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Gadget Freak Case #225: Moving the Keyboard Onto Your Fingers
9/14/2012

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All input is provided directly under your fingertips with direct access to anything you want, anytime you want it.
All input is provided directly under your fingertips with direct access to anything you want, anytime you want it.

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armorris
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Right to use
armorris   9/14/2012 10:11:47 AM
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I see from the text that this gadget is patented. What permission does the reader have regarding its construction and use? I assume that if the reader builds it, he/she will have to write their own software code for it, as no code listing is provided in the article.

in10did
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Re: Right to use
in10did   9/14/2012 7:50:20 PM
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Hi armorris, try it at home and if you like it and want to make stuff to sell, we should talk.  No code is provided but I spelled it out so someone could write it out.  I hope to have some keyboards to go by the end of the year and just a few on ebay now if someone is eager to try it.  

creamysbrianna
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Syntax?
creamysbrianna   9/14/2012 2:22:05 PM
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Maybe I'm making some assumptions here but my assumptions based upon the very breif article here is that you would need to enter a two digit code for each letter or some code for a word.  But this I can not see becoming very popular at all, there is a reason by D.O.S. is no longer used by the common average user today.  Syntax code requires a person to memorize a series of codes and translate them.  Which personally I really would not want to have to go back to entering syntax again.

 

Just my opinion,

 

creamy's brianna

creamysbrianna
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Re: Syntax?
creamysbrianna   9/14/2012 2:30:02 PM
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After watching the video which explains a lot more about what Wayne has developed .  I still think this would not be well suited to the consumer market at all, it may work in the markets he intended it for but again requires memorization of syntax which people really dislike having to do.  While I used to be fairly proficent in using D.O.S. and able to write some interesting AutoEXEC.BAT files for my PC in the 1990's.  I still would not want to go back to syntax code.

 

Best regards,

 

creamy's brianna

Beth Stackpole
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Re: Syntax?
Beth Stackpole   9/14/2012 2:53:38 PM
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Nice job Wayne, although I have to admit, I'd much prefer the larger real estate of my full-out QWERTY keyboard. Personally, it would require way too much thinking or rethinking on my part to get any kind of use out of your device whereas typing on the same old standard keyboard is totally natural for me. I applaud your efforts, though, and your creativity!

armorris
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Re: Syntax?
armorris   9/14/2012 4:21:56 PM
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I used to be a batch-file wizard, too. I loved DOS, because it was simple and worked well, but it was a pain to have to learn its syntax.

 I think this invention would be useful for certain disabilities as the keyboard could be adapted to whatever fingers or body parts the disabled user is able to move. I imagine there are disabled people already out there, using something similar, that has been custom-designed for them. They would already have to learn some kind of syntax code to communicate. I would not recommend using this invention to text from the steering wheel of your car as that would still be distracting. I'm sure there are situations where this invention would be useful, but I don't think it's something that everybody is going to want to buy and learn to use.

Charles Murray
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Re: Syntax?
Charles Murray   9/14/2012 5:29:04 PM
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I had the same thought, armorris. It might be well-suited for people with certain disabilities, including those who may have lost the use of a hand, or have limited use of one hand. I'm wondering it Wayne Rasanen has considered it for those users.  

in10did
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Re: Syntax?
in10did   9/14/2012 8:14:57 PM
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I really don't think about it in terms of numbers at all, it's just moving one finger and then another.  It's more about thumbs for letters and index fingers for punctuation, etc. so your dos comment shows your engineers brain trying to classify it with numbers.  True, I did show the keys with just numbers on them but trying to show all the letters and functions would be too confusing.  You can see one like that on in10did.com.  As far as using it in a car goes, it might only get power when the gear shift is in park.  That's the only way to really be safe, but really I hope it can help the disabled.  In fact I just did a presentation on Wednesday at the James A Haley Veterans Hospital in Tampa for about a dozen doctors, nurses and staff.  I gave them one to experiment with and have given others to the lighthouse for the vision impaired and the Florida Assistive Technology program.  Maybe not right for everyone but it could be great for someone.

flared0ne
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Adopter incentives are futile. Users will refuse to be assimilated.
flared0ne   9/17/2012 2:30:13 PM
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Anyone who already knows how to type has a huge investment in "muscle memory" and brain-rewiring, undertaken specifically to semi-automate the conversion from verbal thought to finger motions. Sure, introducing something new for anyone who HASN'T already committed that effort and investment might make sense -- but they're rarely the ones buying the hardware. The majority of people who remember the time spent learning the QWERTY keyboard will have a surprisingly clear grasp of UNlearning the Old and THEN learning the New. And will pass on the "opportunity".

 

I and others have been discussing similar issues, re virtual keyboards, in particular the missing element of keystroke feedback. There have been "projected" keyboards on the market at various times; none of which appear to have fully captured any significant market share, although I have yet to find any reviews which fully characterize the "meh" factor(s) involved. There are various tablets on the market now whose carrying-case "cover" includes a touch-surface keyboard; even those come with an upgrade path to a keyboard offering tactile feedback. If vendors would share market stats, this would probably make a good test venue for some statistical analysis re the "need" for tactile/haptic feedback of some sort. 

sbkenn
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Re: Adopter incentives are futile. Users will refuse to be assimilated.
sbkenn   9/17/2012 2:56:23 PM
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This device looks like a stenograph.

78RPM
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Re: Adopter incentives are futile. Users will refuse to be assimilated.
78RPM   9/17/2012 3:35:24 PM
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I can't believe how many Luddites read this column. So maybe this device is not the elegant endpoint of mobile keyboards; so maybe old QWERTY dogs don't want to learn new tricks.  But when I see people walking through intersections with their attention on their keyboards, I know there has to be a better keyboard than QWERTY for mobile users.

This project perks up our attention for what could be. How about the mobile equivalent of what QWERTY and Dvorak were meant to be -- a fast way of sharing information as text.  Perhaps we will end up with an international sign language for mobile devices.  In the 1960s, people though I was silly for taking typing class. I say neener neener to them now. With billions of people on mobile devices, this project is a protoplasm of things to come.

flared0ne
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Re: Adopter incentives are futile. Users will refuse to be assimilated.
flared0ne   9/17/2012 4:46:04 PM
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Luddites, eh? Just because I played Tenor Sax for ten years doesn't mean that I have ANY right to assume that assigning text character values to musical notes means that an "instrumental" keyboard is going to succeed in the marketplace. History is full of "great products in search of a viable market" -- most of them rightfully gathering dust.

 

I LIKE the concept of a "gestural sign language" -- recent conversations with various people VERY fluent in ASL would seem to imply that signing COULD possibly compete with text in the key measure of information density. "Pictures" and "a thousand words", etc... All I can say with any surety is that THIS device is highly unlikely to be a Game Changer. Not enough of a distance between it and existing technology. Give me a gesture recognizing sensor, now, and we might have a productive conversation to look forward to.

 

I still say, though, that the best upgrade to the existing keyboard is going to be some mechanism which allows a computer to detect the finger movements associated with keystrokes withOUT requiring the keys. Gloves, or finger-watcher cameras, etc. No need to throw out the tried-and-true if it can be optimized and made more efficient. Paradigms don't HAVE to change.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Adopter incentives are futile. Users will refuse to be assimilated.
Rob Spiegel   9/18/2012 3:28:24 PM
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It's nice to see this keyboard development. The logic behind the QWERTY was to keep typewriter keys from sticking. Now it's just a habit. It's like the old story of a mother who is over for dinner at her grown daughter's house. She watched as her daughter cuts the ends off a roast and puts them to the side of the roast before putting the large pan in the oven. The mother asks, "Why did you cut the ends off the roast?"

The daughter says, "Because you always did."

The mother replies, "I did it because the pan was too short."

Ken E.
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Voice recognition will leave all this in the dust?
Ken E.   9/19/2012 12:09:49 PM
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I don't remember anyone mentioning voice recognition, but as Moore's Law progresses, along with algorithms for speech recognition, this will all seem quaint some day. 

The interesting thing  to watch there, is the structure allows spoken editting and commands.  Eventually I imagine even commands will be conversational.  As cameras transition from not just on phones but to screens, the mouse may be replaced by a camera, eye motion, and the aforementioned voice recognition.

Ancient Chinese curse- May you be born in interesting times!

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Voice recognition will leave all this in the dust?
Rob Spiegel   9/19/2012 1:11:22 PM
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Ken, much of this technology is available already. I know a writer who actually writes by using voice recognition software. You can put in the punctuation marks as you go along, and it doesn't need much editing at the end.

Ken E.
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Re: Voice recognition will leave all this in the dust?
Ken E.   9/19/2012 4:17:29 PM
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I've used Siri, and have played with some free software on my desktop.  But again, editting and punctuation isn't intuitive and hands free.  (I can't say I know the state of the art.  Is there truly awesome voice recognition which allows free speach, and automatically punctuates?  And how much does it cost?) 

Who goes with a first draft, of any important document?  I can't talk off the top of my head in truly cogent sentences.  So even if I spoke it in, the editting is 'hands on' at this point.

Cadman-LT
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Re: Voice recognition will leave all this in the dust?
Cadman-LT   9/19/2012 4:37:22 PM
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As for the voice there is always Dragon NS. I like the commercials for that. I think if you are smart enough to use the software so it's actually useful, you should be smart enough to sit and write(type) a paper yourself.

in10did
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Iron
Re: Voice recognition will leave all this in the dust?
in10did   9/19/2012 9:32:21 PM
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Voice technology is advancing but there will still be times that you want to be quiet and still communicate.   Some people have no ability to speak at all and an illness can rob you of your voice at anytime.  A noisy environment can also derail voice recognition so tactile input will continue to be a factor.  Besides, it is quicker to press "return" than to tell your computer to "go to the next line." Gestures are great for short-cuts but can't replace a keyboard for writing or fine editing.  If you need to make corrections and can do it with 10 keys, why do you want 101 keys?

The goal of this input system was to link the hard wiring in our brains that move our fingers with a logical association to keystrokes.  This is done with external keys but I can imagine that once we are able to isolate the brain waves that move our digits, this arrangement could provide a framework for quadriplegics to gain machine control and independence.  With merely the thought on moving a finger and thumb, an action could occur externally.  Could telepathy be far off from there?

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Voice recognition will leave all this in the dust?
Rob Spiegel   9/20/2012 12:49:50 PM
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A friend of mine had cerebral palsy. He worked in PR for one of the cregral palsy associations. He typed press releases -- and a published memoir -- using just one toe on a typewriter on the floor. Given the variety of configurations of this gadget, I'm sure something could have been worked out that would have been more efficient than a single toe on a typewriter.

in10did
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Re: Voice recognition will leave all this in the dust?
in10did   9/20/2012 8:06:56 PM
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I'm sure something could have been provided.  Although the system was built for ten presses, you could do most everything with just two.  It could also be changed to one press at a time but you would loose all the single press keystrokes.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Voice recognition will leave all this in the dust?
Rob Spiegel   9/21/2012 1:09:03 PM
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Sounds like your system could be adapted for special needs people. Given the wide range of interfaces you suggest in the video, it's quite flexible.

GeoOT
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Silver
This is not an "invention"
GeoOT   9/17/2012 9:45:44 AM
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Sorry but chorded keyboards are older than personal computers.  He may have gotten a patent for this particular configuration but the principle has been in use for a VERY long time.  2 specific examples would be (1) stenographic machines used in the court reporting tade use chorded keyboards. (2) the five key chord keyboard was developed and used extensively by Doug Englebart's NLS project at SRI in the late 70s.  You directly input the bits of each character in teletype (Baudot) code.  Englebart also invented the "mouse" at about the same time.  Both devices were carried over to the Xerox Alto (1973) you can see a photo at: http://images.businessweek.com/ss/09/07/0702_retelling_computer_history/image/15_xerox_alto_workstation.jpg

 

awerle
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Re: This is not an "invention"
awerle   9/17/2012 12:00:27 PM
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I appreciate GeoOT's referral to that great developer, Mr. Engelbart.  But the question whether it is a new invention matters less than whether people would desire to use it: In the same way 21st century PCs still use Engelbart's mouse of 1973, we're stuck with qwerty keyboards from the 1870s because most consumers are willing to remain mildly unhappy with their present interface methods!  (As Ken E. added here later, the more ergonomic Dvorak keyb likewise cannot overcome this state of pacified entrenchment.)  When I worked at MicroPersonal I'd developed a pointing device to replace the ubiquitous mouse and eliminate repetitive motion risks, but despite the better technology one reason we could not fund the project was due to the market showing a less-than-lukewarm desire for change (Beth's earlier post Re:Syntax? claims the "same old standard keyboard is totally natural" hence little or no impetus for change). 

GeoOT
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Re: This is not an "invention"
GeoOT   9/17/2012 1:42:54 PM
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I have no objection with someone trying to convince the world now (as opposed to then) with the advantages of a chorded keyboard.  My only point is that is a "development" and possibly a "product", not an invention.  Invention and marketability are two entirely different domains.

in10did
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Iron
Re: This is not an "invention"
in10did   9/17/2012 4:06:53 PM
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It is unfortunate that the artical says "invented the chord keyboard" where as chord keyboards date back to the early 1800s and pre-date QWERTY. I did invent a different way to do it with ten keys and unlike other chord keyboards, results come at the second press and not when keys are released.  There is no way to tell if people will be willing to try it but I suspect it will be helpful to some and just good geeky fun for others.  Resistance to change is normal, remember, if man were meant to fly he would have wings...

bjchip
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Re: This is not an "invention"
bjchip   9/17/2012 4:51:22 PM
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The Twiddler was invented a long time ago.  Most of the children won't remember it, but I remember it from something in Byte magazine...  

 

...anyone remember Byte?  

 

Twiddler is still going - 

http://www.handykey.com/

 

 

bellaire
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Bronze
Microwriting
bellaire   9/17/2012 9:48:27 AM
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Chording is not new and a Microwriting had 20000 followers, probably more than any other chording system.

The difficulty with all systems is convincing people they can learn the codes. Microwriting lives on in CyKey. www.cykey.co.uk. A demo video can be seen and speeds comparable with average touch typists can be achieved. The actual alphabet is based on the shape of the letters, something you learnt when you were 4 or 5 years old and hence most people can touch type the alphabet in about 20 minutes.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBM_FwkMMKE

Ken E.
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Like playing a piano?
Ken E.   9/17/2012 10:09:02 AM
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Reminds me a bit of a court reporters keyboard, and makes me think of the Dvorak keyboard as well.  As some of you may remember, the Qwerty keyboard was laid out to be slow enough to prevent jamming of mechanical typewriter keys.  A Dvorak keyboard groups the most used keys all under the fingers, or nearest the center of the keyboard.  A great idea preceding the advent of the ubiquitous electronic keyboard, but we call know how entrenched the kludgey Qwerty keyboard has become.  Many systems allow one to switch to Dvorak, but I've never met a person who did.  (Seems like it would be great for texting too.)  A great idea that could never overcome reluctance to change. (See also, the metric system!)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dvorak_Simplified_Keyboard

While this is clever design, will any but Mr. Rasanen embrace it?

norsksmith
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Iron
Keyboard change can occur
norsksmith   9/17/2012 3:20:44 PM
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You guys seem to be overlooking an input device which is an alternative to qwerty keyboards which has become quite popular, despite requiring that a code be remembered - the 12 key cellphone pad.  While it seems that many use two hands, one to hold the phone and one to press the keys, there are a considerable number of people who seem adept at using just one hand and a thumb to create text messages despite awkward hand positioning.  About the only acknowledgement of existing syntax is essentially alphabetic order of the letter sequence, though the numbers are basically inverted from a typical keyboard. People will put up with an amazing degree of poor usability if they want the outcome badly enough, and an even more amazing degree of resistance to change from that method once it is engrained. (Remember the legions of staunch DOS supporters who were firm in their recognition that the crisp, clean power of IBM-supported, DOS command line syntax could never be challenged by the fly-by-night, wimpy, GUI & mouse interface presented by Steve Jobs.)

The key might be not in converting the current users, but by developing something which is attractive and can be used easily by all those who are NOT users of the current system.  Far easier to influence people who are neutral than changing the minds of those who have already invested in learning their current system.  Sort of a case of moving from a metastable position compared to moving up out of a local potential minimum, even though both end up at a lower potential in the end.

bobjengr
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MOVING KEYBOARD
bobjengr   9/29/2012 12:59:44 PM
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I think we do get locked into convention but there is no doubt a keyboard applied to some devices; i.e. steering wheel, etc would benefit from the simplification this one would provide.  I, like others who have commented, can see how it would greatly benefit individuals who are disabled.  I learned to type when I was in the 5th grade on a very old "manual" typewriter.  I'm not too sure I could, or would want to adapt to the ten key device demonstrated. 

in10did
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Iron
Re: MOVING KEYBOARD
in10did   10/1/2012 3:24:35 AM
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It is completely understandable that many people who have developed skills touch-typing will not be swayed to learn something new unless to provides significant advantages.  This is disruptive technology and serves best in places where QWERTY in not a good option such as on the steering wheel or a game controller.  Likewise it can improve computer access for folks with special needs.  It might not mean much for some people but could mean the world for others.  For over 100 years, people have been trying to improve upon QWERTY so it isn't an easy thing to do.  That's what makes the effort worth while.

Hear what some people thought about it when we showed it at the Florida state fair.

rvguest
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Iron
Observation in the wild...
rvguest   10/2/2012 5:49:28 PM
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I had a friend in Lincoln, NE, who would do his computing walking down the street, using a small one-eye monitor mounted on spectacles, and a one-hand multi-touch keyboard.  It was interesting to see him walking along "kneading" the "potato" and gazing into the high horizon.

Tool_maker
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Hunt & Peck
Tool_maker   10/3/2012 8:22:11 AM
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I can see where this device may be of benefit to a special needs user, but only to a special needs user.

I hunt and peck and seldom are the times when my thoughts and fingers are traveling at the same speed. I compose, correct and edit at a pedantic speed so shortcuts are rarely an issue. If I had to memorize another sequence of key strokes to accomplish any writing task, I would not like it. But then I prefer designing in 2-D CAD as opposed to solid modeling, so I am an indangered species and will never be the target audience for any product.

in10did
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Iron
Re: Hunt & Peck
in10did   10/11/2012 6:06:19 PM
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Many people hunt & peck because the standard keyboard layout just doesn't make any sense.  If you try to think about it logically, you would never come up with this arrangement.  That was really why I came up with this solution, the alphabet can be produced with ten  fingers using our thumbs to shift the letters.  Ten single presses, eight with one thumb and the last eight with the other thumb.  Press both thumbs for upper-case on the next letter.  It worked out so perfectly that I thought this must be the way typing the alphabet was intended.  So I call it IN10DID to reflect that idea.  Perhaps only people with special needs will be motivated to learn it but I believe it will be useful for many more people.  Thank you all for taking the time to view and comment on my effort here!

mrdon
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Re: Hunt & Peck
mrdon   11/3/2012 11:31:34 PM
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in10did, Very cool keyboard! I definitely see this device/approach being useful for special needs or phyically challenged folks. Any plans to commericalize the prototype?

in10did
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Iron
Re: Hunt & Peck
in10did   11/6/2012 1:49:07 AM
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Thanks, I'm glad that you see value in this technology.  I'm currently designing a Bluetooth version of the keyboard that I plan to market early next year.  It is based ob the USB design on the front page of our website www.in10did.com .  I really hope that it will help people who want physical keys for touch-typing on the back of their phones and tablets and may not be able to use virtual keyboards.  We  plan to launch it at CES in January, booth 36178.  If you are coming to Vegas, I hope you stop in and try it!

Reagrds,

Wayne

mrdon
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Re: Hunt & Peck
mrdon   11/6/2012 2:38:39 AM
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Hi in10did(Wayne), The bluetooth version of your keyboard sounds awesome! Have you thought about open sourcing the design to allow makers to explore physical computing projects with it? What's the target cost you plan to sell it for? Being at CES is a good way to drum up consumer interest in the product. I'll be watching the marketing campaign from the sidelines.

studleylee
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Gold
covert chordic keyboard
studleylee   2/26/2013 3:22:23 PM
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covert chordic keyboard

http://www.dtweed.com/circuitcellar/xcolburn.htm#585

in10did
User Rank
Iron
Gadger Freak rewind on display at Makers Fair 9/13-14
in10did   9/9/2014 9:39:27 PM
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Nice to have the project featured in the Gadget Freak Rewind this week.  IF anyone wants to see it, I'll have it on display at the Orlando Makers Faire this weekend September 13 & 14 at the Science Center.  You are welcome to try it out for yourself!  makerfaireorlando dot com

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