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BlindType — the Amazing Keyboard of the Future

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the do-what-i-mean dept.

Input Devices 125

kkleiner writes "BlindType has created a new touchscreen keyboard program of the same name that changes size, orientation, and position to match your wandering fingers as they type. BlindType also features some of the most impressive typing correction software I've ever seen. The result is a practical touchscreen interface that knows what you meant to type, even if you make mistakes. Lots of them. In fact, you can type without looking at the screen at all."

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How is that novel? (4, Funny)

winkydink (650484) | more than 4 years ago | (#33084498)

I've been typing without looking at the screen for my entire life!

Re:How is that novel? (5, Funny)

DeadDecoy (877617) | more than 4 years ago | (#33084592)

So sdfgsdhgehaveadgsrgh I!
I wonder what happens when you want to type garbage or inane abbreviations: e.g. lol omgwtfbbq brb afk QQ.
A virtual hand probably materializes and slaps you.

Re:How is that novel? (2, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 4 years ago | (#33084952)

Just add 'lol' 'omgwtfbbq' 'brb' 'afk' and 'QQ' to the dictionary. I highly doubt that they didn't realize that people would want to add words, names, and places that they don't know about. Same system to add those can be used to add all the annoying text speak you want.

Re:How is that novel? (1)

spazdor (902907) | more than 4 years ago | (#33088134)

Clippy: "Hey! It looks like you're trying to string some letters together unimaginatively. I can help you with:
-picking some letters
-putting them in a document in order
-buying an English prose style guide online..."

Re:How is that novel? (1)

teko_teko (653164) | more than 4 years ago | (#33084962)

Same with any typing correction features, it only works on proper English (or whatever dictionary used).

It will be useful for typing more formal things like documentations, reports, etc. Not for chatting.

Re:How is that novel? (1)

Guspaz (556486) | more than 4 years ago | (#33085158)

Why? You'd shortly have added all your shorthand and abbreviations to the custom dictionary, and then it'd be perfectly happy with informal use.

Re:How is that novel? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#33089004)

Try using something like that when trying to code.

Re:How is that novel? (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 4 years ago | (#33085354)

Same with any typing correction features, it only works on proper English (or whatever dictionary used).

There was the famous CNET blooper where an iPhone wouldn't let Brian Tong type "kewl", thinking he intended to write "kewpie".

Re:How is that novel? (4, Interesting)

skids (119237) | more than 4 years ago | (#33085314)

I wonder what it looks like if you try to code with it.

for (i=0; i4; ) {lease(r3,i); go( &i);}

becomes:

For I pop Ike. O Pleasure I'll goo You.\n

maybe?

Re:How is that novel? (1)

rsborg (111459) | more than 4 years ago | (#33085718)

For I pop Ike. O Pleasure I'll goo You.

Sounds like almost reasonable Smalltalk [wikipedia.org] . Alternatively, I'm sure you could "tell" BlindType you wanted it to be code-friendly (and state a language)... seems like the AI should be able switch out dictionaries and valid syntax and symbols... come to think of it, it might be able to create a more impressive IntelliSense-like IDE feature.

Re:How is that novel? (1)

dargaud (518470) | more than 4 years ago | (#33087386)

That's exactly what I came here to ask. In addition I already know that autocorrective software, as currently installed on 'smart'phones is totally useless: I alternate between 3 languages daily, one of which is not on the phone, and the other 2 I need to go 5 menus deep into the phone to change, and it changes not only the typing language but the interface as well. At least on a PC, for instance with Kmail, I get the language change in a single click.

Re:How is that novel? (1)

KlaymenDK (713149) | more than 4 years ago | (#33088664)

Seconded.

On my Android phone, I'm very fond of Scandinavian Keyboard*, where a sideways swipe will toggle between Danish and English layouts and dictionaries. If I had a third, or non-Scandinavian language, I would be very frustrated (and tired of the menus!).

*(no affiliation, of course, just a happy user)

Re:How is that novel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33086070)

I wonder what happens when you want to type garbage or inane abbreviations: e.g. lol omgwtfbbq brb afk QQ.

If you noticed on the video, it displayed at the top of the keyboard a list of alternative options, the first being the actual word you typed with no corrections. Seems like a reasonable solution to the problem of typing words that aren't in the dictionary.

Re:How is that novel? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#33089034)

but then it does not offer anything over a real keyboard. It just has all the problems of touchscreen keyboards.

Re:How is that novel? (1)

easterberry (1826250) | more than 4 years ago | (#33084662)

You've been using touchscreen keyboards without tactile feedback without looking at them your entire life?! Well alright then, I AM impressed.

Re:How is that novel? (1)

cynyr (703126) | more than 4 years ago | (#33085142)

how about a laptop keyboard with a 2mm stroke for the last 7 years? it's pretty damn close.

Re:How is that novel? (1)

spazdor (902907) | more than 4 years ago | (#33088194)

2mm is everything.

Re:How is that novel? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#33089050)

No where near the same. I can type without looking on my droid, it has a slide out keyboard and I am sure the keys have less stroke than that. On the screen I have to look to make sure the correct key is hit.

Re:How is that novel? (1)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 4 years ago | (#33085168)

Maybe he is blind?

Re:How is that novel? (1)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 4 years ago | (#33086628)

"In fact, you can type without looking at the screen at all."

At least that's what they're telling you. Just don't look.

Re:How is that novel? (2, Insightful)

Asgerix (1035824) | more than 4 years ago | (#33084848)

That was my reaction too, until I RTFA and realized that it is about phones with a touchscreen.
Summaries published by kdawson ought to have some kind of warning label, perhaps something like "Warning: This summary may not reflect the contents of the related article!"

Re:How is that novel? (4, Insightful)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 4 years ago | (#33085228)

They do, where it says "Posted by kdawson". Assuming you aren't new here.

Re:How is that novel? (1)

tom17 (659054) | more than 4 years ago | (#33085456)

I like "Few put out, Mrs Law"

Can't believe it hasn't been done (2, Interesting)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#33084508)

I really can't believe it took so long for them to make something like that, I figured that the Android/iPhone keyboard would look at finger movements on each key to try to see if you pressed in the center like you wanted that letter or far to the side like you didn't and adjust accordingly much like this. But I guess not.

Re:Can't believe it hasn't been done (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#33084712)

What happens when someone else uses the keyboard though?

I often have other people read text messages aloud to me while driving and then dictate the response. I don't think this "amazing keyboard of the future" is for me. Next thing you know its either trying to account for someone else's waggling on your device, or its entirely unusable to someone else because it accounts for your waggling too much

Re:Can't believe it hasn't been done (3, Interesting)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#33084768)

True, but the phones I've been buying and have really enjoyed are the ones with a retractable keyboard that I only use the software keyboard if I'm too lazy to open up the phone to use the physical keyboard.

Re:Can't believe it hasn't been done (2, Interesting)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#33085284)

Same here. I actually prefered T9 over my smartphone keyboard, but I definately prefer the physical thing over any touch interface I've encountered.

Re:Can't believe it hasn't been done (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33085860)

If you have an Android phone, you can still use T9 (at least on an Evo 4g). You can change the qwerty type in keyboard settings.

Re:Can't believe it hasn't been done (2, Interesting)

msauve (701917) | more than 4 years ago | (#33084898)

You didn't watch the demo video, did you? Adaptation appears to be very fast and dynamic. They don't appear to be doing any per-user adaptation at all.

Re:Can't believe it hasn't been done (1)

Guspaz (556486) | more than 4 years ago | (#33085210)

From all information that has been posted so far, there isn't any learning going on, except for custom words. The demonstrations they've given in person don't seem to have involved any prep either. So it would seem that it would work fine for your use case.

Re:Can't believe it hasn't been done (3, Informative)

Fnkmaster (89084) | more than 4 years ago | (#33084874)

SwiftKey comes close, and has really good predictive text guesses that are usually right and will let me pick the exact thing I typed from the displayed list if I am typing a formerly unknown proper noun, for example, but it has some minor problems on my Nexus One that are really frustrating.

First, it tends to recognize keypresses near the lower right corner as backspace or enter and on the bottom row as space keys. It's very smart about character keys, but doesn't apply the same analysis to punctuation keys - it should be obvious that I wouldn't type three characters then space then a garbled half of the word - it's like it stops processing when it thinks I meant to hit a space bar. Duh. Blindtype seems to be smarter about that.

And second, it occasionally seems to fail to register or filters out the first 1-2 characters of a word I am typing if I type too fast. It's almost like it thinks they were so quick that they were mistakes. This is very frustrating and needs to be a configurable option for fast thumb typists like myself.

These are the reasons I'm looking forward to BlindType, or at least a fixed version of SwiftKey. It seems from the BlindType demo videos to at least address the first problem because it processes a set of keypresses as a batch. Whether I'm faster in practice with BlindType, SwiftKey or something else will remain to be seen.

And yes, I've tried Swype too and have it installed but don't use it everyday. It's nice and quite fast if I'm sitting there and looking at my screen, but I can't use it at all when I'm walking around or otherwise multitasking, which is why I'm so eager for BlindType.

Re:Can't believe it hasn't been done (1)

joebok (457904) | more than 4 years ago | (#33084904)

After a few minutes of typing on an iPad I could see the need for this - I agree that it seems like a very natural and intuitive step to take when you have a potentially free-form keyboard layout.

I hope they will be able to get it onto the system in such a way as to replace the OS keyboard rather than merely have it run in its own app (so you have to copy and paste text out of it).

The iPhone kind of does... (2, Interesting)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 4 years ago | (#33085394)

I figured that the Android/iPhone keyboard would look at finger movements on each key to try to see if you pressed in the center like you wanted that letter or far to the side like you didn't and adjust accordingly much like this

The iPhone keyboard does actually take a lot of slop into account - if you type and shift to accidentally press other keys, the final word will correct based on keys that were almost where you hit, so that you don't have to be totally precise - the correction is pretty good on the iPhone and lets you type pretty fast as long as you trust the corrections.

BlindType is more impressive though, since it's all dynamic and doesn't rely on keys to be in a fixed position - yet seemingly works just as well. The only downside to BlindType for actual blind typing is, I'm not sure how many people touch-type well enough already to use it without a visual reference. But you can simply leave up the keyboard in that case.

Re:The iPhone kind of does... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#33089094)

Trying using that stuff to control an ssh session. Total nightmare.

Re:Can't believe it hasn't been done (1)

Pollardito (781263) | more than 4 years ago | (#33085448)

The iphone does do corrections like you're saying, this just seems to do a better job of it. It also seems to be able to take the relative positions of all your keypresses and look for likely word mappings, even if the presses aren't anywhere near the actual keyboard position.

Re:Can't believe it hasn't been done (2)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#33085646)

It didn’t take long to make. It just took a while for somebody to conceive of it.

It’s not just checking finger position relative to the keys, either. It’s creating a “pattern” for the word that you type, then comparing that pattern to the patterns of known words and picking the best match. It is insensitive to scale or angle, so I’m guessing they’re using distances and angles between each tap. But how...

I imagine that, just like matching noisy data to a best-fit straight line, an inaccurate crooked line could be matched to the crooked line it’s supposed to fit and the quality of the fit be quantified using a variation of the least-squares method... oh shit, I’ve said too much.

I just wish I’d thought of it first...

Someone does it first, and no they're not the same (1)

dazedNconfuzed (154242) | more than 4 years ago | (#33085762)

Hey, somebody has to be the first to do it. Like many profitable ideas, once presented it's a "duh", but someone had to have - and act on - that "duh" moment first.

I figured that the Android/iPhone keyboard would look at finger movements on each key to try to see if you pressed in the center like you wanted that letter or far to the side like you didn't and adjust accordingly much like this.

The iPhone keyboard's spelling correction takes finger drift into account. If you type an unrecognized word, but one/some keys are one-off from a recognized word, it adjusts accordingly. It deals with lack of tactile feedback by figuring out what word you would have typed if your hand hadn't drifted.

This new keyboard is different. Instead of relying on pattern-matching words with one-off keys, it tracks where your hands drift to (perhaps making use of that algorithm to some degree) and moves the keyboard to match where your fingers drifted to.

Distinct difference.

Re:Can't believe it hasn't been done (1)

Hollinger (16202) | more than 4 years ago | (#33086874)

So I saw that it's got a patent pending, but don't recognize the format of the number, "61361522." Searching various dbs turns up nothing, and searching the web turns up only links back to the blindtype website. I really want to read this patent app.

I even searched for a few likely keywords, and found other, competing patent apps from other companies that purport to do something similar like this one [google.com] ...

Feh (4, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#33084572)

I still find a touchscreen keyboard to be a bit wonkey...for me, it isn't an accuracy problem, but a tactile problem.

Re:Feh (2, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 4 years ago | (#33084894)

With the auto correction on most touch phones these days typing out complete words and sentences isn't really a problem once you get used to it. Especially hard to get past for me was wanting to hit backspace to correct it when you see mistakes, if you just plow on through it will usually fix the errors as you go. The problem is trying to type things that aren't complete words; email addresses, URLs, abbreviations, uncommon names and punctuation are all still very difficult to type and I don't see how this keyboard can improve them.

Re:Feh (2, Insightful)

haystor (102186) | more than 4 years ago | (#33085010)

It might provide an acceptable solution to the person who never learned to type or spell.

Re:Feh (1)

KlaymenDK (713149) | more than 4 years ago | (#33088760)

The problem is trying to type things that aren't complete words

or needing to use words from two (or more) languages. On most systems, switching between dictionaries is rather roundabout -- if a dictionary even exists. And sometimes, a different keyboard layout is involved as well, although in that case I grant that a touchscreen has the advantage.

Re:Feh (1)

chichilalescu (1647065) | more than 4 years ago | (#33086170)

I think this kind of technology will be very useful when someone is dealing with several "wall-sized" displays (you move around the room, and the "keyboard" moves with you). Or think of a doctor typing stuff in a "chart".

Failure in naming the device (2, Insightful)

slaxative (1867220) | more than 4 years ago | (#33084614)

If you can't type on a keyboard without looking at it, you're doing it wrong.

Re:Failure in naming the device (4, Informative)

rotide (1015173) | more than 4 years ago | (#33084834)

If you had watched the video you would have noticed that this is mainly for mobile devices with no physical keyboard (read: zero tactile feedback). If you can take a mobile device with an on screen keyboard and type perfectly fine without looking at it you've got great motor skills. But what happens if it is slightly askew since your fingers are drifting slightly due to no tactile feedback? This fixes that and allows you to literally have no keyboard displayed on the screen and still type coherent words and sentences.

This isn't about learning to type on a real keyboard, it's about not needing one all together. Just know the basic layout and type away on the screen with no keyboard visual.

I'm seriously hoping for one to come out with a small camera you mount on the screen that watches your fingers and allows you to type without the need to project a keyboard. Spacing wouldn't matter anymore and you could just type away with your eyes closed and the software is smart enough to guess what word you meant.

So BlindType is pretty spot on. You can't see a keyboard (blind) and you can't feel one yet you're typing just fine.

Failure in reading the article summary (1)

OnePumpChump (1560417) | more than 4 years ago | (#33084846)

Good thing no one was talking about typing on keyboards.

Re:Failure in reading the article summary (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33085438)

Way to be a douche bag.

Gee, that's SURELY new... (3, Informative)

mfarah (231411) | more than 4 years ago | (#33084704)

In fact, you can type without looking at the screen at all.

Gee, that's new! Typists from decades ago were able to do just that. It was called "training" and "expertise".

Seriously, though, I expect two distinct problems with this:

1) How well will it handle "non-US slopiness"? Sloppy typing in Spanish (etc.) is quite different from typical english-language slopiness.

2) IT'S NOT A MODEL M KEYBOARD!!! There, I said it. I don't care for "the keyboard of the future" if the "keyboard from the past" is still alive and well and functioning nicely. Actually, make that "the keyboard from the past and present". :-P

Re:Gee, that's SURELY new... (2, Informative)

easterberry (1826250) | more than 4 years ago | (#33084782)

If you can plug a model M into your smartphone and use it conveniently I will be impressed sir.

Re:Gee, that's SURELY new... (4, Funny)

mfarah (231411) | more than 4 years ago | (#33084830)

If you can plug a model M into your smartphone and use it conveniently I will be impressed sir.

I'd rather crush my work smartphone that keeps ringing all day with my Model M keyboard. :-)

Re:Gee, that's SURELY new... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33085908)

That's what the compact model (with no numpad) is for. It only weighs 80 pounds, instead of the usual 100.

Re:Gee, that's SURELY new... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33086596)

If you can plug a model M into your smartphone and use it conveniently I will be impressed sir.

With a PS2->USB adapter, of course I can and it just works - why wouldn't it, it's Linux after all? (N900)

Re:Gee, that's SURELY new... (1)

Yewbert (708667) | more than 4 years ago | (#33084818)

Agreeing with the Model M comment.

Also: obligatory one-handed typing joke, taken as read.

Also, less facetiously, I wonder how well it accommodates switching scripts/Unicode ranges or special typing for codepoints. (Haven't yet rtfa.)

Re:Gee, that's SURELY new... (2, Insightful)

CWCheese (729272) | more than 4 years ago | (#33085028)

So true, the craft of touch typing is seldom taught now, nearly everyone I hire recently have been two finger peck typists. While they are rather quick to type, you can see that few of them can compose while typing, they continually watch their index fingers and marvel that I can sit and type notes while engaging them in a meeting. Don't presume that I'm slamming them, I honestly am sad they were not taught proper touch typing skills and had the benefit of it through their careers. Knowing where the keys reside on a QWERTY keyboard compensates a little for the lacking tactile feedback of touchscreens. Alas, my fingers are fat now and can't easily tap just a single key on any screen keyboard, even when I know where it is.

Re:Gee, that's SURELY new... (1)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | more than 4 years ago | (#33086356)

We actually just buy non touch typists typing tutor or some similar program and make them learn as part of their training. I've seen typists so slow they go look for things to copy and paste because its faster. Guess what kind of bug that leads to? Touch typing improves programming productivity, so its worthwhile asking an interviewee. When I think of all the things I learned in high school...well, that class probably is the one I use the most today. It should probably be mandatory before graduation.

Re:Gee, that's SURELY new... (0)

qoncept (599709) | more than 4 years ago | (#33085100)

Ready for the car analogy? You're bashing an article about an 8-ton dump truck that gets 30mpg by saying cars have been getting that for years. That's great, but what do you have to say that's relevant?

Re:Gee, that's SURELY new... (2, Interesting)

Guspaz (556486) | more than 4 years ago | (#33085256)

From what they've said, it appears to be language-independent. It's more to do about interpreting why you touched the screen in a certain place, so what language you're trying to type... it's just a different dictionary to match against.

Re:Gee, that's SURELY new... (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 4 years ago | (#33085264)

Gee, that's new! Typists from decades ago were able to do just that. It was called "training" and "expertise".

Not looking at the "screen" (i.e. platen) while typing was generally due to the fact that you were reading off copy and typing it in to create another (typically more legible) copy. Now that computers can do copy and paste without a man-in-the-middle, we do what manual typists did when coming up with original work: we look at what we're typing so we catch our own mistakes. Reading off paper copy still occurs, but is less common. (Though sometimes you're reading off electronic copy that prevents copy & paste for DRM or other equally stupid reasons.)

What I want to know is, why did they put the Return/Enter key for the right hand on electric typewriters when before you used your left hand to slap the bar to return the carriage? We should be mounting return keys to the left side of our monitors. Then maybe we'd have more job satisfaction if we regularly slapped our computers around for going "Bing!"

Re:Gee, that's SURELY new... (1)

kurokame (1764228) | more than 4 years ago | (#33086986)

From reading the article, it sounds like all the software is doing is running next-cell error analysis against a dictionary. It's not exactly a keyboard so much as a slightly hopped-up spell checker. Assuming spell checking software doesn't already take QWERTY layout into account, that is.

hrmm (4, Funny)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 4 years ago | (#33084816)

As standard spell check has already "corrected" my spelling into sending out requests for dates to my entire department, telling my boss I was flatulent and created numerous marital misunderstandings, I'm not sure I'm at all wanting to use this. Sometimes its best just to leave the typo so the reader can wonder what I meant, and not think I meant what the computer wondered.

Re:hrmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33085702)

Pity all my faux-pas tend to be verbal or I'd be blaming them on the spellcheck too.

Re:hrmm (1)

Mike Van Pelt (32582) | more than 4 years ago | (#33086358)

Funny, yes... but also insightful.

My Android has come up with some of the most ... amazing ... interpretations of what I wrote. When I'm remembering to watch its "guesses" like a hawk, and never press the punctuation key until I'm sure it's picked the right word, it's actually nice. Sometimes I only have to type a few characters of a fairly long word.

But if I'm looking at what letters my finger is hitting... Yeah. Very whimsical results. Not as bad as the "Tablespoons" parody of "Jabberwocky as written on an Apple Newton", which was hilarious.

The thing I find most annoying is when I correctly type an actual word in the dictionary, and Android decides that I probably meant some other word.

Not for me yet (1)

greg1104 (461138) | more than 4 years ago | (#33084990)

Call me when it can accurately decide when I meant when typing commands using vi or emacs.

Re:Not for me yet (3, Funny)

SpeedBump0619 (324581) | more than 4 years ago | (#33085282)

I've tried this. It constantly replaces VI commands with "I'm an erudite prick". I didn't have the courage to try emacs...

Re:Not for me yet (4, Funny)

greg1104 (461138) | more than 4 years ago | (#33085620)

Oh, in that case, probably "I'm an erudite GNU/prick".

Re:Not for me yet (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 4 years ago | (#33085430)

Can we call you when someone figures out how to parse that comment? ;)

Re:Not for me yet (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 4 years ago | (#33086058)

Call me when it can accurately decide when I meant when typing commands using vi or emacs.

I'm calling bullshit.

There's no way you use both Vi *and* Emacs.

Swype is better (2, Interesting)

Karganeth (1017580) | more than 4 years ago | (#33085062)

I can type on swype without looking with ease.

Re:Swype is better (1)

5pp000 (873881) | more than 4 years ago | (#33085180)

I can believe that Swype might be better (I haven't tried it), but this might be easier to learn. Will be interesting to see which attracts more users.

Re:Swype is better (2, Interesting)

teh31337one (1590023) | more than 4 years ago | (#33085596)

Swype is great, and comes pre-loaded on many phones [Droid X, Galaxy S series of phones]. Only problem is that it adds to your dictionary anything that you tap out. That includes garbage from URLs like the end of a bit.ly link. Without manually deleting garbage like that, it starts to become unusable.

They should allow you to see and edit your dictionary like you can with T9.

Re:Swype is better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33087122)

"They should allow you to see and edit your dictionary like you can with T9."

Um, you can...

Re:Swype is better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33087306)

I can't find the option on my Samsung Galaxy S i9000. If i want to delete a word, I have to highlight it, and select the swype button, then press forget.

A$$wype (1)

iPhr0stByt3 (1278060) | more than 4 years ago | (#33085928)

couldn't resist - no karma for me :(

BlindMarketing (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 4 years ago | (#33085178)

So if you start to (touch)typing something it don't understand (foreing names or languages, i.e.) he relocates itself and "corrects" what you typed ? What could possibly go wrong?

Also, the blindness part... in normal keyboards you should see the monitor, you get some input both from the physical keys and of course, from what is being displayed in the monitor, and that helps writing without watching the keyboard. But in a tablet (as shown in the article) you only have the monitor, you see the keyboard because is basically right there, taking a big portion of the screen, and you still don't have tactile feedback. You still get most of the cons of an on-screen keyboard and get almost nothing over it. A bluetooth or plain wireless keyboard would be better.

exit guess (1)

shantanu_k06 (688890) | more than 4 years ago | (#33085202)

As long as it can guess I want to type C-x C-c, I am fine with it.

Spelling Nazis Rejoice? (1)

Silentknyght (1042778) | more than 4 years ago | (#33085208)

As this program appears designed to interpret what you want to say based on actual, English-language words, it would be interesting to see how it would handle poor spellers.

Personally, I am probably somewhat of a spelling nazi, as I cannot stand how inept some persons (seemingly the younger generation--get off my lawn!) appears to be at spelling. If this is released, I would imagine that poor spellers would either (a) be forced to finally learn how to spell (again, get off my lawn!), or regrettably more likely (b) be frustrated with the program and write off it's inability to correct their own deficiency as a problem with the software, itself.

Re:Spelling Nazis Rejoice? (2, Funny)

ElectroPrime (1817866) | more than 4 years ago | (#33085374)

As this program appears designed to interpret what you want to say based on actual, English-language words, it would be interesting to see how it would handle poor spellers. Personally, I am probably somewhat of a spelling nazi, as I cannot stand how inept some persons (seemingly the younger generation--get off my lawn!) appear to be at spelling. If this is released, I would imagine that poor spellers would either (a) be forced to finally learn how to spell (again, get off my lawn!), or regrettably more likely (b) be frustrated with the program and write off it's inability to correct their own deficiency as a problem with the software, itself.

FTFY.

Re:Spelling Nazis Rejoice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33087114)

You missed the its/it's

Victory for iPhone users (1)

DriedClexler (814907) | more than 4 years ago | (#33085298)

Now you can type actual messages on an iPhone [1] without wanting to pull out clumps of your hair!

[1] or any physical keyboard-free smartphone

Re:Victory for iPhone users (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33086046)

[1] or any physical keyboard-free smartphone

There are virtual keyboard-free smartphones?

Typo correction (1)

magus_melchior (262681) | more than 4 years ago | (#33085302)

This would work fine if the typist's fingers are accurate in the sense that they move the correct fingers in the right sequence. However, not all typos are of this variety-- using my habits as an example, sometimes I type out of seuqence (faster fingers tend to beat the weaker fingers to the punch), sometimes I dont put enough pressue on the keys/touchscreen for them to register, sometimes I get the finger right, but on teh wuong hand. (I'm also horrible with grammar, and tend to write in free verse more than actual prose... thank goodness for backspace.)

Of course, correcting these typos requires just a few more conditional checks and/or hash lookups in the algorithm, so it shouldn't impact performance much-- but it would probably impact the size of the dictionary.

Re:Typo correction (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 4 years ago | (#33085502)

...sometimes I type out of seuqence (faster fingers tend to beat the weaker fingers to the punch), sometimes I dont put enough pressue on the keys/touchscreen for them to register, sometimes I get the finger right, but on teh wuong hand...

I seriously hope that was done on purpose. ;)

Re:Typo correction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33085900)

Whoosh!

Re:Typo correction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33086264)

You need to learn proper "Whoosh! Etiquette." GP pointed it out, so it wasn't "going over their head."

Looks pretty amazing (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33085460)

If it works as well as depicted, then I hope it gets incorporated in the iOS. If it's not incorporated into the iOS then it would only be marginally useful. Queue the Android vs. iOS comments now... but I love my iPhone anyway. If it works, Apple ought to buy it from them and hire them.

This is why you want a virtual keyboard (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 4 years ago | (#33085480)

When you look at things like Swype and BlindType, it really shows the power of having a device with a virtual keyboard. It lets you have data entry mechanisms that can be a lot easier than working very physically small keys.

It also shows the limitation of Apple's approach in that a user cannot replace the system keyboard (unless they jailbreak), although I think you'd have to root Android to replace the keyboard system wide which is similar in nature. Third party apps could individually include the keyboard but then of course you might get an app you really like to type in that does not support the keyboard...

I would say that users would not use different keyboards across apps but the nice thing about BlindType is that in a way it's backward compatible with a traditional keyboard that people are used to - so in some applications they'd simply get more accurate typing without having to adjust how they typed (unlike Swype).

Re:This is why you want a virtual keyboard (1)

teh31337one (1590023) | more than 4 years ago | (#33086624)

You don't have to root for other software keyboards on android.

Sounds (1)

epp_b (944299) | more than 4 years ago | (#33085494)

Wow, I can't imagine that those clacking and "phoo-OOM" sounds could ever become irritating. They're just so awesome!

Re:Sounds (1)

Fantastic Lad (198284) | more than 4 years ago | (#33086956)

Wow, I can't imagine that those clacking and "phoo-OOM" sounds could ever become irritating. They're just so awesome!

No kidding. After the first minute of that video, my heart was racing and my nostrils were flaring due to some deeply (or maybe not so deeply) buried "kill and destroy for being annoying" instinct.

-FL

Will QWERTY ever die? (1)

RevWaldo (1186281) | more than 4 years ago | (#33085774)

Every time I see tools like this I wonder if QWERTY should still be relevant. "We're using a QWERTY keyboard, because everyone knows how to use a QWERTY keyboard." IIRC QWERTY was originally designed to keep typebars in manual typewriters from jamming together, and its kept on keeping on through Selectrics to PCs to today. It's all so roman-chariots-and-railroad-gauges (why abandon a good metaphor even if its not really true?) Are there finger-based text-inputting tools for touchscreens and/or smartphones that are a snap to use and lightning fast, but are sitting abandoned in the technology attic simply because they're not based on QWERTY?

.

I'm not as think as you drunk I am. (1)

barfcat (1741432) | more than 4 years ago | (#33085960)

The only problem that I see here is that my ex-girlfriend is going to be able to understand my drunken texts I send her now.

WOOT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33086860)

Great, now monkeys can type and text me cause the way they talk is killing the phone call.

Ha ha! In your face, Jobs! (1)

Fantastic Lad (198284) | more than 4 years ago | (#33087040)

Steve Jobs' primary directive, (operating on the subconscious layer. . , I hope), is to dumb down humans so that they degrade into malleable monied children who don't think about any reality other than the bloopy, candy-coated dream world presented to them by Apple.

Part of that master plan was to surgically remove user interactivity from the internet, so that people can only fingerpaint, play games and communicate in twittery bursts of retard-speak.

But now two brothers from Greece might just nix that plan with their little tool which allows people to still communicate on the internet via the almighty written word. Awesome!

The Dark Side can try to numb Intelligence, try to program Minds, but there will always be a few smart people out there fucking with the system to allow the spirit to shine through. Put that on a T-Shirt and wear it.

"Down with the Pod People!"

-FL

How I would code it (2, Interesting)

Bromskloss (750445) | more than 4 years ago | (#33087136)

Let's think of how they might have designed the algorithm for this. In the videos, it looks like it is treating one word at a time, so let's consider that scenario here as well. I would define the problem as assigning to every possible word the probability that it is the word the user intended. I would use Bayes' theorem [wikipedia.org] to achieve this.

First, assume a prior probability distribution over all words. Words not in our dictionary, and words of the wrong length, we give probability zero. The remaining words can be assigned equal probability or, better, a probability proportional to their frequency in the language. If you want to be fancy, you could have more sophisticated models that knows which words are likely to come after others and such things.

Second, for each candidate word, what is the probability that the user would tap the screen as they just did? A model for this could be that the location of each tap is drawn from a Gaussian probability distribution centred at the intended letter with a known standard deviation and that each tap's deviation from its target is independent of the others'.

Finally, Bayes' theorem states that the posterior probability (the one we want to calculate) of each word is the word's prior probability (from step one) times its likelihood (the probability of step two).

To implement the arbitrary position, orientation and size of the keyboard, we redefine the problem from finding the probability of each candidate word to finding the probability of each tuple (intended word, keyboard position, keyboard orientation, keyboard size). Make it simple; have each element of this tuple to be independent of the other and use flat distributions for all keyboard parameters. To choose the most likely word, you could either pick the word of the most likely tuple or, more correctly, for each candidate word, integrate over all possible keyboard parameters (weighted with their prior probabilities) to get the probability of that word. Likewise, you could introduce the standard deviation of the taps as another element of the tuple, with its own prior distribution.

I suspect this method is a bit to heavy on computation cost and power consumption, so if you cannot find a clever way to do it fast, you might have to cut corners in the rigor (or do something completely different).

(Can I come work for them now?) :-)

Re:How I would code it (1)

dargaud (518470) | more than 4 years ago | (#33087706)

...bayes... And in the end you end up with something looking like chinese: you type (or rather, draw) some quick symbol for a very common word, a more complex symbol for a rarer word (and you need to define and then memorize them all), and for any 'foreign' word, you spell it the old way. Asians are used to type a lot faster than we do on cell phones. And they also take notes faster on paper (a chinese student friend in the US would write down the physics courses in chinese, which allowed her to write down the entire course, while the US student could only grad words here and there).

Re:How I would code it (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#33088626)

Nah, I doubt that. Probably simpler.

0. On a virtual keyboard, translate every word in the dictionary into a graph – vertices and angles and distances. Use the middle of each key as the vertex for that letter as spelling out the word.

1. When the user types a word, translate the taps into a similar graph.

2. Filter your dictionary to words of the same number of letters as the user-entered word. For each of these dictionary words:

2a. Scale all of the sides’ lengths in the user-entered graph such that their total length is equal to the total length of the dictionary word’s graph.

2b. Rotate the user-entered graph such that the angle of the first line of the graph is the same as the angle of the first line of the dictionary word’s graph.

2c. Convert back to Cartesian coordinates (x and y pairs on the virtual keyboard) now that you have normalized (scaled and rotated) the user-entered pattern.

2d. Do a least-squares analysis: for each point, take the root of the sum of the squares of the x and y displacements between the point tapped by the user and the dictionary word’s letter. Sum these values from all of the vertices in the graph.

2e. Rotate the user-entered graph such that the angle of the last line is the same as the angle of the dictionary word’s graph’s first line (assuming they might have typed it upside down). Repeat steps 2c and 2d.

3. Lower value means better fit. Pick word corresponding to lowest value.

Too complicated to patent it. (1)

roguegramma (982660) | more than 4 years ago | (#33088646)

Your method is simply too good and precisely defined to result in a patent filing.

A US patent filing should always be broad and not do more than restate the problem and stating that it is somehow being solved by a black box, so that your company has a real chance to stop any competitor from coming up with a less optimal solution that doesn't violate the patent.

My credulity is being taxed (1)

BudAaron (1231468) | more than 4 years ago | (#33087418)

When I was a kid I had a magic act. Among my (admittedly mostly mechanical effects) was something called "Carson's Zombie Ball." This ball (about the size of a regulation softball but metallic) sat on a pedestal. By draping a magician's silk over it I could make it float around the room as if by magic. It really astonished people and got a lot of applause. I can tell you - no magic was involved but it sure looked astounding to the folks who didn't know how it worked. So - as I said - this keyboard for which there doesn't seem to be a credible demo for (aside from videos and controlled demos) seems creepily like my Carson's zombie ball. Seems like someone has it remotely wired - probably looking for funding. I'll believe it when I can personally try it in the absense of the owners.

How Smart will it be? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33087624)

I mean will it know enough to use grammar and figure out that you should type "Their" versus "There?" Would it fix bad punctuation?

Will this cause more "fat finger" mistakes that it will resolve? For example, will the keyboard software be so smart that when you type in an order to sell Proctor and Gamble it'll replace that "M" with a "B?"

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