New software helps tone down keyboard blues
Computer industry targets wrist pain
From San Francisco Bureau Chief Greg Lefevre
SAN FRANCISCO (CNN) -- More and more workers whose fingers dance across computer keyboards all day are getting tripped up by injuries.
The repetitive motions involved in typing can lead to a painful and debilitating wrist and arm condition called carpal tunnel syndrome.
Now the computer industry has recognized the problem and is developing new hardware and software to prevent the crippling condition, including computers that allow you to talk instead of type.
"The movement now amongst voice recognition companies is that you can use your voice anytime, anywhere," said Aoife McEvoy of PC World magazine, who tests the machines.
Which means you don't have to even be in the same room with the computer to put it to work.
"The key is that people will be able to get work done and access information on the Web using something like a "smart phone" where they don't have to be in front of the computer," she said.
Programs will soon be able to do multiple tasks with just one command.
Such a command could be as simple as the following sentence: "Computer: Find the last office contract and rewrite it with an increase of four percent."
For those who can't wait for a computer they can order about verbally, low-tech fixes for overworked wrists can be easy, such as a $50 keyboard with a bulge in the middle.
"A keyboard like this can reduce your hand pain over time," Dr. David Rempel of the University of California at San Francisco School of Medicine. "A six-month period was the length of our study and it reduced it significantly compared to a conventional keyboard."
Rempel, an ergonomic scientist, said the biggest problem is not the workplace but the workload.
"You should really try control that becaTips for preventing repetitive motion injuries and easing symptoms of carpal tunneles are ergonomic mice.
"A good example of the mouse -- is a mouse which supports the hand evenly through a larger area," said Rempel.
With a bad mouse -- the hand is palm down, with a good mouse -- the hand is heel down.
Speech recognition gets off the desktop
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