The Minuum keyboard layout. Looks quite useful. Like a stenographer's keyboard. (via Will Walmsley & Indiegogo)


Depending on what flavor of smartphone or tablet people use it can be inconvenient at times trying to use the onscreen keyboard especially if you have large hands. The issue becomes worse when trying to type and interact with apps at the same time as the keyboard limits the amount of room needed to do so; however, Will Walmsley and friends from Toronto-based Whirlscape have developed an ingenious solution to the problem with their Minuum keyboard. Essentially the keyboard is a mashed version of a mobile devices onscreen board that allows for fast ‘sloppy typing’ using a QWERTY marquee-like interface that’s minimalistic in size and can be placed anywhere on the screen or on almost anything. Anyone who owns a smartphone or tablet knows that auto-correct while typing is unreliable at best leaving for some rather interesting (and sometimes embarrassing) conversations. This is one area that has been significantly improved with the Minuum keyboard as the creators have incorporated a specialized algorithm that translates mistyped words into their respective meanings with impressive precision. The algorithm is capable of taking what’s typed and converting it to what you mean in real-time even if the word is completely misspelled and contains no correct letters! While those aspects of the keyboard are impressive to say the least it will eventually have another option where it will truly shine above the mundane touch-screen boards by being able to move the board to almost any surface using wearable technology.


The boards developers are currently looking to ‘export’ the simplified keyboard to various surfaces by combining infrared sensors or incorporating an capacitive touch strip embedded into objects such as rings, watches or armbands (outfitted with an accelerometer/gyroscope). Not only would this allow users to input text from surfaces such as the users arm but also by using gestures which could be done using devices such as game controllers, Microsoft’s Kinect or the newly released Google Glass with relative ease. Whirlscape recently received funding for the Minuum keyboard app on Indiegogo (surpassing their goal of $10,000 with over $87,000) and will be releasing the app initially for Android-based devices with a beta release available to funders in a few months (other Android users will have access in Q1 of 2014). Eventually the board will migrate over to iOS users sometime in 2014 along with a WDK (Wearable Development Kit) available to developers by the end of that year. It will no doubt be interesting to see what devices will be created once the kit becomes available and how well they can be seamlessly integrated with other mobile technology.




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