Quick look: Retrofitted ergonomic support for workspaces
Sometimes a complex problem has a simple solution. The ButterflyBoard, from Metamorphosis Ergonomic Computer Furniture and Accessories of Atlanta, is basically a piece of wood with two wooden feet. When assembled, which takes about a minute, the board provides a slightly angled surface for anything sitting on it.
Back in the days of manual typewriters, sitting up straight was the proper posture. Because your arms had to move up and down a lot to push the roller back and adjust settings, it made sense to position yourself that way. But today, a much more relaxed posture is to lean back slightly in your chair to take advantage of the chair's back, rest your arms on a surface and type. Because your hands don't move much during the typing process, it's better to relax your arm weight and give it as much support as possible.
Most keyboards do allow you to tilt them upwards, but that doesn't give any support to your arms. The ButterflyBoard is long enough to give both a good angle and support for arms up to the elbow. Plus, it gives a proper tilt to the mouse.
The interesting thing about the ButterflyBoard is that it can be used to retrofit almost any workstation and make it ergonomic. The U-shaped cut in the board works well at a standard desk or a corner unit.
As with any ergonomic product, the ButterflyBoard takes getting used to. Sometimes your mouse might slide downhill. But because the result is less fatigue and pain during those long hours in front of the computer, it's more than worth the initial discomfort. Price: $222
John Breeden II directs the GCN Lab. Follow him on Twitter: @GCNLabGuys.