Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Engelbart's Keyboard Available For Touchscreens

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the so-you-can-drive-too dept.

Input Devices 160

An anonymous reader writes "Doug Engelbart should be known to everyone on Slashdot — he did invent the mouse after all, among many other inventions all of us rely on today. There was one more obscure device he came up with that never really took off, though. It was called the Chorded Keyboard, and consisted of a system that allowed you to type using just one hand. The key to this system was finger combinations, which allowed up to 32 different characters — more than enough for the alphabet. Now that one-handed keyboard has been ported to work with touchscreens, and it could end up being quite popular. The key benefit is the fact you can type anywhere on the screen and don't even need to see where you are typing. The only difficulty is learning all the key combos, but once you have them cold you may be able to type faster than with two hands on your smartphone or tablet." Bonus: being software-only and open-source, it's much cheaper than a Twiddler.

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

I wonder where this will go (5, Funny)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38989503)

...a system that allowed you to type using just one hand.

Wait, fellow poster! Please reconsider before you write that joke!

That's nothing (5, Funny)

N8w8 (557943) | more than 2 years ago | (#38990301)

Ha! With my typing system, I needn't use more than just one finger!
PS: any advice on getting first post? It seems impossible.
(or what joke were you referring to?)

Obviously you've failed to catch the joke, (1)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#38990939)

You, sir, have failed to catch GP joke

Re:Obviously you've failed to catch the joke, (1)

N8w8 (557943) | more than 2 years ago | (#38991467)

Whoops; thought the tag wasn't needed since every /.er knows what joke he meant :)

Re:Obviously you've failed to catch the joke, (1)

N8w8 (557943) | more than 2 years ago | (#38991511)

the <play type="ignorant"> tag

*sigh*, Plain Old Text ain't that old, apparently...

Re:Obviously you've failed to catch the joke, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38991493)

Unless you failed to get your Parent's....

EMACS? (4, Funny)

inode_buddha (576844) | more than 2 years ago | (#38989567)

Just wait till the Emacs people come along... they're gonna have a gasm. Wait for all the keybindings in 3.... 2... 1....

Re:EMACS? (5, Funny)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 2 years ago | (#38989717)

It's a bit like an Emacs user's reductio ad absurdum : a keyboard that is all modifiers.

Re:EMACS? (4, Funny)

hawk (1151) | more than 2 years ago | (#38990597)

I may be slow, but how would that be different thant Emacs today??? :)

hawk

Re:EMACS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38991797)

you want a keyboard that's all modifier keys, try vi

Re:EMACS? (4, Informative)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38989867)

Actually, at the time chorded keyboards were popular, the first Emacs users were already around, and took a much different approach. Gentlemen, behold: the Space Cadet Keyboard [wikipedia.org] . Seven modifier keys. Seven.

Re:EMACS? (4, Funny)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#38990033)

Someone needs to make a keyboard with ELEVEN modifier keys. For that extra push over the cliff.

Re:EMACS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38990249)

suddenly a lot of questions I have about emacs just fell into place.

Re:EMACS? (4, Funny)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 2 years ago | (#38990623)

suddenly a lot of questions I have about emacs just fell into place.

Oh My God! You're right!

Seven modifiers. Seven Fingers. Lisp. It all fits.

Emacs is designed for aliens!

Re:EMACS? (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 2 years ago | (#38991277)

rofl

Re:EMACS? (2)

Khashishi (775369) | more than 2 years ago | (#38990255)

The approach is not as different as you think. Modifier keys are essentially used like chords. By pressing a different combination of modifier keys, you get different characters.

Re:EMACS? (4, Funny)

red_dragon (1761) | more than 2 years ago | (#38990355)

Seven modifier keys. Seven.

I've always wondered what kind of moderation would result if one pressed Hyper-Super-Meta-ThumbsUp while clicking the Moderate button here on Slashdot.

Re:EMACS? (1)

Trogre (513942) | more than 2 years ago | (#38991353)

...but... but where are the cursor keys?

dear God, no!

Re:EMACS? (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38991527)

When you think about it, it's not that much worse. After all; if the hand can get used to QWERTY, it can get used to anything. Think of it as a step up from Emacs's actual navigation keys: C-n = down, C-p = up, C-f = right, C-b = left.

Re:EMACS? (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 2 years ago | (#38992113)

I still use those C-n, C-p, C-a, and other keys. A lot of applications understand them, including Firefox letting me use them now. Easier than moving your hands off of the home row to go use the arrow keys. Although for awhile I remember Outlook would insist on printing email without any confirmation everytime I accidentally pressed C-p to go up a line.

Re:EMACS? (1)

inode_buddha (576844) | more than 2 years ago | (#38991455)

Yo dawg, we heard you like Emacs - so we put a meta in your meta in your Alt in your onscreen keyboard in your Shift in your Alt......

Re:EMACS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38991475)

Hey look at that. It has "like" and "unlike" keys, and two "pull my finger" keys.

Re:EMACS? (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38991517)

Good catch—slightly less jokingly, the 'up' and 'down' arrows actually did double as 'yes' and 'no'.

Re:EMACS? (2)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#38991679)

The MIT Space Cadet keyboard was a response to the Stanford SAIL keyboard. [stanford.edu] , which had CONTROL, TOP, SHIFT, and META shifts. The SAIL character set had a reasonable set of math symbols, reached via the TOP key, and there were programming environments that used them. Here's a paper by John McCarthy [stanford.edu] on the SAIL character set.

I've used both of those systems. The math symbols on the SAIL keyboard were nice, since they had display glyphs to go with them. All those function and shift keys on the Symbolics 3600 keyboard were not all that useful. Most of them didn't do much.

I'm typing on a Windows Natural Keyboard, which was the upper limit of excessive buttons for Windows. There are 19 extra function keys. The "calculator" button really brings up the calculator. The "Menu" button brings up a menu. The "Mail" button brings up Thunderbird. None of this is particularly useful.

Re:EMACS? (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38992081)

I deeply desire to have a Symbolics machine of my own some day—or at least a version of OpenGenera that boots properly. I am greatly fascinated by the AI period of computing history in particular... and I have a Razer Naga (12 shoulder buttons) even though I don't play Warcraft.

I used to have a weird Compaq media keyboard that had a few extra media buttons, but I never installed the software that was supposed to go with it—hence, its six or seven extra buttons used the Natural Keyboard bindings you just described. "Oh, you want to go shopping online? No problem, let me just fire Calculator..."

Re:EMACS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38991773)

Hmm, I wonder what "rub out"" does.

Re:EMACS? (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38992085)

That would be backspace. It's supposed to evoke images of someone with a blackboard eraser.

Re:EMACS? (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 2 years ago | (#38992093)

The Symbolics were awesome. That's just an early model too, I liked the ones with the triangle, square, and circle buttons.

They went a couple keys too far I think. But we do have a lot in use today. Control, Shift, Alt, AltGr, maybe Windows if you bought a cheezy keyboard; on Mac you have Control, Shift, Option, Command. Makes sense; a key dedicated to just windowing/os operations, a key for internationalization, and save ctrl/shift/meta for the application itself.

Trouble is they have to be laid out well. The symbolics just wasn't that great for touch typing. I rarely had a Meta or Alt key that was where I wanted it to be so I never bother and use Esc prefix instead.

Number of Hands? (2, Funny)

Dripdry (1062282) | more than 2 years ago | (#38989571)

I have two hands you insensitive clod!

IIRC (2)

Colourspace (563895) | more than 2 years ago | (#38989585)

There was an early 'palm' computer around '90/1/2 (in the UK) that was very similar to this. It had a keyboard of five keys mapped to the positions of the fingers on one hand, but could, in the right 'hand' be used quite efficiently as a one hand 'keyboard' input device. Fucked if I can remember what it was called, but I do remember someone being quite proficient with it. Any ideas what it was? It would have been around the time of the Atari Portfolio/Early Psion machines.

Re:IIRC (1)

Colourspace (563895) | more than 2 years ago | (#38989619)

To further jog anyone else's memory - It was mainly black plastic with yellow around the 'keys'

Re:IIRC (3, Informative)

iamsquicky (450495) | more than 2 years ago | (#38989773)

It was the quinkey or microwriter. Can remember playing with it but not for long enough to be interested.
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microwriter [wikipedia.org]

Re:IIRC (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38989653)

That would have been the Microwriter AgendA you're thinking of; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microwriter

Re:IIRC (1)

Colourspace (563895) | more than 2 years ago | (#38989675)

Thank, but emphatically, that's NOT it.

Re:IIRC (4, Informative)

belphegore (66832) | more than 2 years ago | (#38989857)

The picture at Wikipedia is of the Microwriter, not the Microwriter AgenaA. Try this page:

http://www.gifford.co.uk/~coredump/org.htm [gifford.co.uk]

There's a picture on there under that name which is the device I remember -- the AgendA that is, not the Microwriter below it.

Re:IIRC (1)

Colourspace (563895) | more than 2 years ago | (#38990175)

Thanks. Yes that's it but my (possibly failing) memory remembers a similar model stripped back to the 'finger' keyboard with slim yellow inlays around the 'finger keys' . As ever, I could be wrong, but have found my ailing memory to be quite reliable in some random cases recently, so can I reserve the right to push this?

Re:IIRC (1)

Colourspace (563895) | more than 2 years ago | (#38990225)

On further searching, it looks like I did imagine it. Funny how in my mind it is real.

Re:IIRC (3, Informative)

belphegore (66832) | more than 2 years ago | (#38989805)

I think the poster below is correct, it's a Microwriter AgendA. The picture at Wikipedia is of some other Microwriter device. This page has a picture of the AgendA:

http://www.gifford.co.uk/~coredump/org.htm [gifford.co.uk]

My friend had one around the same time I had my Psion Organizer II, ~1989 or so in highschool in the UK.

Re:IIRC (2)

Misagon (1135) | more than 2 years ago | (#38991047)

The latest iteration was the CyKey [cykey.co.uk] , but it is just a chorded keyboard, it does not record. The site does not seem to have been updated in a while.

I could have sworn that there was a software version available for iPhone or MacOS' TrackPad ... but I am probably just confused and thinking of the TrackPad version of FrogPad.

Re:IIRC (1)

Tapewolf (1639955) | more than 2 years ago | (#38990251)

There was an early 'palm' computer around '90/1/2 (in the UK) that was very similar to this. It had a keyboard of five keys mapped to the positions of the fingers on one hand, but could, in the right 'hand' be used quite efficiently as a one hand 'keyboard' input device.

There was something around then called 'The Egg', I think.

Re:IIRC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38992173)

Yes, you're thinking of the "Data Egg". The idea could never get funding but the web page still exists: dataegg.org.

Really? (1)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | more than 2 years ago | (#38989623)

I type fine one handed, and faster than most with both hands.

Example is this post. You just have to learn to shift around more.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38989705)

And exactly why did you decide to free up your other hand while you type?

Re:Really? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38989983)

So I could finger your dad's asshole while he sucked me off.

Shoot me (1)

markdavis (642305) | more than 2 years ago | (#38989625)

Unless my life depended on it, I doubt I could ever train myself to use 32+ memorized "chords" to type all of the letters and numbers. Plus, you have to be able to backspace, space, and other stuff too. And any single-finger "chord" could be easily mistaken for trying to select something on the screen, or moving a cursor, etc. Sounds like it would need lots of rules, timing limitations, etc... really complex.

I could be wrong, but in this case, I don't think I will ever know :)

Re:Shoot me (4, Funny)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 2 years ago | (#38989737)

Unless my life depended on it, I doubt I could ever train myself to use 32+ memorized "chords" to type all of the letters and numbers.

Unless my life depended upon it, I doubt I could ever train myself to use a 101+ key keyboard...

Re:Shoot me (2, Insightful)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38989901)

Luckily for you you don't have to memorize it, as the function of every key is written on them.

Re:Shoot me (1)

Dripdry (1062282) | more than 2 years ago | (#38989939)

Yeah, if you're looking at them all the time.
Type much?

Re:Shoot me (4, Informative)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#38990093)

I don't think it'd be that hard to learn a chorded keyboard, but I've never tried so I'm not sure. However, there is a big difference between those and regular keyboards: with a regular keyboard, if you touch type, you're relying on positional memory. Every key is in a particular place, and never moves. Chorded keyboards don't have this; you get different characters through different motions of the keys, and you have to move multiple keys at once for each different character. Maybe it's not so easy.

That said, I don't see how this keyboard can possibly work if it only has 32 combinations, unless there's some extra modifier keys that you use with the other hand or something. Between lower-case, upper-case, numerals, special characters, and others (F-keys, insert/delete/home/etc.), you need a minimum of 84 keys to replace a standard 101-key keyboard, and a couple more if you want those stupid Windows keys.

Re:Shoot me (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38990855)

I remember, long ago, when the guy first brought out this keyset. Some University, MIT as I recall but that may be wrong, tested the learning curve with two groups of people. One learning typewriter type touch typing and the other doing the same exercises and investing the same number of hours on this thing. At the end the "chorded keyset" students tested almost twice the speed with approx. the same error rate. Supposedly a few "freaks" were able to type two different documents at the same time using both hands.

They were sold for a few years. I always wanted to get one but never seemed to have the time.

In the early 90's I remember reading that the military tested a modification of the idea that used a wrist strap with sensors to detect the movements of the fingers without actually using a keyboard. The idea was that astronauts in zero-G and pilots under high G could use it.

Seems like that could be a terrific solution for tablets and desktops alike. Make the wrist strap wireless and away you go.

Re:Shoot me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38991343)

I have a twiddler and have used it enough to type at 15-20 wpm. Not fast, but good enough for some uses. If I did more plain English writing I would use it more, but for things like Vim, it's just too difficult to be worth it.

With the chording you learn positional memory too, except that all your fingers move to the new position, not just one finger.

If you've ever played the piano, guitar or a multi-keyed instrument, it's the same kind of feeling. After a while you just feel where each letter should be.

Re:Shoot me (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | more than 2 years ago | (#38989835)

Unless my life depended on it, I doubt I could ever train myself to use 32+ memorized "chords" to type all of the letters and numbers. Plus, you have to be able to backspace, space, and other stuff too. And any single-finger "chord" could be easily mistaken for trying to select something on the screen, or moving a cursor, etc. Sounds like it would need lots of rules, timing limitations, etc... really complex.

I could be wrong, but in this case, I don't think I will ever know :)

I bet with the appropriate electrical brain simulation [slashdot.org] you could learn it quickly!

Re:Shoot me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38990519)

I use brain simulation for everything I learn.

Re:Shoot me (1)

dbc (135354) | more than 2 years ago | (#38989841)

Nah. It is just practice. Just like learning to type or to use the buttons on a video game controller. For how many /.'ers are the buttons on a game controller instinctual?

It does require motivation and a pay-off. Otherwise you will never do it enough to get proficient. I know Morse code. Simply obtaining a ham license was the original motivation for the considerable work it took to get minimally proficient. Radiosport contesting using high speed Morse was my payoff. And before you ridicule my addiction to a mostly pointless exercise in communication using anachronistic technologies, explain why people spend so many hour playing video games.

So if there was a pay-off I think chord keyboards could catch on. It seems like a pretty good way to deal with modern touch screen phones and tablets. It would probably be faster and less error prone that the current generation of on-screen text entry mechanism. I think for it to catch on it requires that every device that you walked up to must use the same standard chord set.

Re:Shoot me (2)

Imagix (695350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38989971)

Look up a product called the FrogPad. One-handed keyboard (comes in left and right-handed versions). Does punctuation and backspace (and arrows, and other special keys).

Damn... (1)

errandum (2014454) | more than 2 years ago | (#38989659)

Is it just me that never had that much trouble writing 1 handed? Just get a decent keyboard for your device and you're golden... Swiftkey's ability to predit "awsqhyhuqi" as "confort" is astounding (:

Re:Damn... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38989693)

That's really weird, since "confort" isn't even a word.

Re:Damn... (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38989735)

Swiftkey's ability to predit "awsqhyhuqi" as "confort" is astounding (:

Was that supposed to be funny? Or are you just not as good at typing as you thought?

Re:Damn... (1)

errandum (2014454) | more than 2 years ago | (#38989999)

it was meant as an example, just like "Landkfs" he sees as "Pandora". What's funny about great technology?

Re:Damn... (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38990247)

The part about misspelling 2 words in one sentence right after you said you were good at typing. Or are predit and confort just words I've never heard of?

Re:Damn... (1)

errandum (2014454) | more than 2 years ago | (#38991051)

Ohh, the grammar police. Sorry, didn't recognize you with that nickname.

My main language is not English, so I'm very sorry for having touched you in inappropriate places. I'll do my best not to do it again ):

Re:Damn... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38991507)

Spelling isn't grammar.

Re:Damn... (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 2 years ago | (#38990007)

The keyboard just hasn't been updated to support "predict" or "comfort" yet. It's coming in the next update.

Re:Damn... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38989959)

Is it just me that never had that much trouble writing 1 handed?

I've been writing "1 handed" since I was 4 years old. Typing one-handed, though ...

Frogpad (1)

windcask (1795642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38989701)

You mean like the Frogpad? http://www.frogpad.com/ [frogpad.com]

I've been interested in this keyboard for years, but figured it'd be too hard to type on anything else afterwards.

Re:Frogpad (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | more than 2 years ago | (#38989877)

You mean like the Frogpad? http://www.frogpad.com/ [frogpad.com]

I've been interested in this keyboard for years, but figured it'd be too hard to type on anything else afterwards.

Things sold by a guy named "Dr Gadget" strike me as highly likely to be a gimmick or scam.

Dvorak anyone? (1)

multiben (1916126) | more than 2 years ago | (#38989727)

It's always the learning curve that kills these things. Most people don't even bother to learn to type properly on the standard QWERTY keyboard let alone learn a whole new complex system of patterns. I use to work with a guy who was completely in love with Dvorak. The amusement of watching him changing keyboard layouts on every machine he went to and then changing back when he left just never got old. QWERTY may not be perfect, but we're all too invested to change now.

Re:Dvorak anyone? (1)

windcask (1795642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38989769)

I type Dvorak. I have the Typematrix keyboard (http://www.typematrix.com) for the very reason you mentioned; it has hardware-level layout switching and a very small form factor. That, and RDP sessions tend to flip to your system keyboard layout...which can be troublesome when your boss/client logs into your server with your admin credentials and subsequently calls you screaming "My keyboard is broke!!!"

I can type well enough on QWERTY if I look at the keys, so I don't sweat it most of the time.

Re:Dvorak anyone? (1)

nemasu (1766860) | more than 2 years ago | (#38990035)

I'm a Dvorak user as well. Thankfully I don't have that switching problem cause I don't use other computers.
I'm about 15-25% faster then I was on QWERTY, and it's super comfy!
Totally worth it.

Re:Dvorak anyone? (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#38990123)

Not me; I use Dvorak all the time on my desktop machine. I'm typing on one now. However, I use Qwerty on everything else, including my laptop. If you do it long enough, you can switch between the two seamlessly. I never change layouts; once a machine is set up one way, it stays that way. I don't bother with machines I don't use often, which don't belong to me (employer-owned), or which aren't feasible (laptop keyboards).

This doesn't seem as useful as stenotype (4, Interesting)

tlambert (566799) | more than 2 years ago | (#38989743)

Stenotype, which is used for both court reporting and closed captioning http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stenotype [wikipedia.org] can typically be operated at 300WPM.

It has the advantage that you can already take classes in it, and that there are tons of people already trained to use it.

I guess Paul Wittgenstein http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Wittgenstein [wikipedia.org] might appreciate it.

-- Terry

Re:This doesn't seem as useful as stenotype (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38989961)

Stenotype is great for realtime transcription, but that's really about it. It appears not to be without ambiguities:

There are, however, different writing theories that represent some letters or sounds differently (e.g., the "*F" for "final V" in the chart below), and each court reporter develops personalized "briefs" and alternate ways of writing things.

One hand? Pfft! How about one finger? (4, Insightful)

martyb (196687) | more than 2 years ago | (#38989887)

Yes, I can see the learning curve is steep, I must be missing something, though, because lowercase letters (26), uppercase letters (26), digits (10), punctuation (26), and "meta" keys like Escape, Tab, Backspace, Delete, and enter (to name a few) exceeds the 32 chorded characters mentioned in TFA.

I've often wondered if Morse Code [wikipedia.org] could be a viable option for data entry on a small screen. Admittedly, there are some punctuation and capitalization issues with this, as well. Yet, it WOULD permit one to text while not requiring one to keep their gaze on the screen.

I suppose one could split the screen in half (e.g. left/right) to distinguish lowercase from uppercase and to allow additional symbols to be defined. I doubt I'm the first to think of this, but I've not seen anything like this being available, I thought I'd toss it out for consideration and discussion.

Re:One hand? Pfft! How about one finger? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38990919)

That is a horrible idea unless you want to input data at a rate of a character every second - if you really really really practiced at it you might get up to 1.3 or 1.4 characters a second. Try this on for size - see how fast you can type cq on your keyboard, then try to tap out dah dit dah dit, dah dah dit dah.

Yes, I actually know morse code.

Re:One hand? Pfft! How about one finger? (1)

Dan East (318230) | more than 2 years ago | (#38991113)

Morse code would not be optimal by a long shot, however it could be optimized for touch screen input by using 3 finger input. One finger would be dit, another dah, and the third indicates end of letter, so that no pausing is required. To calibrate and begin input, the user would place all 3 fingers on the screen at once so the software would know which area is which.

Some letters, like 'A' could be entered incredibly fast. Say your index finger is dit, middle finger is dah, and ring finger is end letter. You would roll your fingers "1-2-3" and A would be keyed. That particular letter could be entered nearly as fast as a single keypress. Letter H would be worst-case, as you would have to tab your index finger 4 times then your ring finger once. Continuous Dits or Dahs in a sequence would be the slowest method of input, and unfortunately S is three dits, so it would be somewhat slow and is a frequently used letter.
Unfortunately Morse code was not optimized for paddle keyers originally, so we see repetition of dits or dahs for some frequently used letters.

Re:One hand? Pfft! How about one finger? (1)

dbc (135354) | more than 2 years ago | (#38991057)

There are morse characters for punctuation. I don't know most of them, just the common ones. There are also language-specific characters for Cyrillic, and some oriental languages as well. So coming up with codes isn't the issue. The data rate isn't outstanding. Experts go 30 to 35 word per minute or so. I knew one old cigar-chomping sparks who first went to sea in a WW II Liberty Ship, who claimed "49 1/2" words per minute. I watched him operate, too, with a WW II era bug, beer and ash-tray handy -- he could move the traffic, though. I think chording is always going to beat keying if implemented correctly.

BTW -- a bit off topic, but if there are any other CW ops out there that haven't read this piece by Hans Brokab, do it. Put down your drinks to protect your keyboards. You have been warned. http://mikea.ath.cx/QRQ-QRV.html [mikea.ath.cx]

Re:One hand? Pfft! How about one finger? (1)

LihTox (754597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38991095)

I've been expecting Morse code to make a comeback for text messages, because you could send and receive texts entirely by touch (if the phone vibrates in Morse code for incoming texts). Not terribly efficient perhaps but great for texting on the sly (e.g. kids in classrooms).

Re:One hand? Pfft! How about one finger? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38991255)

It exists [android.com] , for Android, at least.

Re:One hand? Pfft! How about one finger? (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 2 years ago | (#38991419)

I would think both would be exactly the same. Both are learning a series of taps. One is location based where the other is audio based. Learning would be up to which skill the individual was stronger at. Personally, I think drawing a character is the easiest. A hybrid gesture / character recognition software couldn't be any more difficult to write than either of the other two. In all reality though, voice recognition is going to beat all of them... considering it is already available.

Re:One hand? Pfft! How about one finger? (1)

Scoth (879800) | more than 2 years ago | (#38991987)

I'm trying to find the original source instead of blog posts, but several years ago now morse code beat out texting by a decent amount: Here [160characters.org]

This was before smartphones, most qwerty keyboards, and things like swype but it's certainly viable.

How does this compare to FITALY? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38989941)

I saw the FITALY keyboard years ago for one typing. Wouldn't it be a better choice? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FITALY

Why would anyone want this all masturbation jokes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38989969)

Aside?

On my computer, I type with two hands. On my phone or tablet, I type with two thumbs. Why the hell do I need to ever type with 1 hand?

Re:Why would anyone want this all masturbation jok (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#38990971)

So you can drive with the other?

Humperdink (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38990013)

Neither Gerry Dorsey nor the 19th century German composer were available for comment.

Try it out! (1)

newtbrick (799007) | more than 2 years ago | (#38990055)

labs.teague.com/projects/ChordedKeyboard/

tro7L (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38990057)

developers. The argued by Eri1c you get distrActed argued by Eric

So it's a new form of Morse Code? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38990099)

The question is really all I have. Multiple fingers rather than dots and lines.

Boy Scouts could easily learn this...

I remember when the paddle and mose stuff got work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38990233)

Really codes for a 5-button chordpad were 32 - 2 (all off not possible, all on means erase- chording toucho). The original cordpad use the five on the pad plus the three on the mouse to produce 256 - 2 possibilities. Yeah I saw them and wanted one.

Unfortunately highly trained typists and highly trained chord-mouse typists were a lot closer to an eve race than initial guesses had us believing.

problem (2)

Khashishi (775369) | more than 2 years ago | (#38990273)

I find your lack of capital letters disturbing.

Re:problem (1)

kryzx (178628) | more than 2 years ago | (#38991373)

Yes. We need way more than 32 characters. Unless you want everyone yelling all the time. (I think without lower and caps people will default to all caps. ick)
And we need a decent amount of punctuation. Period, comma, apostrophe, question mark, and exclamation are all essential for basic communication. Quotes, hyphen, @ sign, etc are nice to have, and we're already over the 32 char limit. And we didn't even talk about numbers yet. 32 char won't work.

Could this be any more confusing? (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 2 years ago | (#38990313)

There's these things [easyergonomics.co.uk] which look thoroughly uncomfortable and are WAY overpriced... not for me. Some minidisc recorders have spinny-clicky things, I have a couple and got pretty handy with that, although doing anything more than tracklisting would become an invitation for carpal tunnel treatment (IMO). I always figured that a single-handed five button job would be pretty easy to pick up; I figured this to be a logical progression from Braille, which uses six dots (ohreali?) and it doesn't take a blind person long to pick /that/ up. Let's see these hit mainstream, eh? And at slightly more sensible pricing than the Maltron...

GKOS (1)

kombipom (1274672) | more than 2 years ago | (#38990575)

GKOS is another open-source chorded keyboard, originally for homemade hardware devices but more recently ported to touchscreens.

http://gkos.com/gkos/index-gkos-com.html [gkos.com]

Twiddler? Really? (3, Funny)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | more than 2 years ago | (#38990788)

I read "Twiddler" and it makes me think The Batman has been reduced from stalking Master Criminals to now pursuing Masturbaters...

Ummm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38991017)

I may be missing something here, but wasn't the original idea to use one hand for keystrokes, so the other is free to use the mouse? The advantage is that you would never have to take your hand off the mouse in order to type, so input and navigation would be quicker. What is the advantage on a touch screen, over just using both hands for input and navigation?

Baudot (1)

Nethead (1563) | more than 2 years ago | (#38991091)

Baudot is a 5 bit code most familiar from the old news wire printers and early teletypes. It's also the code used for TTD calls for the deaf. Ham radio still uses it for RTTY on HF.

It got around having only 32 unique characters by having a shift and unshift code, also known as letters and figures, to access a total of 62 characters.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baudot_code [wikipedia.org]
The code was entered on a keyboard which had just five piano type keys, operated with two fingers of the left hand and three fingers of the right hand. Once the keys had been pressed they were locked down until mechanical contacts in a distributor unit passed over the sector connected to that particular keyboard, when the keyboard was unlocked ready for the next character to be entered, with an audible click (known as the "cadence signal") to warn the operator. Operators had to maintain a steady rhythm, and the usual speed of operation was 30 words per minute.

Swype (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38991115)

This has been solved by a more practical one handed typing keyboard: swype. I routinely do 50wpm with just my thumb and one hand.

Build it into the back of a tablet (3, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 2 years ago | (#38991169)

Since it is very common to hold a tablet with one hand, it would be interesting if someone would build a tablet with pressure senors on the back and side (for your thumb) so that the hand holding the tablet could type just be squeezing. Make the entire back of the tablet pressure sensitive so you don't have to worry about lining your fingers up, just let the software figure out which finger is which based on the relative location of each press/squeeze.

Left handed (1)

thoughtspace (1444717) | more than 2 years ago | (#38991539)

Damn it! I only get 16 combinations.

InfoGrip BAT Device, Chorded Input (1)

pipingguy (566974) | more than 2 years ago | (#38991609)

I remember looking into InfoGrip's BAT Keyboard [computerhistory.org] as an input device for CAD commands many years ago. It DID work with chorded input (it had to, being a product for the disabled), but I lost interest and have no idea where my BAT keyboard is now.

Perhaps I am too old for this technology, as I also have a 3D mouse for navigation through models and never use it. It's just too easy to use the keyboard.

How we actually used keysets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38992191)

I worked for Doug Engelbart at SRI International at the beginning of my career and used these daily. We called them chorded keysets. They were used together with a 3-button mouse, also invented by Doug. The mouse buttons could be used in any combination as shifts, so together with the 5 keyset tabs, there were 8 bits and anything could be typed. The keyset encoding was simply binary: 'a' was the rightmost tab, 'b' was the 2nd rightmost tab, 'c' was rightmost and 2nd rightmost together, etc. Mouse buttons shifted to caps, numbers, punctuation, etc.

It was used both for giving commands to the system and typing in literals. The most common commands required only 1 letter and those were learned quickly. You could type a character you didn't know by thinking of a nearby one you did know and using binary extrapolation.

How well did it work? It's still the best interactive system I've ever used. It took me about a week to get used to the keyset; after two weeks it felt like I couldn't work effectively without it. For interaction, one hand on the mouse and one on the keyset couldn't be beat. My breakeven point was about one word: for that or less, I'd used the keyset. It was still slower than a typical keyboard for typing large numbers of characters. For more than a word, I'd move to the keyboard which was always present.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?