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One-handed keyboards

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One-Handed Keyboards

Typing on a standard keyboard may be difficult for those with use of only one hand. As such, various technological advances are available for one-handed typing. These keyboards may benefit those with upper extremity amputation, hemiplegia, carpal tunnel syndrome, or other disabilities of the hand.

Some available keyboards are designed with keys for individual alphanumeric characters, much like the typical keyboard, while other require users to "chord." These keyboards have fewer keys and users press combinations of keys for each character.

Half-Qwerty One-Handed and Two-Handed Keyboard

The Half-Qwerty One-Handed and Two-Handed Keyboard (Matias Corporation) has a standard keyboard layout (QWERTY) that allows for both one-handed typing and standard two-handed typing. The keyboard accommodates one-handed typing for both right and left hands. For one-handed typing, the user positions his/her hand where it would normally be placed for touch-typing on that half of the keyboard. Using the same keys and by holding down the space bar simultaneously, the user can type the letters of the other side of the standard keyboard.

image: half.gif image:halfr.gif

Half-Qwerty Keyboard Layout [6]

The Half-Qwerty keyboard also has a Sticky Keys option that allows the user to type modifier keys (for example, Shift, Control, Alt) and then the key to be modified to follow. Typing the modifier key once makes it active for only the next key typed. Typing the modifier key twice locks it until it is unlocked by pressing it again. Matias Corporation also offers software that allows for a standard QWERTY keyboard to be utilized as a half-qwerty. It works exactly the same as the half-qwerty, but does not require the user to purchase a special keyboard. The user can order keyboard labels. This software may be phased out and not available for purchase.

One-Hand Keyboard (Predictive Text)

The aptly named One-Hand Keyboard is similar in concept to the Half-Qwerty keyboard. Uses existing two-hand typing muscle memory to enable one-hand typing without much time spent learning a new layout. Uses predictive text algorithms, rather than spacebar as a modifier key, to output the intended word. It's thus even easier to learn than Half-Qwerty.

It is a software application, not an actual physical keyboard. The software keyboard layout can be used with any physical keyboard, or with a laptop's keyboard.

Frog Pad

FrogPad Keyboard [1]
FrogPad Keyboard [1]

FrogPad (FrogPad, Inc.) is a small, portable one-handed keyboard. It has 20 full-size keys that allow for all of the functions of a standard keyboard. It is ergonomically designed for ease of use, reducing strain on the hand and wrist. The layout of the letter keys is based on frequency of use. The FrogPad is available in left-hand and right-hand configurations to accommodate for limited hand function of either hand. The FrogPad is available with either USB or Bluetooth connection. FrogPad is developing a software version of the one handed keyboard called SoftFrog. This downloadable version is designed for use on touch screen computers, telephones, and pda's.

Maltron Keyboard

Maltron Keyboard [2]
Maltron Keyboard [2]
Maltron, Ltd. provides online lessons that allow users to practice use of the keyboard. The figure above is taken from the lesson and shows finger placement for the right handed configuration. [3]
Maltron, Ltd. provides online lessons that allow users to practice use of the keyboard. The figure above is taken from the lesson and shows finger placement for the right handed configuration. [3]

The Maltron keyboards (P.C.D. Maltron, Ltd.) are shaped to fit finger lengths in relation to key heights. As such, the sculptured shape of the keyboard is concave in appearance. This design is to increase accuracy and reduce finger fatigue. The keyboards are designed for one handed use and are available in both right and left-handed configurations. Control, shift, and alt functions work with a simple on/off function. The letter, number, and arrow keys, are all aligned within the concave shape of the keyboard and a separate numeric keypad is situated to the side of the concave depression.

"Chording" Keyboards

BAT Keyboard

BAT Keyboard [4]
BAT Keyboard [4]

BAT Keyboard (Infogrip, Inc.) systems can utilize one or two seven-key angled boards with room for resting the palms of the hand. The ergonomic design reduces hand strain and increases productivity. With the use of the seven keys, users can enter all functions and characters as a standard keyboard. These are entered using combinations of keys, or “chords” much like the concept of piano chords.


Twiddler device [5]
Twiddler device [5]

The Twiddler (Handykey Corp.) is a device designed to be used as a mouse pointer or perform the functions of a full keyboard with use of one hand. The device is 5 inches long and can be used up to 50 feet away from the computer. The twiddler has three rows of color-coded keys on the front surface. The back curve of the device has an oval pattern of buttons that allow for thumb control of alt, control, shift, function, and numeric keys. Letters and other commands are communicated with “chord” typing, utilizing depression of multiple keys at the same time. The twelve finger keys and six thumb keys allow for up to 101 standard keyboard functions. The Twiddler also eliminates the need for a mouse and can function as a joystick for gaming.


1. About One Handed Typing. Retrieved 9/28/09.

2. What is a One Handed Keyboard WiseGeek. Retrieved 10/6/09.

3. Half-Qwerty Keyboard ABLEDATA. Retrieved 9/28/09.

4. FrogPad ABLEDATA. Retrieved 9/28/09.

5. BAT Keyboard ABLEDATA. Retrieved 9/28/09.

6. Maltron Keyboard ABLEDATA. Retrieved 9/28/09.

7. Twiddler ABLEDATA. Retrieved 9/28/09.

8. One-Hand Keyboard Retrieved 8/10/2011

External Resources