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Zerrecon is a company specializing in rehabilitation engineering, assistive technology, and solving problems for people with disabilities. This story can also be found on their website at: http://www.zerrecon.com/emplexam.html

One-Hand Computer Access

Karen had an elbow injury that caused her considerable pain whenever she overworked her left hand, and keyboarding was one of the activities that could cause this. She was employed as a typist, and wanted some way to speed up her typing without exacerbating her injury.

Zerrecon's assessment included a review of the commercial products available specifically for a "one-handed" person. There are keyboards, the BAT is one example, that are set up specifically for one hand, but Karen didn't like that concept since she wanted to use her injured hand occasionally. There are software techniques that set up a standard keyboard with a layout more efficient for one-hand use; these had the same limitation.

We also reviewed voice recognition as an input technique. She eventually rejected this approach because of the training time required in order to develop reasonable speed. (You may want to review the separate analysis of Voice Recognition Computer Input.)

The final product selected was the Half-QWERTY. Half-QWERTY allows normal use of the keyboard, but when you hold the space key down the key assignment switch like a mirror image. The "F" key, normally struck with the index finger of the left hand, becomes a "J" key, normally struck with the index finger of the right hand. With this approach all the keys on the keyboard can be activated with one hand, but they can also be activated in the normal, two hand, way. This was the approach Karen preferred.

To whom it may concern:

My seven year old daughter, Eva, has Left Hemiplegia Cerebral Palsy and has a hard time using a standard keyboard. Today, 12 May 03, she was introduced to your Half-QWERTY one-handed keyboard. The assistive technology teacher that brought it to her was quite impressed with her first try and is trying to find resources so our school district can purchase one of the keyboards for her to use at school.

We are so thrilled because this piece of equipment will open up so many doors for Eva in the future, something she will be able to use for the rest of her life. We have watched Eva get frustrated as she tries to type things out to her Grandparents on the e-mail. She hopes one day to use a two handed keyboard and with this tool she will hopefully be able to do both. We hope many more doors will be opened in the future.

Thank you so very much.

Mark & Leila Froehle.

Below is a personal profile story from the book Accessible Technology in Today's Business: Case Studies for Success published by Microsoft Press.

A Success from Microsoft

Robert is a safety manager for a southeast regional department of
transportation. At 25, he lost a hand in an industrial accident. The accident prompted Robert's interest in safety, which led to his current position, but it was his mobility impairment that prompted him to learn about assistive technology. After his accident, Robert trained for and was hired for an administrative position at the department of transportation, which required him to work with a computer. Because Robert already knew how to type and had the use of one hand, he was able to accomplish his typing requirements quickly and efficiently using a low-cost assistive technology device called a Half-QWERTY keyboard. The keyboard [is] the size of a regular keyboard, and each key allows access to two letters. The [Space bar] allows switching back and forth between the two letters. Robert's typing speed is now even faster than when he had the use of both hands.


We're always interested in hearing about your challenges and triumphs with Half QWERTY and similar technologies.

Send us your stories, photos, comments, rants, and suggestions to info@half-qwerty.com



Matias is the proud supplier of the Half-QWERTY Keyboard to the U.S. Department of Treasury through the DESAC III contract, primed by Integration Technologies Group, Inc.

Users of Half-QWERTY typing technology (previously available as software) include:


  • Iowa Department of Education
  • New York State Education Department
  • Toronto Board of Education
  • Vancouver School Board


  • Harvard University
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • University of Missouri
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill



  • GTE Labs Inc.
  • Honda Canada
  • NYNEX Corporation


  • U. S. Air Force
  • U. S. Army


  • Judicial Council of California
  • U. S. Department of Labor
  • U. S. Department of Transportation