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Finally, an ergonomic keyboard tray that works with any standing desk! Infinite ergonomic adjustability. Installs in only 30 seconds.
Finally, an ergonomic keyboard tray that works with any standing desk! Infinite ergonomic adjustability. Installs in only 30 seconds.
Finally, an ergonomic keyboard tray that works with any standing desk! Infinite ergonomic adjustability. Installs in only 30 seconds.
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54 backers pledged $15,056 to help bring this project to life.

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Elevon: Super-Ergonomic Keyboard Tray for Standing Desks

$15,056

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What is a prototype?

A prototype is a preliminary model of something. Projects that offer physical products need to show backers documentation of a working prototype. This gallery features photos, videos, and other visual documentation that will give backers a sense of what’s been accomplished so far and what’s left to do. Though the development process can vary for each project, these are the stages we typically see:

Proof of Concept

Explorations that test ideas and functionality.

Functional Prototype

Demonstrates the functionality of the final product, but looks different.

Appearance Prototype

Looks like the final product, but is not functional.

Design Prototype

Appearance and function match the final product, but is made with different manufacturing methods.

Production Prototype

Appearance, function, and manufacturing methods match the final product.

4c22416ddee48a25530d73ab076f44e2 original

Prototype Gallery

These photos and videos provide a detailed look at this project’s development.

Doesn’t anyone care that standing desk users are developing ergonomic injuries? 

It’s a surprising reality. Millions of forward-thinking standing desk users are proactively combating ‘sitting disease’ by using a standing desk (or treadmill desk). And yet, unknowingly, most are setting themselves up for potential ergonomic injuries. How did we come to this point?

Standing desks are supposed to help you combat computer hunch, but ignoring proper ergonomics can lead to new health issues
Standing desks are supposed to help you combat computer hunch, but ignoring proper ergonomics can lead to new health issues

The (stunted) evolution of the ergonomic keyboard tray 

Today there are over 100 million sedentary office workers in America using a computer all day. 800,000 ergonomic keyboard trays per year are sold, mostly to large employers who have specialists (ergonomists, physical therapists) on staff to prescribe them.

They know if you want to avoid RSIs (repetitive strain injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome) you should use an ergonomic keyboard tray—and, ideally, an ergonomic keyboard, too. Tens of millions of each are out there. With the average worker tapping out 300,000 to 1.4 million keystrokes a year, executives and specialists alike acknowledge proper ergonomics are vitally important to employee health and performance.

Overpriced, underperforming keyboard trays

That’s why even though a “good” keyboard tray can cost upwards of $600, plus installation costs, it’s still worth the investment for businesses that would rather avoid the medical bills and lost productivity
That’s why even though a “good” keyboard tray can cost upwards of $600, plus installation costs, it’s still worth the investment for businesses that would rather avoid the medical bills and lost productivity

The paradigm that forgot to shift   

While for many years these ergonomic keyboard trays met the needs of a sedentary workforce, over the last 10 years, with the advent of active workstations (including standing desks and treadmill desks), workers' ergonomic needs have changed. Yet the fundamental keyboard tray design hasn't kept up. 

In fact, today there are millions of standing desks out there (and hundreds of thousands of treadmill desks), yet—hold the phone—a remarkable 99% of them don’t even have an ergonomic keyboard tray!

It doesn’t seem to make sense for workers to invest in a standing desk for better health, and then completely disregard ergonomics, does it? Of course not. 

So what exactly led us to this tragic state of affairs? 

It’s not that no one cares; rather, it’s that many don’t know they should care because desk manufacturers have promulgated false notions about what “ergonomic” means in the context of standing (or walking) while typing. 

Just look at most any ad for a standing desk, and they all show the user typing with their arms in an ergonomically risky position, with their elbows bent at 90 degrees. 

For years, standing desk ads have promoted improper arm & wrist ergonomics
For years, standing desk ads have promoted improper arm & wrist ergonomics

It boils down to two issues: 

1) Even many practicing ergonomists never received any training on standing desk (much less treadmill desk) ergonomics, since these didn’t even exist when they got certified—so chalk it up to widespread ignorance of the science, and 

2) Most every standing desk has a metal crossbar running between the actuator legs, making it difficult or impossible to install the “base frame rail” that the keyboard tray slides in and out on. Yes, there are some workarounds, but they work poorly and thus aren’t very popular.

With the massive influx of standing desks and treadmill desks in the workplace, ergonomists, physical therapists, chiropractors, and massage therapists are hearing about a whole new set of maladies: those caused by the strain placed on the hands, arms, shoulders, and neck from standing for many hours with your arms held up at a 90-degree angle. 

Working with your arms straight out in front of you worked well when seated in an armchair, with armrests supporting the weight of your arms and hands. But it doesn’t work well when standing, much less when walking at your desk. 

Don’t believe it? Just try it. Stand up right now. Hold your arms up at a 90-degree angle, as if you were typing at a standing desk. Tune into your body and feel the muscles all the way from your hands, up your arms, through your shoulders and up to your neck contracting. See how long you can hold the pose before you really feel the strain. 

Ask a sleeping astronaut what "neutral" looks like

Without armrests to support the weight of your arms, the most neutral angle for the forearms and hands isn't 90 degrees—per the antiquated wisdom—but more like 105 to 130 degrees. Note the position of the arms of sleeping astronauts to visualize the angles that will put the least strain on your joints, nerves, and muscles. That’s “neutral” for a standing or walking typist—at least one with Earth’s gravity keeping her firmly planted on the ground. An unsupported 90-degree bend in the elbow is anything but “neutral.”

A sleeping astronaut demonstrates truly neutral ergonomic posture, with arms resting around 130-degrees
A sleeping astronaut demonstrates truly neutral ergonomic posture, with arms resting around 130-degrees

Why relying on 30-year-old research just isn’t cutting it

While there are some adjustable-height desks out there that can take a keyboard tray (including the iMovR desks that we manufacture), even the best and most expensive trays are still a far cry from perfect; they’re hard to install, and not particularly aesthetic. They're all based on the same under-desk center arm mechanism that hasn’t fundamentally changed in over 30 years. 

And supposing you do find a way to mount one of these classic “adjustable keyboard trays” (a.k.a. “articulating keyboard trays”) to your stand up desk, there are still some major drawbacks: 

1) Limited range of negative tilt angle—usually a max of -15°—because any more than that would run into your lap. This minimal negative tilt allows the user to type in a more “neutral” arm and hand position, and reduce the risk of RSIs (repetitive strain injuries) to a minor degree, but not at the -30 to -40° needed for truly effective ergonomic positioning. 

2) Lack of structural rigidity. The cumulative tolerances of each joint and the flexibility of the plastic tray can add up to some serious jiggle while typing. Because you pound harder on the keyboard when standing (even more walking), this unwanted jiggle results in more typos and muscle tension in the hands and forearms. (For a great visual demonstration of just how much flex there is in these devices, watch the Battle of the Keyboard Trays video from our original iMovR Omega Desk campaign on Kickstarter.)

‘Democratizing’ the ergonomic keyboard tray

The Elevon takes keyboards trays two steps further on the (r)evolutionary scale
The Elevon takes keyboards trays two steps further on the (r)evolutionary scale

Our goal in developing the Elevon was to create the ultimate, infinitely-adjustable keyboard tray that could work on just about any desk—including standing desks and treadmill desks—and install in less than 30 seconds. 

To reach a market beyond just large enterprise employers, we knew we needed to keep the cost of the Elevon down, well below the top-of-the-line trays available on the market today, and outperform them on every count.

With a target retail price of only $399, the Elevon is far more versatile, adjustable, sturdy, easy to install (no assembly required!) and attractive than conventional trays that sell for upwards of $500 or $600, not including their cost of installation.  

While ergonomic keyboard tray designs haven't evolved much since they were first invented in the '80s, the Elevon represents a radical departure from the traditional "under-desk arm" mechanical structure. With its innovative frame design, it turns the front edge of your desk into a super-ergonomic cockpit environment for computing. 

The Elevon's ergonomic design surrounds you in a super-ergonomic arc – like a cockpit for computing
The Elevon's ergonomic design surrounds you in a super-ergonomic arc – like a cockpit for computing

 How we came to invent the ‘Elevon’

The Elevon started out as a solution for the serious inadequacy of conventional keyboard trays when used on a treadmill desk workstation. While becoming increasingly popular in recent years, treadmill desks were invented long after keyboard trays, so it's no surprise their unconventional requirements were never considered. (You can learn more about ergonomic and mechanical issues specific to treadmill desks in the video below). 

After the first year of testing different designs and "putting a lot of miles on the prototypes," literally, we repeatedly heard feedback from medical and ergonomic experts who were testing the Elevon that it would also be ideal for standing desk and sitting users, too, not just treadmill deskers. 

Over the past five years of R&D, we have further adapted the design to make it universally beneficial to users whether they are sitting, standing or walking while computing.

And now that the patents have been filed globally, we're proud to announce that this has been achieved. But there's much more to the story...

What's so special about the 'Elevon'?

Let's start with the keyboard platform. Most keyboard platforms can only be tilted within a 20-degree arc. The Elevon's keyboard platform can literally rotate 360 degrees around its pivot bar. With the advent of height adjustable desks and treadmill desks, many users would be more comfortable, pain-free, and typing-proficient at steeper angles than they've ever before been able to achieve with a conventional keyboard tray (normally limited to only +5 to -15 degrees of keyboard tilt).

The Elevon's revolutionary design tilts your keyboard to keep your wrists & arms pain-free for productive typing
The Elevon's revolutionary design tilts your keyboard to keep your wrists & arms pain-free for productive typing

For example, setting a 30 to 35-degree angle allows treadmill desk users to retain accuracy while typing much faster, and at faster walking speeds if on a treadmill desk. The reason for this is that as the belt pulls the user backward her natural response is to press down harder on her wrists in order to maintain hand positioning over the keyboard, resulting in strain on the wrists, forearms, shoulders and neck, and pressure on the nerves at the base of the palm. 

Treadmill desk and standing desk users who've installed keyboard trays also know how big a “lever” they can become, causing the monitor to shake as they type. At steeper angles, the user has only to "hang on" with virtually no added pressure on their palms, versus having to press down hard on their palms to maintain hand position.

Now let's look at the platforms on the left and right sides of the Elevon. Like the keyboard platform, they can also rotate all the way around their pivot bars, and will typically be used anywhere from level to about -40 degrees of tilt. 

The Elevon's side trays also tilt at unprecedented angles for optimal ergonomics
The Elevon's side trays also tilt at unprecedented angles for optimal ergonomics

But where even the most advanced “lilly pads” on other keyboard trays can only rotate forward and back, the rotational axis of the Elevon side trays is on a 45-degree angle to the axis of the keyboard tray. This allows the user to achieve a truly correct angle for the hands and forearms - eliminating flexion, extension, supination and pronation of the wrists for the very first time. Anyone who has ever suffered from carpal tunnel syndrome will truly appreciate this innovation. 

Lastly, let's look at the mounting frame. The typical keyboard tray slides on a baseframe "rail" that has to be drilled into the bottom of the desk very precisely. Add up all the tolerances in that rail and all the joints along the single arm mechanism, and what you get is a floppy tray that'll shake like a leaf. The Elevon's unique frame design makes the keyboard tray as solid as your desk. It mounts to virtually any desk simply by adjusting four knobs - two in front and two about 8" back from the front edge of the desk - on any countertop up to 1.75" thick. Installation takes less than 30 seconds. No tools. No carpentry skills. The long clamp bar ensures a rock-solid connection to the desktop, without damaging the finish.

The Elevon's unique frame design
The Elevon's unique frame design

Installs in 30 seconds, no tools

To see how installing the Elevon compares to the installation of a conventional keyboard tray, check out this short video:

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How the Elevon Fits Your Desk

• Overall, the Elevon is 45.57” Wide x 23.96” Deep x 4.1” Thick. (This includes the clamp knobs, while all platform surfaces are tilted horizontally.) 
• The Elevon fits over tabletops up to 1.625” thick. 
• The Elevon's support arms reach 8.02” deep under your desk. (Measured from the front edge of your desk surface.) 
• The Elevon may fit over the crossbars underneath your desk. It depends on your tabletop thickness. To calculate, use this formula: [1.625" - (your tabletop thickness) +.645"]. The final number is the maximum crossbar thickness the Elevon can accommodate given your tabletop thickness. For example, if your desk is 3/4" thick, then [1.625" - (.75") + .645"] = 1.52", indicating the Elevon will fit crossbars up to 1.52” thick for a tabletop that is 3/4" thick.

Elevon revolutionizes the treadmill desk 

For treadmill desk users the benefits of typing and mousing in a more neutral position are even more profound. Check out this short video demonstrating the differences.

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About your finish choices

Initially, we're going to produce the Elevon in black, white and hayward cherry finishes. (Hayward cherry is featured in the video.) Depending on how many we sell during the campaign we may add other color choices too, and you'll be able to switch your color choice right up until our final pre-shipping survey. 

After the Kickstarter campaign, we will eventually offer up to all 11 of our standard 3D laminate color choices – the full spectrum of color choices on our standing desks and treadmill desks. These include shaker cherry, hayward cherry, urban walnut, clove mahogany, frosty white, beige, putty, black, and shark gray.

How your Elevon will be shipped

FULLY ASSEMBLED, ready to install in 30 seconds. US and Canadian customers will receive the Elevon via either UPS or FedEx. International customers can request DHL Express delivery after the Kickstarter campaign is concluded, directly through the iMovR.com website

The reward levels

Check them out on the right, but the key thing to know is the sooner you commit to funding the project, the lower your purchase price will be. And for the early birds who help us hit the first $30K of orders (double the funding goal), we're going to ship you a free 18"x24"x3/4", 100% polyurethane, Vive portable standing mat ($50 value). These mats are a game changer, helping you stand for more hours every day in complete comfort.

Order your Elevon early and receive a FREE Vive Standing Mat!
Order your Elevon early and receive a FREE Vive Standing Mat!

Not ready for an Elevon but still want the halo effect of supporting our campaign? Get the iMovR 100% polyurethane coaster for a $5 donation, or this super cool t-shirt for only $25 (in black or white). 

Get these hip ergonomic t-shirts with a mere $25 donation!
Get these hip ergonomic t-shirts with a mere $25 donation!

Delivery timeline

Once you receive it - how to adjust your Elevon  

The first step is to place your keyboard on the tray and adjust the bumper pegs to set the keyboard as close to the edge of the tray as possible. This helps you to keep your shoulders back and reduces "computer hunch." A gel or foam wrist rest is recommended if one is not built into your keyboard already.  

Setting the ideal angle of the keyboard tray is the next step. The steeper the angle, the more neutral your arms will be. Loosen the knob on the bottom of the tray to release the tension. Once you find the ideal angle, tighten the knob back down.  

If you are a touch typist you can try angles steeper than -35 degrees, but if you need to see the keycaps in order to type, then try a shallower angle. Adjust the height of your desk so that your hands and forearms are in a straight line (in ergonomic terms: "with no flexion or extension in the wrists"). 

Next, adjust the side panel for your dominant hand, and create a nest for your mouse, trackball or other pointing device, by moving the pins around on the grid. Set the angle of the panel to eliminate all twists in the wrist (in ergonomic terms: with no flexion, extension, radial or ulnar deviation"). In other words, your hand and arm should be in a straight line when looking from above or from the side.  

If you're ambidextrous and swap your mouse between your left and right hands, then go ahead and set the other panel the same way. Otherwise, leave it level and use it for things like your phone, or your favorite stress toy. 

Lastly, you might want to adjust the side panels to be closer or farther from the keyboard tray, by loosening the tension knob and sliding the panel along the pipe length until you get it where you want it. Then tighten the knob back down. This is helpful for people with particularly longer or shorter arms, or those who've been instructed by a physical therapist or ergonomist to keep their hands as close to the keyboard as possible.

How we came to name it the 'Elevon'

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Reviews

  • Jeff's review from NotSitting.com:
  • WorkWhileWalking.com's review

 

Risks and challenges

There are decades of intellectual property development that preceded the invention of the Elevon, which we had to study first to make sure we weren't tripping over anyone else's patents. Of course, we also wanted to protect our own innovations from being copied so we filed for our own patents. Globally. Check.

There are often as many opinions about ergonomics as there are ergonomists, and so gathering a consensus on a single design approach took a long time. We consulted with orthopedists, physical therapists, chiropractors, and various other medical or ergonomic specialists to determine the best design attributes while ensuring we had something that would be easy to install, cost-effective to manufacture, and good-looking in the office environment. Check.

There is a veritable plethora of keyboards, mice, trackballs, trackpads and other devices out there that people use today, and we needed to make sure that our design would accommodate virtually all of them. In looking at countless other keyboard tray designs on the market we noticed many were designed for very specific maximum keyboard dimensions, and couldn't – for example – accommodate a Microsoft Natural or Sculpt ergonomic keyboard well. We set the dimensions of the Elevon's keyboard platform to 20 inches wide, large enough to accommodate at least any keyboard you can buy on Amazon, except a couple of mondo gaming keyboards. Even split ergonomic keyboards like those from Kinesis and Matias worked perfectly once we doubled the number of bumper pegs so each side can be canted to eliminate radial and ulnar deviation in the wrists. Check.

Figuring out the best way to keep keyboards and pointing devices from sliding off the tilted surfaces was a significant part of the development effort. We found many methods that could work (and patented them all) but finalized one method that worked best; it also happened to cost the least to produce. The bumper pegs we designed are fast and easy to adjust, holding the keyboard in place up to -85 degrees of tilt! Check.

Perhaps the trickiest obstacle we overcame was settling on one approach for securing the keyboard in place. We needed the keyboard pushed as far as possible to the front edge of the platform to minimize a user's "computer hunch", and the design had to account for all the variations in stylized keyboards. We had to do the same kind of thing to make sure the mice, trackballs and other pointing devices could be captured within easy reach of the user's hand, without getting in the way of their free motion. Check.

With five years of design effort under out belts, there really isn't much left to do before our first production run besides sourcing the best manufacturers for each component and tooling up for better efficiencies on future production runs. We've already received interest from various desk manufacturers who want to OEM the Elevon with custom surface colors to match the decor to the dimensions of their furniture, so we'll be busy building prototypes for them as well.

Since we've already been shipping our iMovR Omega desks with built-in SteadyType and 3D-laminated surfaces for nearly three years, most of the components of the Elevon are already in production, so we anticipate being right on time with our promised delivery dates, if not sooner.

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    Co-spiritor

    You already have a keyboard tray on every computer workstation you own, and you can't think of any family member, friend, or co-worker who deserves an Elevon as an extremely thoughtful gift from you... but you still want to get the halo effect of having contributed to something that's going to help thousands - nay, millions - of people type faster with less pain. Get a free iMovR coaster made of the same 100% polyurethane as our premium standing mat, so at least you've got something to show the world that you support good ergonomics.

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    Uber Early Adopter

    You're an ergonomics maven, and you know excellence when you spot it. Get one of the first ten units off the assembly line from the Elevon's initial production run. Choose from Black, White, or Hayward Cherry, 3D-laminated surface finish. Ships by FedEx Ground ($25 surcharge for Alaska or Hawaii).

    As an uber early adopter you're also the kind of person who helps spread the word to your friends and social networks on any cool, new stuff you come across, naturally. So for helping us do that, if we meet double our funding goal for the campaign ($30K), we're also going to send you a FREE 18"x24"x3/4" portable standing mat made of 100% polyurethane ($50 value). It's a total game changer for when you start integrating standing into your daily work routine!

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    Innovation Spotter

    Get one of the next forty units off the line from the Elevon's initial production run. Choose from Black, White, or Hayward Cherry, 3D-laminated surface finish. Ships by FedEx Ground ($25 surcharge for Alaska or Hawaii).

    As an innovation spotter you're also the kind of person who helps spread the word to your friends and social networks on any cool, new stuff you come across, naturally. So for helping us do that, if we meet double our funding goal for the campaign ($30K), we're also going to send you a FREE 18"x24"x3/4" portable standing mat made of 100% polyurethane ($50 value). It's a total game changer for when you start integrating standing into your daily work routine!

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    Still Early Adopter

    Get one of the next one hundred units off the line from the Elevon's initial production run. Choose from Black, White, or Hayward Cherry, 3D-laminated surface finish. Ships by FedEx Ground to US 48 contiguous states.

    As an early adopter you're also the kind of person who helps spread the word to your friends and social networks on any cool, new stuff you come across, naturally. So for helping us do that, if we meet double our funding goal for the campaign ($30K), we're also going to send you a FREE 18"x24"x3/4" portable standing mat made of 100% polyurethane ($50 value). It's a total game changer for when you start integrating standing into your daily work routine!

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    Crowd Leader

    The early birds got their Elevons out of the first production run, but you can still get a great deal by getting in line for the second run (ships one month later). A free 18"x24" Portable Standing Mat ($50 value) included FREE. Choose from Black, White, Light Maple, or Hayward Cherry, 3D-laminated surface finish. Ships by FedEx Ground to US 48 contiguous states.

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    Get your spot in line for the second production run of the Elevon. Choose from Black, White, Light Maple, or Hayward Cherry, 3D-laminated surface finish. Ships by FedEx Ground to US 48 contiguous states.

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    Corporate Mogul

    Corporate ten-pack purchase of iMovR Elevon, 2nd production run. Choose from Black, White, Light Maple or Hayward Cherry 3D-laminated surface finishes. Ships by FedEx Ground.

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Funding period

- (35 days)