Company president markets keyboard that spells relief

FRANKFORT – Richard Tryon of Frankfort wants to change the way people type, one keyboard at a time.

With an odd-looking shape, Tryon’s 3-D shaped Ergomatic keyboard was an outgrowth of about 12 years of research to help both people in pain from keyboard-induced carpal tunnel syndrome, and those who want to avoid it, while providing an opportunity for people wanting to learn a better key layout.

The former President of Colwell Systems, Inc., a printing and publishing company that grew to over 600 employees under his leadership, Tryon is using his energies and expertise today to lead TelePrint Systems, along with the keyboarding and reading markets, into the 21st century.

The Ergomatic keyboard is functionally identical to the Maltron Ergonomic Keyboard, which is the premier ergonomic keyboard available today. Patterned after a design inspired in the 1970s by Lillian Malt, who studied language, frequently-used character combinations and the human neuro-muscular system, it is easier to learn, faster to use and more accurate than the QWERTY layout.

“This revolutionary design provides typists with the opportunity to work faster,” said Tryon. “The Ergomatic keyboard offers the traditional key layout, but also allows the user to switch to the Malt layout, which can increase typing speed by up to 30 percent.”

The common keyboard layout known as QWERTY was designed in the 19th century, when the typewriter was first invented and operators had to type slowly or the machine’s key mechanisms would make the hammers that hit the ink ribbon jam. That layout is still commonly found on all American computer keyboards.

The Ergomatic keyboard will serve all experienced QWERTY operators in a way that requires no relearning. Both the QWERTY and the alternate Malt layouts are available on this keyboard that plugs into either a PC or a Mac.

Its layout is turned on by a single keyboard key that lets it switch back and forth. The web site includes access to free training software to teach the Malt layout to those who want to use a touch system that produces about 30 percent more output. This is because almost 90 percent of the keystrokes are made with keys on the home row for the four fingers of each hand, or by the special area for the thumbs that access eight keys each. By separating the hands so as to put the numeric key pad in the middle, the Ergomatic, with its special shape, seems to eliminate the major cause of wrist pain for many operators of keyboards.

Tryon summered in Michigan for most of the last 50 years, and retired to Frankfort in 1989. He has centered the R&D arm of the enterprise in Traverse City where work is underway to add a new lap top version of the Ergomatic keyboard to the product line. Although they cannot claim any medical achievement because no large scale control group testing needed for FDA recognition is possible, Tyron’s company has received many testimonials from satisfied customers. The Ergomatic keyboard sells for around $175.

Predecessors of the Ergomatic, made by PCD Maltron, have sold close to 2,000 units in Great Britain and Europe, where government-sponsored health insurance often covers the purchase of such devices to help carpal tunnel sufferers return to work.

Tryon anticipates steady growth for the products of the Ergo-comp Division and believes that most sales will be generated via the Internet where individual owners will make the decision to switch to the Ergomatic keyboard long before major corporate or other organizations leaders do so.

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