Freestyle2 Keyboard For Microscopes: Pathspective Review
While doing an away rotation at University of California San Francisco, I noticed Dr. Jeffery North had a unique keyboard that split down the middle and extended to either side of his microscope. At first glance, it seemed like a really good way to improve ergonomics for data entry while using a microscope. A few years of residency went by and, as I became more familiar with the daily activities of an anatomic pathologist, I realized two different data entry solutions (transcription and voice recognition) seemed to make a good keyboard a thing of the past. I hardly need a keyboard if I dictate everything, right?
No Transcription? No Voice Recognition? No Problem!
I sure was surprised when I first found out the lab I’m working at doesn’t have transcription or voice recognition! I would have to type everything out myself. I freaked out for about 2 hours. I actually didn’t have anything to worry about, in fact, I soon realized that the work flow was pretty slick once I learned how to use their LIS (InteliPath). I still had to go back and forth from the microscope to the keyboard a lot which was a bit awkward for. I remembered that fancy keyboard from a few years ago and decided to give it a try!
What I Like About It
- It’s great for ergonomics! I don’t need to rotate back and forth or reach my hand around the front of the microscope every time I want to type something. You can buy an attachment that takes ergonomics to the extreme too by holding the keyboard at even more comfortable angles.
- Weight of the keys is comfortable. Some keyboards keys are too stiff or too soft. This one has a good balanced feel.
- Wireless! I purchased the bluetooth version, which allows me to use it with a standing desk and not worry about long cables.
- No Enter Key On Right Side: I may be the only one that does this but I prefer the enter key on the right side of a standard keyboard because it’s easy to find with my right thumb without having to look down at the keyboard.
- No numeric keypad: This quickly became an issue when I answered the phone one day and wanted to type in the accession number of a case. Since I only had one hand, I had to jump back and forth from each side of the microscope. A numeric keypad attachment is available for purchase from Kinesis, which I think I’m going to try out in the near future. The trouble is with the attachment, the keyboard, plus mouse, plus 10-key, all that stuff starts to take up a lot of desk real estate gets pretty wide.
Who Should Buy It?
Anyone who uses a microscope and uses a keyboard for primary data entry.
Who Should Not Buy It?
If you use voice recognition or transcriptionists then you probably won’t find this keyboard useful.