In a significant move away from its Natural Ergonomic Desktop, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), on Tuesday, launched its new Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop, which includes a redesigned keyboard, a mouse and a stand-alone number pad.
Codenamed “Manta Ray,” the revamped set of keyboard and mouse is claimed to be built on advanced ergonomic principles, with a split keyboard design, which, Microsoft said, can keep wrists and forearms in a relaxed position.
According to the company, the new Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard, which is slightly inspired by last year’s Sculpt Comfort keyboard, slots in a cushioned palm rest and has an arched shape to help reduce twisting of the wrists into an unnatural position while typing. The newly designed keyboard also has reverse-tilt angles that allow the user to maintain a straight, neutral wrist position.
The Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard comes with a detachable number pad -- a feature that could save space or function as a calculator-type device. The keyboard is 388mm wide and 208mm long, while the number pad is 92.8mm wide and 132mm long.
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According to Microsoft, the Sculpt Ergonomic Mouse also encourages a natural posture. The mouse is taller than most existing mice, thereby reducing contact between the desktop surface and the underside of a user's hand, which the company claims, helps minimize repetitive strain injuries, such as carpal tunnel pressure. The redesigned mouse also has an angle, which helps put the forearm in a more comfortable position.
However, there is a glitch: unlike the current Sculpt Comfort Mouse, the new Sculpt Ergonomic Mouse doesn’t support left-handed mousing, which, according to PCWorld, “feels a bit rude” as the launch of the device coincided with International Left-Handers Day.
It also should be noted that unlike the earlier Sculpt Comfort mouse and keyboard that use Bluetooth to connect to the PC, the new Sculpt Ergonomic keyboard and mouse work on a 2.4-GHz wireless connection.
Also, the Sculpt Ergonomic devices sport a Windows button, allowing users to quickly switch between applications and the Start Menu. The entire Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop bundle is priced at $129.95, while the keyboard and the mouse are also available separately for $80.95 and $59.95, respectively.