Grid keyboards

Let’s imagine you wanted to align the keys on your keyboard into a grid. How would you decide how to line them up? There appear to be two approaches:

  1. ‘Nearest match’, where each key is assigned to the closest grid cell, like this Crayola keyboard:
    Crayola keyboard
  2. ‘De-staggering’, where you imagine the keyboard as a series of left-leaning columns of keys and then straighten it, like the TypeMatrix keyboards:
    TypeMatrix 2030 keyboard detail

As you can see, this results in the bottom row of alphas being differently offset, depending on your approach. Option 1 leaves the keys closest to where you expect to find them (W and Z are nearly lined up already on a standard layout, so the only significant movement is in the home row). Option 2 leaves the keys arguably better-lined-up for traditional touch-typing, though:

qwerty touch typing fingering
Standard qwerty fingering (image from Wikipedia/KTouch)

In the finger-memory of a traditional typist, there’s already a keyboard grid: The left-most column in the example above extends from 1 down to Z.

But nobody’s really making grid keyboards apart from crazy ones like the above, right? Not full-size keyboards, anyway. But mobile devices (where touch-typing isn’t practical anyway) seem to be really into the idea:

Palm (or HandSpring, I guess, since it introduced the keyboard) went with option 1:

Palm Pre keyboard
Palm Pre (image source)

Meanwhile, Nokia seems to be hedging its bets (both of these devices are from 2009):

Nokia N97 keyboard
Nokia N97 (image source)

Nokia N900 keyboard
Nokia N900 (image source)

The rumoured Motorola Sholes Android phone (named after the inventor of qwerty?) uses a mutation of option 1 (the home row is also shifted to the right), unlike Motorola’s just-announced Cliq (which goes with standard option 1).

(And then, of course, there’s Dell, who apparently once offset one row of keys on a full-size, non-grid laptop keyboard, just to keep things interesting.)

But anyway, there hasn’t been enough cyberpunk in this blog post yet. Is a miniature keyboard really the best way to get text into a mobile computer? Here’s a real input device (originally from “Intelligent Image Processing” by Steve Mann, John Wiley and Sons, 2001):

Steve Mann's septambic keyer
Steve Mann’s septambic keyer

And yes, I’m mostly including that picture because it reminds me so much of Ghost in the Shell’s dismantled-cyborg imagery.

24 Responses to “Grid keyboards”

  1. Sailor Coruscant Says:

    I have nothing really intelligent to add at this point other than I nearly bought a set of Hello Kitty stickers to put on the properly-aligned keyboard of my laptop the other day.

    Oh, and I went to an exhibit at Tate Modern that you would have liked: No Ghost Just a Shell, which I found really interesting and moving. And it felt like something from an episode of the show. :)

  2. IN10DID Says:

    Interesting post, I guess the kb we are building would also qualify as a grid kb, ten keys in two rows!

  3. killer to find this Says:

    Truly liked the read.

  4. additional reading Says:

    I’m truly enjoying the style and layout of your website. It’s a very simple on the eyes which makes it much much more enjoyable for me to come here and go to much more often. Did you hire out a designer to create your theme? Exceptional work!

  5. adam regiaba Says:

    Any way I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post once more soon. I don’t feel I could have put it greater myself.

  6. Renato Starbird Says:

    Simply wanna input that you have a very decent site, I enjoy the style and design it actually stands out.

  7. Car Interior Says:

    You could definitely see your skills within the paintings you write. The sector hopes for more passionate writers like you who aren’t afraid to say how they believe. Always go after your heart.

  8. Reparaciones Malaga Says:

    Read it, liked it, many thanks for it

  9. Tecnico Madrid Says:

    Thank you, this is the worst thing I?ve read

  10. vloerisolatie drenthe Says:

    Lindsay Lohan’s Court Appearance – This is Sad Exceptional goods from you, man. I’ve recognize your stuff previous to and you are just too magnificent. I truly like what you’ve acquired here, certainly like what you’re stating and the way in which you say it. You make it entertaining and you nonetheless take care of to maintain it wise. I cant wait to read far far more Lindsay Lohan’s Court Appearance – This is Sad once again from you. Thanks For Share .

  11. Scream for recovery Says:

    There is noticeably a great deal of funds to comprehend about this. I suppose you made certain nice points in functions also.

  12. click reference Says:

    amazing post, extremely informative. I wonder why the other experts of this sector do not notice this. You need to continue your writing. I’m sure, you’ve a terrific readers’ base already!

  13. Dr Nights PornTube Says:

    Dead composed subject matter, thanks for info .

  14. hot wet celebs Says:

    Really fascinating info!Perfect just what I was seeking for!

  15. voyage en thailande du nord Says:

    Howdy every person in this article, the is numerous comment referring to everything on this page, whats up administration be sure to remove all the opinion!

  16. Elias Dimeo Says:

    I think this is finest for you: Soccer, Football, Highlight, Live Streaming

  17. 149915081512321492148814931512150414971501 Says:

    With havin so considerably content material and articles do you ever run into any issues of plagorism or copyright violation? My site has plenty of distinctive content I’ve either produced myself or outsourced but it appears plenty of it’s popping it up all over the internet without my agreement. Do you know any ways to assist protect against content material from being ripped off? I’d surely appreciate it.

  18. pakaian wanita Says:

    Aw, i thought this was an very excellent post. In idea I would like to invest writing in this way moreover – taking time and actual effort to manufacture a very good article… but exactly what do I say… I procrastinate alot and no means apparently go completed.

  19. Rolland Leutwiler Says:

    Good site. On your blogs very interest and i will tell a friends.

  20. sexy bielizna Says:

    You need to take part in a contest for porlssax the most effective blogs on the web. I will advocate this web site!

  21. vaillance courtage Says:

    I’m regularly to blogging we truly appreciate your content regularly. The content material has genuinely peaks my interest. I’m going to bookmark your weblog and maintain checking choosing information.

  22. Evalyn Lackie Says:

    Most suitable boyfriend speeches, or else toasts. are almost always transported eventually through the entire wedding party and are nonetheless required to be extremely interesting, amusing and even enlightening together. greatest man’s speech

  23. internetten kazanc fikirleri Says:

    Basically to follow up on the up-date of this subject on your web site and would actually want to let you know how considerably I liked the time you took to write this handy post. Inside the post, you spoke on how to in fact handle this issue with all ease. It would be my personal pleasure to get some more concepts from your blog and come as significantly as offer other folks what I learned from you. I appreciate your usual wonderful effort.

  24. Podobne strony Says:

    I simply couldn’t moidisys go away your site before suggesting that I extremely loved the usual info a person supply on your visitors? Is going to be again ceaselessly to investigate cross-check new posts

Leave a Reply