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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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!
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."
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.
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