Thursday, January 24, 2013

How to make a shielded keyboard for a person with Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity (EHS)

    Soon after I developed EHS, I discovered that it caused me pain to use a computer, and especially a computer keyboard. The longer I used the keyboard, the more pain I experienced. I built a shielded keyboard so that I would be able to use the computer more. My shielded keyboard has worked really well for me and has allowed me to use a computer much more than I could without it. However, I am still limited to about two hours per day.
    With this keyboard, I have been able to do some work from home. In fact, I am using my shielded keyboard to write this article. I will say that it is quite a bit of work to make one of these keyboards and various tools are necessary.

    Here are the steps I took to make my shielded keyboard:

1.    I purchased a Logitech Classic Keyboard 200 from Walmart. I think it cost around $12 to $15. It is good to have a USB keyboard with a long cord (or USB extension cord) so that, if necessary, the keyboard can be positioned a significant distance from the tower and monitor. I have chemical sensitivity and the Logitech keyboard was not a problem for me.

2.    I cut a clear quart-size Ziploc bag down the sides and laid it out full length across the keyboard. I then taped the plastic bag to the keyboard to secure it. After that, I marked the position of each key on the plastic bag with a magic marker. I put a dot in the center of each key. Here is a picture of this process (though it is a different type of keyboard):

3.    Next, I removed the plastic bag from the keyboard and taped the bag to a manila folder. I poked holes in the manila folder for each key (where the dots were) with a push pin. After removing the plastic bag, I then poked each pin hole in the manila folder with a three-inch-long nail to make larger holes. I then taped the manila folder onto the surface that I was using for the keyboard (plastic, mu metal, sheet metal, or other material), and marked the location of each key.

4.    After that, I used an electric drill to drill a hole for each key (someone without EHS should do the drilling). If you are drilling through something thick, such as a thick piece of wood, it is beneficial to use a drill press to make sure the holes are straight. I used a Black and Decker hand drill, and had to drill some holes over again that were crooked.

5.    For the keys, I used plastic rods that were about three inches in length. If I make another keyboard, I would like to try using longer plastic rods. As the distance from the electronic device increases, the electromagnetic field becomes weaker.

6.    I then assembled the shielded keyboard and secured it to the Logitech keyboard.

    Instead of using a laser mouse (which causes me considerable pain), I now use MouseKeys with the numeric keypad to control the pointing device. I should also note that because I have chemical sensitivity, I made one keyboard out of materials that I could put through the dishwasher if they became toxic. There are various materials that can be incorporated into the keyboard to limit electromagnetic radiation, including mu metal. I have purchased mu metal and other materials that can lessen electromagnetic radiation from the following site:   Shop EMF protection and shielding at

Shop EMF Meters & Shielding

Best of luck!


  1. Hey I recently became electrosensitive. I'm a programmer and I need to use the keyboard alot so I'm wondering if you have made any improvements or found any better alternatives seeing that one year has passed since you uploaded this. Thanks for your response

    1. Joel,
      Hope you're doing well. I had an idea for a fiber optic keyboard that might help those with EHS but it has not been developed yet:

  2. Joel,
    I’m sorry you developed EHS! I wish I could say I had found a better solution but I am still using the same setup (only much less because my EHS has become worse). I’m hoping some engineers will bring a good solution to market. I’d pay quite a bit for a keyboard that doesn’t give me symptoms. Best of luck!

  3. Any better solutions?

    Thinking about doing this but i need access to a keyboard as well.


    1. Natatech makes a fiber optic keyboard but it costs thousands of dollars. Also, maybe you've seen this?

      Thanks and keep in touch!

  4. To see other wooden solutions, search for "Merializer" on youtube or use this link:

    1. Thanks for the comment. Your videos are well done and the wooden keyboard is a great way to get distance from a keyboard.