fancypants keyboards

As I read Ars Technica, I came across a post and then a discussion about fancy new keyboards. The following caught my attention and facinated me:

Projection Keyboard

In the future, this will be used on the moon
This little device was the first one to catch my attention. Sadly, they don’t seem to discuss the technology used in its creation. Effectively, it will project a little keyboard onto a flat surface, and as you type on that, it will detect your keystrokes. Yahoo seems to have a better picture of it than the actual site of the producers, who only seem to have artist’s renderings of the device. They do claim to have “resolved technological hurdles” in order to create this device. So we’ll have to wait and see.


Looks comfortable
I’ve seen a couple variations on the Senseboard some are little finger-grabbing rings, etc. Apparently they’re supposed to sniff the ways your hand moves (Senseboard claims to use AI to assist in this process). I wont believe this until I try it. If this worked it could be great because people could type anywhere (no flat surface) with no over-bulky unit. If these things ever shrink along with the rest of technology, maybe we’ll all have them. There’s a thought. If keyboards became so easy to carry around and we all had them, would public phones remove their dirty buttons? Same with Interac machines, or drive-throughs.

Half Keyboard

Looks comfortableFinally, this Sinbad-approved little keyboard brags of simple one handed usability that can be picked up in a handful of minutes. The way it works is you get a left-side of a keyboard, and if you want to use a key on the other side, you hold spacebar and it works like shift. Tapping spacebar will still provide a space. The part I found cool, was that it mirrored the right half of the keyboard. So the P and the Q share a key. I guess the brain finds it easier that way. They have a nice little How It Works section which is worth playing with (they have Flash!). They even have what seems to be a one-hand simulator where you can test your skills with your own keybaord. Try it, it’s fun.

Looks like we’ll have to decide how dependant we are in that ‘tapity-tap’.


8 thoughts on “fancypants keyboards

  1. I too have been intrigued by these devices, particularly the projection keyboard. What I really want to know, from a human being that isn’t getting paid by the manufacturer is: Does it work well enough to actually use? The audio and tactile feedback is very important in typing. The audio feedback can be synthesized (as it is by default in ICQ for some ungodly reason), but you can’t fake the soft and lovely touch of a Microsoft Intellitype keyboard.

  2. I once came across a page once featuring a keyboard split in two whereas the right ‘part’ would feature as both mouse & keyboard (Numpad, cursor and above, and few strokes starting from the right upto the U, J, N line, I think)

    Nifty looking device – I’ll try and see if I can find the url again.

  3. Fingerworks offers a keyboard that supports gestures and zero-force keys. The incorporation of gestures and the mouse on the keyboard is extremely useful. It reduces the amount of time required to switch between the home row and the mouse.

    Other ergomonic keyboard providers include:

    • Kinesis – Offers countoured and splist keyboards that are compatible with Windows.
    • Datahand – this is a very unique ergonomic keyboard, one of the first that breaks away from improving the QWERTY layout with which we are familiar.
    • The KeyBowl – a neat chorded keyboard.

    The most comprehensive source of alternative keyboards is the Typing Injury FAQ

  4. The Half Keyboard is most definitely cool and undoubtedly useful. It looks to me, however, that it doesn’t come in a left-handed model. Mr. Burns would not be pleased.

  5. I’ve been using a Matias half keyboard for approximately 9 months. It is made for left hand use only. It is almost perfect. I recently pre-ordered a left-handed bluetooth FrogPad. I hope to receive it sometime during the month of August.

    Why am I switching keyboards again? Frankly, I’m still searching for the ultimate keyboard to use with my tablet PC. Although the Matias is great, I’ve never been able to sustain a typing speed over approximately 35 words per minute. Also, it can be awkward to frequently move between letters and numbers (typing hex strings in a low level debugger can be quite tedious).

    Although I am not left-handed, I prefer to type with my left hand so that my right hand is free to manipulate the stylus, mouse, telephone, paperwork, lunch or whatever.

    My idea of the ultimate keyboard would be a virtual keyboard – something like the Senseboard or the Kitty Project.

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