Monday, 12 December 2011


PCD Maltron Ltd., d.b.a. Maltron, is a architect of ergonomic special-needs keyboards, founded by South African-born artist Lilian Malt, the namesake of the company1, and architect Stephen Hobday. Maltron specialises in authoritative keyboards for the blockage and etiological (root cause) analysis of repetitive ache injury.

Maltron articles several models of keyboards, in capricious levels of adaptation. Lilian Malt's aboriginal apparatus and the company's flagship architecture (Types L and E) is the best awful adapted; it incorporates a arced apparent for the keyboard, in which the keys' angles are staggered to atone for the altered lengths of the fingers. A trackball is a customer-selectable option, at added cost. As well, for all Maltron two-handed keyboards, additionally including the Type J and the Executive, an another keyboard blueprint is inbuilt, with a key installed to about-face amid the two. Maltron keyboards are electrically accordant with IBM PC keyboards and Apple Macintosh keyboards, application either USB or PS/2 connectors; in the aboriginal 1990s, a DIN adapter was available, but has been discontinued


There are several models of Maltron keyboard; three of them ambition best users, while addition three are geared appear bodies with added common disabilities. The aboriginal bent, retro-styled keyboard devised by Lillian Malt is one of the above three; although the accepted anatomy has remained the same, the aboriginal Maltron has gone through several revisions.

Due to chump requests for a center abode amid a accepted Sholes keyboard and the angled Maltron, two keyboard models accept been introduced: the Type J, alms the aforementioned awakening administration and feel length-adapted key positions on a collapsed projection; and the Executive, a modern-styled keyboard in metal and Perspex acclimatized to the Maltron keyboard layout.

For individuals with added arresting disabilities, there are the single-handed, headstick, and broadcast models.

All Maltron keyboards use Cherry MX cast key-switches; this makes keys abundant added acknowledging and abiding compared to film or arch key-switches, acclimated on the majority of keyboards. Some exceptions are the Das Keyboard, the Kinesis (both of which additionally use Cherry switches) and the IBM Model M (which is of the buckling-spring variety).


Maltron 3D and Executive keyboards are produced with three altered layouts:

QWERTY layout

Simplified Dvorak layout

Maltron layout

In the Maltron layout, the home row of keys are "ANISF" for the larboard duke and "DTHOR" for the appropriate hand. This home row can be acclimated to blazon abounding added complete words than that begin on a Qwerty keyboard.3

The Maltron blueprint has been acquired from abundance of use (FoU) statistics, added additional considerations, such as the best accepted two- and three-letter combinations begin in words. As abundant as possible, such combinations charge to be placed as non-blocking sequences.

Whilst the letter E is commonly admired as the best accepted letter in the English language, one should not avoid the Space character, as it is about alert as frequent; additionally, in punctuation, the breach and full-stop are added accepted than the belletrist KVJZXQ.4

Directional or cursor keys accept additionally been accountable to changes in architecture approach. Whilst the beforehand PC-XT accordant Model B featured opposing keys abreast anniversary added such as PgUp and PgDn accumbent angular on the larboard little finger, and arrow keys abiding UP/DN and LF/RT on either thumb, after models were to acquaint a complete architecture aesthetics breadth such keys were breach into left-right locations analogous the aloft re-arrangement of such characters as "(" and ")" which had been confused to sit aloft the numbers 5 & 6 (as "< >"," ", "{ }" and "/ " had all been appropriately separated). This meant that any cursor or movement key which confused to the larboard or up in a certificate (Backspace, PgUp, Larboard etc.) were all confused to the larboard duke and those which confused appropriate or bottomward (i.e., advanced or CR/LF) in a certificate were placed on the appropriate hand.

Further aberration in architecture has been a slight circling of the key-bowl advancement in the centermost which reduces the bulk of pronation in the operators' wrists. Referring aback accurately to the Model-B, the key-bowl appropriate the hands, although afar from anniversary other, still to be rotated apparent as admitting operating a collapsed keyboard.

Newer evolutions board affective the pseudo-standard 12 Function keys into a fresh top row central the basin rather than a beeline band forth the aback as can still be apparent on the single-handed versions. The accepted numeric row (1 through 0) has additionally been confused one cavalcade to the larboard adjustment "1" with "F1", "2" with "F2" and so on. The bare breadth amid the two deride keys has additionally been aloft to a cogent acme in adjustment to anticipate "dropped-wrist" operation of the cardinal pad, although because of its area and layout, connected one-handed numeric abstracts access requires concrete movement of the keyboard to appropriately board the ascendant duke (left or right) which increases the bulk of desktop absolute acreage that the keyboard occupies.

The added advertent user will additionally agenda that there is alone one key beneath the home row for the arena feel (made accessible by the gap in the abutting row). As the continued feel and the arena feel allotment the aforementioned bond forth the aback of the hand, abatement of balance "under-reach" for the arena feel alleviates abeyant accent on this bond appropriately accidental to the keyboard's all-embracing success in abbreviation Occupational Overuse Syndrome (aka RSI) blazon injuries.