Keytronic Trakmate & Pacemate Keyboard Wrist Rests
This was the first major project I worked on at Teague. We did a total of three projects for Key Tronic in 1992. Besides the Trakmate and Pacemate shown here, we also did the "Abacus" numeric keypad for the Apple Powerbook computer.
The Trakmate took the idea of the Powerbook in locating a trackball right under your thumb, but made it work with any keyboard. It was a stand alone unit that would work with any PC or compatible or Macintosh (there were three versions - PC, PS/2 and Mac). It plugged into the mouse port of the PC and directly replaced the conventional mouse. The height of the wrist rest was easily adjustable by turning the feet under it.
This is the ad Key Tronic ran for the pair of products. They were both introduced at the fall '92 Comdex show in Las Vegas and were fairly successful in the marketplace.
The first one we did was the Trakmate. The challenging thing was to make it small and work well but design around the existing Marconi trackball that Key Tronic was already using in their keyboard with a built in trackball where the cursor keys normally are.
The Pacemate idea came about less than 6 weeks before the Comdex show. It's idea was to plug in line with the keyboard and track how long you'd been typing without a break. If you typed too long, a series of "gas gage" LEDs would light up to alert you it's time for a wrist break. If you kept typing, it would eventually lock out the keyboard and force you to take a break. The idea of both products was to reduce the likelihood of carpal tunnel syndrome from too much typing.
Here's an exploded assembly drawing from Pro/Engineer of the Trakmate. My contribution on these projects was that of Project Manager and mechanical design lead. I did the design of the main enclosure, wrist pads and adjustable feet. The one other mechanical engineer on the project designed the trackball panel and buttons and put in all the features that interfaced with the trackball.
Besides the mechanical engineering shown here, Teague also did industrial design, focus group testing, the electrical engineering of the circuit boards (all three versions for the two products - six boards in all) and also built 25 complete, fully functional prototypes for the Comdex show with real circuit boards, etc.
For our efforts on these easy to assemble products and how fast we got them to market, Teague was awarded the 1993 annual "Design For Manufacturability" award from Appliance Manufacturer magazine.
Last updated: November 09, 1996