A BAT™ keyboard is a computer input device that is designed to provide users with the ability to type words and enter all the same commands possible with a standard keyboard using only one hand. The device consists of a solid base and a wrist pad and has only seven keys in total. The user rests his or her hand upon the wrist pad and places the index through pinky on four of the keys, with the thumb reaching the other three. A BAT™ keyboard is then used through different combinations of key presses that type letters and numbers and enter various commands, such as the function keys on a standard keyboard.
There are a number of reasons in which someone might use a BAT™ keyboard, though it is commonly intended for people who have a need for one-handed typing. The keyboard is designed for use by a single hand, with separate models made to work with either the right or left. People who have a disability, such as those who have lost the use of one hand, can easily learn to use a BAT™ keyboard and have the same functionality as a full QWERTY keyboard. These devices are also commonly used by engineers and graphic artists who want to have one hand constantly on a mouse or stylus.
The design of a BAT™ keyboard is fairly simple and consists of a base that is about the same size as a hand. There is a wrist pad so that a user can comfortably rest a hand on the keyboard. Only seven keys are on a BAT™ keyboard, but through a combination of different keys being pressed together, all of the same alphanumeric and functional keys can be accessed. Three of the keys are pressed by the user’s thumb, and the other four are each intended for one finger.
Combinations of button presses are referred to as “chords,” similar to the musical cords created on a piano through combinations of keys. For example, to type the letter “a,” a BAT™ keyboard user can press the middle thumb key and the three keys under the index, middle, and ring fingers. One of the thumb keys can be used as a space bar, and the other two provide additional functions.
Various chords can then be made through these seven keys to reproduce every key and function available on a standard keyboard. Using a BAT™ keyboard can take hours of practice, especially to develop efficiency and speed with the device. The same is true of any keyboard, however, so it is not appreciably slower than any other input device.