant keys and could be something like Red-Z. Maybe it would be clever to choose something consistent for the *Lock keys: Red-X = NumLock, Green-X = Caps.


Pause could be Green-Ent.


Anyway, there are lots of empty keys in red and green, so someone experienced in ergonomics could come up with a mapping that uses this empty space.


There is another point closely connected to this: The discussion on chording. I, for one, would not try to alienate ordinary user with chording. People tend to shy away from very drastic changes, so I'd rather stick to the regular concepts of Ctrl and Alt as modifiers.


The AG-5 obviously does not have room to accommodate separate Ctrl and Alt keys. If we'd e.g. set red+green=Ctrl, we still have problems with Ctrl-Shift (e.g. MS Word underline -> Ctrl-Shift-u IIRC). As chording can be seen a space-multiplex (i.e. putting things side-by-side), its opposite is time-multiplex (i.e. putting things one after the other). Aside from emacs, most people rarely type e.g. Ctrl-Shift-Letter Ctrl-Alt-Letter etc. combos.


My suggestion therefore is to make one of Ctrl or Alt sticky for the next key. E.g.Alt=red+green, Ctrl=green-z. Typing Alt-Shift-z is then performed as:


  • red-green-Shift (both thumbs, no letter -> sticky Alt-Shift)
  • z (send z down/up events, Alt up, Shift up event)

Alt-v is done directly: red-green-v


Alt-Ctrl-Shift becomes:

  • red-green-shift (sticky Alt-Shift)
  • green-z (still no letter, sticky Alt-Shift-Ctrl)
  • z (send z up, alt up, shift up, ctrl up)

This way at most three combos have to be typed, while all modifiers become available without too much contortions of the thumbs.

The examples above should be taken with a grain of salt. They represent my personal preferences wrt. the letter assignments. It would be worth investigating/voting for/... the actual placements….


The thumb is a rather clumsy digit, thumb-operated mobile phones notwithstanding, and requires more training for most people. In order to appeal to a larger audience, future AlphaGrip devices should take that more into account than the AG-5.

Ollie’s Suggestions

From: ollie Date: Wed, Apr 12 2006 10:40 pm

I discovered the following issues that I hope will be taken into consideration when the AG6 is in design.


(Some repetition here, to make sure everything gets in the list):


  • Shift is only sent when a second key is pressed, not when the shift key itself is pressed
  • The AG5 never sends the caps lock key
  • Many Mac programs seem to intercept the key codes directly, making it impossible to remap the Enter/Backspace/etc keys
  • Attempting to remap the period and comma will effectively remap the red-period and red-comma
  • It is not possible to press the alt/win (option-command) keys simultaneously, but this is a relatively common Mac sequence. perhaps the PrtSc and Win keys could be swapped (but not in software).
  • Command C and command V are also very difficult to press simultaneously, a real drawback on the Mac. using the Keyboard preference pane to swap command and alt somewhat alleviates this, allowing me to 'reach across' with my right thumb. (on the other hand, this makes some emacs meta keys more difficult)

My only other complaint would be that the red/green shift keys seem a bit hard to reach, for me. Particularly the green ones….


… I agree that swapping command and control works well... except that I use Synergy to control my PC (see another thread in this group about synergy, or http://synergy2.sourceforge.net) and one of the main things I do is copy/paste between the two environments. Add to that the emacs control keys that I use in the Terminal and BBEdit, and the placement of the C and V keys in particular becomes a real hassle.


(But I realize I am preaching to the choir.)


While I have my own layout that I think would be useful, I think there are a few 'rules of thumb' (and fingers!) which could apply to this sort of device:

  • It should be possible to press any modifier key in combination with any other key
  • It should be possible to press any modifier key in combination with a (left/right/middle) mouse click.
  • It should be possible to use multiple modifier keys (command-shift, control-option, etc.) with keystrokes and mouse clicks
  • The various modifier keys should register even when other keys are not pressed

All of these are issues with the current model; some of them cannot be addressed by remapping.


In addition, I think that the various shift keys should have an (optional) sticky-mode, acting essentially as a toggle, so that the control-numbers and other awkward combinations would be easier to hit.

Onboard Flash to Store Remapping

From: nathan.middleton Date: Fri, Apr 28 2006 12:05 am

You know what would be wonderful, is if the AG had an onboard flash that would store its mapping. Because the whole idea you have to run outside software to make it a little more comfortable means it'll be even more difficult to use it elsewhere.


That was one of the reasons why I thought this was a great idea, it continues to use the same kb/mouse functionality of your host OS, meaning no fiddling. And since it's just USB, you can unplug and run to another location with your AG.

Optical Trackball – AlphaGrip 20% Larger

From: luv2code Date: Wed, Apr 26 2006 10:57 am

I think the trackball could be improved if it was optical (light sensors instead of rollers) and a little larger. I think I'd pay a little extra for not having to clean it as much. Also, because I have large hands, the grip could be wider, and the thumb buttons higher….


For the A6, I'd like to see the whole thing about 20% bigger with the control clusters a little more spread out for my longer fingers, and an optical trackball with a slightly bigger ball (maybe 15% bigger?).


(I should clarify that when I said, "control clusters a little more spread out," I meant that the buttons themselves should still be grouped tightly into clusters. It just that my thumbs are longer, so having the cluster of buttons further away from the palm would be more comfortable. If the clusters were going to be tighter, I think I would want varied texture on them to be able to tell them apart by touch more easily.)

Pressing any Modifier Keys (and combinations) with any Other Key

From: ollie Date: Wed, Jun 28 2006 12:13 am

beyond remapping, redesigning


I have a proposal for the layout of the AG6. I thought I'd share it with the group, to see if there are any obvious faults and perhaps to get some traction in suggesting it to Mike et al at AlphaGrip. Having scanned the recent messages in this thread, it seems that some of my ideas have already been discussed, but I will include them as originally written below. I apologize in advance for the crudeness of my drawings. I started out trying to make the button shapes accurate, but gave it up in favor of just suggesting button position.


See it here:


I should also start out by saying that I want my AG to produce all the characters of a normal keyboard. I am not really against learning a chording technique (eventually), so having a programmable AG6 would be great: but one of the things I really want is all the normal modifier keys, not a bunch of new ones that combine differently and thus _require_ the use of a different key map or some such. I want it, like the AG5, to act like a normal USB keyboard. Plug and play.


Since I use a Mac, there is no easy way to remap the keys on my AG5. I still think it is possible, but beyond my current technical expertise. In fact, I had designed a relatively dramatic remapping once before, but I gave it up when I realized that Mac programs supported alternate input layouts to inconsistent degrees. Instead, I am learning the current AG5 layout, and thus am frequently reminded of why I had wanted to remap it in the first place. When I looked at my remapping again recently, I realized that I hadn't kept very good notes about the rationale for my changes.


First the good: the letters are really pretty good. They are close enough to my muscle memory for the standard keyboard that I have been able to adapt quickly. I can even remember the ones on the front well.


The same is not true for the numbers, though I don't think mapping them to be on or near the same fingers as I use for a standard keyboard would be useful, but a more logical arrangement as has been suggested before would be useful. I also have trouble remembering the green and red keys.


I have adapted to the mouse well: I already used a thumb trackball. I did miss my extra buttons, though, and especially the scroll wheel.


My biggest complaint by far, though, is the modifier keys. Try typing command-c or command-v (that is the apple/windows key). This is copy and paste, respectively, and I use it hundreds of times a day. Control and alt keys are not much better, and I find that I even have some difficulty with bending my thumb back far enough to press the red and green shift keys consistently: I often press the wrong one. Then there is the problem with modifier key codes not being sent from the unit, until another key is pressed. I find that I am often shift-dragging and alt-dragging to perform various functions that have become second-nature. Alt-click-drag is just not possible with the current unit.


So, in my redesign I started with the modifier keys. I decided that the only way to make them universally apply-able to any other key _and_ the mouse was to essentially specialize the left thumb to be in control of all modifier keys. I put the four standard keys in a cloverleaf, since it should be possible to press two, three, or all of them at the same time. The red and green keys, are to either side, and there is an Fn key above so that one needn't us Fn lock to press a single function key. On the upper-left-thumb area, I also placed the 'Pause' button, and where the mouse buttons had been I put a scroll wheel (or scroll ball, like the recent Apple mouse). Overall, this area seems simplified to me.


I also put all the 'lock' keys on the left thumb, adding some that made sense to me.


I wanted to be able to affect the mouse buttons with all of the modifier keys, so I moved the buttons to the bottom of the unit. As extra buttons on the index finger. I think these would benefit from having a different 'click' from the normal keys. Control-alt-click-drag should be easy now. To accommodate them, I pushed the lower index keys outward, and think that it would also be beneficial to move the upper keys slightly inward. While we are at it, why not make the red _and_ green shift keys modify _both_ buttons, giving us several buttons that can be remapped in software.


Also on the bottom of the unit, I wanted to rearrange the numbers to make more sense to my brain: 1-5 inside left, 6-0 inside right. I remapped the outside red-shift to (almost) match the shift versions of these keys on a standard keyboard, so remembering them should be easier. While I think the idea of having the brackets in pairs is helpful, my instinctual movement for the pair is to use the other hand, not the other direction with the same finger. All the green keys are placed on the inside row (but in a fully-customizable AG6 these could potentially be mapped to some other key combination). The Fn keys mostly match the layout of the number keys, though the F16+ keys could just as easily carry the Print Screen, Scroll Lock, etc. keys.


On the right thumb, I left the trackball as it is. Next to it, I placed the whitespace-and-frequent-punctuation keys. Of these, I probably use backspace and space the most (the former maybe even more than the latter), so these have prominence. Period, tab, return, quote, comma, are all easy to reach. These keys double as the arrow keys and the 'home etc.' keys, using the red and green shift (which are underused on this part of the AG5). Note that while 'delete' is on the red shift, it should be very easy to press control-alt-(red-shift)-delete.


On the lower right thumb I have placed most of the previously scattered top-of-the-unit letters. The undo-cut-copy-paste keys are clustered as on a normal keyboard, and these keys also carry the mathematical functions usually contained on the numeric keypad.


Finally, a few changes that have nothing to do with the keyboard itself. I think the unit would be more comfortable if it were a bit wider: even as a gamer, my hands are not comfortable being so close together for long periods of time. I think it might be nice to have (optional) firm rubber 'straps' which go over each hand, making it easier to hold the unit with one hand when, for example, taking a sip of coffee. Perhaps there could be a simple skin-contact sensor in each hand, making the unit auto-Pause when put down. And I think the bottom of the unit could possibly be flared so that it can be set down more easily on its own, without the separate stand….


And in addition, lots of mouse actions use multiple modifier keys. In Photoshop for instance, shift = constrain drag axis, alt = make a copy, so shift-alt = make a copy and constrain drag axis. It is really frustrating to have these missing when using the AG5….


(further discussion on AlphaGrip Google Group: http://groups.google.com/group/alphagrip/browse_thread/thread/bcffc640dccc0b67/c1d7bbf20124ccfb#c1d7bbf20124ccfb)

Arrow Keys to the Left

From: Bill Sun Date: Mon, Jul 24 2006 4:16 pm

Ollie, I really like your layout idea!


Being a loyal PC gamer, I love the idea of putting the mouse buttons near your trigger finger. However, I think it's better to somehow put the arrow keys on the left. Either by changing the button layout (like adding an additional group of keys), or by adding another shift button to enable the modifier key cluster to function as the arrow keys. I think this type of layout will make FPS games (and other games that make use of the directional keys) much easier to play on the Alphagrip.


In regards about the keys at the lower right thumb region, if alphabets are going to be placed there, some repositioning of those keys, and perhaps, a redesign of the contours will be needed (in relation to the AG-5 that is).


Another idea I have to contribute is about the keys on the backside. Instead of using press-down buttons, would it be possible to use some kind of bi-directional sliding key? An example would be a button that perhaps will have a rough impression of your fingertips and would click (or give some form of tactile feedback) when your fingers push and pull (slide inwards and outwards) on it. The sliding action doesn't need to move very far (it could just be a click to activate the key on one side), but should provide enough resistance so that it's harder to accidentally slide the button, or accidentally slide to the other side when returning to the "neutral" position. This should make it less easily to accidentally press a button on the back side when you're picking it up and perhaps allow the device to be placed on a surface without the need for the bottom to be flared. With really "short" keys, you might even have additional room for your fingers to grip the unit without actually touching any keys.

Bi-Directional Sliding Key

From: Mike Willner - view profile Date: Wed, Jul 26 2006 1:04 pm

I think the bi-directional sliding key is an excellent idea. We had considered using that type of key on the AG-5 because it would minimize finger movement and accommodate a greater range of hand sizes (because you could slide the key no matter where your finger came in contact with it), but it would have taken us much longer to get a product to market and our development costs would have been much higher (because it is not a typical key switch). In addition, we thought the AG-5 was radical enough as it is, and decided it would be best to wait for a later version to try out a new key switch.


We are considering producing a prototype with sliding keys, but a 4-way key may add more functionality and, because it's commonly used in joysticks, it may result in lower development costs.

Rocker Key that can be Pressed Down

From: Carl Andersen Date: Wed, Apr 5 2006 10:52 pm

[A] five button layout (each button with 3-positions, index finger gets two buttons) is EXACTLY what I have been thinking about for a week or so. The index finger has enough sideways movement to make this realistic, and it allows all alphabetic keys to be pressed unchorded.


Not sure if you have mused yet about a 3-position key and its design. I think it ought to be a rocker key that you can also press directly downward, to make three possible keypresses. I wish I could find such a key, but I'm not sure it exists yet - I have been looking at various industrial key suppliers and can't seem to find one.

Sheffer’s Suggestions

From: Sheffer Date: Tues, Apr 11 2006 11:16 am

All Keys should send signals to host

Using a USB sniffer, I've concluded that a lot of keypresses doesn't get sent. Shift for example doesn't seem to get sent until another (shiftable) key gets pressed, hence the problem with Mousebutton+Shift.


Keys that doesn't get sent are:

  • Shift
  • Capslock
  • Pause
  • NumLock
  • Green Shift
  • Red Shift

This seem to be hardcoded into the grip, and I assume that its impossible to change without reprogramming it. (Is that possible? is there something flashable in there? {No})


What would be nice for future versions are scancode sendings of all keys. This would probably require a special USB driver, but perhaps a switch on the device could be available so one can flip it to "driverless compatible mode".


All the keys above have scancodes except the Red and Green shift, and it would be easy to simply hijack any of the special keys that are quite common these days, say "volume up" or something and use this for the Red and Green keys.


These changes would make the Grip accessible to people who need more options. To be able to send Red and Green shifted versions of the X and Z keys – for example would help immensely for us who are trying to squeeze in ÅÄÖ and €. Other languages have even more characters and would benefit.

Three Separate Buttons

From: Mike Willner Date: Thurs, Apr 6 2006 7:35 am

I suppose an inexpensive solution would be to just use three separate keys positioned so that your finger movement would be the same as if you had a rocker button that you could also press directly downward; something like what we did with the index finger buttons on the AG-5. In the AG-4 we used a 4-way button (like a D-pad) for the index fingers, but it was too easy to generate a wrong character when typing fast, so we broke it up into 3 buttons for the AG-5 while maintaining basically the same finger movement.

LED Screen

How bout a led screen that tells you which keymap you have loaded?

Flexible USB Cable

One of the weak points of the current AlphaGrip is that the USB cable tends to get bent at the same location when set down, or resting on your lap. This has caused one cable to fail (I assume that the wires inside the rubber wrapping eventually broke) and my second cable is now periodically cutting out.


So it might be worth it for the next generation to either have the cable pointed out towards the top of the device, rather than below; or to get some sort of semi-flexible wrap that covers the first 15 centimeters or so of the cable at the AG end, making the cable bend with a wider semi-circle.


Until AlphaGrip implements this solution, there is Doug's Easy Stand: (http://http://wiki.alphagrips.com/Accessories#EasyStand)


If you are using side pads for a better fit in big hands (as shown on the Comfortable Computing page then you can probably rest the AG5 face-down (with the cable pointing up) without any keys getting pressed by the desk.

From: Tim Perrin, Date: 3/8/2007


Two-Piece Adjustable AlphaGrip


Break the two sides apart and connect them by some kind of absolutely free form adjustment. One of your users seems to have done that by using two units. (http://http://wiki.alphagrips.com/Comfortable%20Computing#AndersenModifications)

One of the principles of the ErgoLogic keyboard was the fact that the two "demi-boards," the two halves of the keyboard, were pretty well completely adjustable as to angle up, down, back, forth. You could adjust them to whatever worked for you.


From: John Peterson, Date: 03-19-2007


Analog Stick and Scroll Wheels


Replace trackball with an analog stick and add horizontal and vertical scroll wheels

replace all non-thumb keys with scroll wheels. map so that common digraphs and trigraphs are in the same direction.

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