Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a medical condition – more common in women than it is in men – in which the median nerve is compressed at the wrist causing symptoms like tingling, numbness, night time wakening, pain, coldness, and sometimes weakness in parts of the hand.
Though ergonomically designed keyboards had existed before, prior to the introduction of the Microsoft Natural Keyboard, such devices were neither widely available nor reasonably priced. Introduced in 1995, the Microsoft Natural Keyboard was a split keyboard with each half of the keyboard separated and tilted upwards and down from the centre of the keyboard. This key arrangement was specifically designed to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive strain injuries (RSI) associated with typing for long periods of time. The keyboard also helps to ensure correct posture while sitting in at the computer.
Microsoft’s original design has subsequently been refined, including the introduction of a row of customisable buttons above the function keys for launching applications or controlling play of music.