Write timing: ZoomBoard works for smartwatch text entry (w/ video)

Apr 30, 2013 by Nancy Owano report

(Phys.org) —If you did not hear it from somebody else, you probably asked the same question yourself: What would I really do with a smartwatch, if it's for viewing only, when I need something for text entry too? Viewing is only half of the equation, when you need to find the location of a school or key in any urgent instruction. After all, text input on a watch screen? No way? Way. A Carnegie Mellon team has come up with a concept translated into something called ZoomBoard, a keyboard that zooms when you tap it. ZoomBoard enables text entry on ultra-small devices, such as a smartwatch screen, using what the team calls "iterative zooming" to enlarge tiny keys to a size that is comfortable for the user.

Their goal is to to make it possible, and easy, to type on something so small as a smartwatch screen. The tiny keyboard is QWERTY style. When you tap any key it can magnify the letter to make sure your fingers have control over the desired character.

The agony in learning new text-entry systems is not in the pressing down of letters and numbers but in what to do for space bars, deletes, and such. ZoomBoard's navigational steps are easy. There is a built-in space bar or you can to the right to insert a space or to the left to delete. Swiping upward reveals symbols. Capital letters can be typed by pressing and momentarily holding a key. The number of zoom levels can be set, convenient for those with impaired vision or problems with motor control.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

The creators authored a paper "ZoomBoard: A Diminutive QWERTY Soft Keyboard Using Iterative Zooming for Ultra-Small Devices." Authors are Stephen Oney, Chris Harrison, Amy Ogan, and Jason Wiese. They will present ZoomBoard at the conference in Paris, running to May 2

As for test results of their creation, the team tried out the ZoomBoard on six students. The six were able, after eight practice trials, to enter text on average at 9.3 words per minute. Although this did not exactly demonstrate speed typing, the important plus was that the students achieved the same accuracy as with a full-sized keyboard.

Co-author Chris Harrison elaborated, "As the ultimate test, we ran a text entry experiment on a keyboard measuring just 16 x 6mm – smaller than a US penny. Users achieved roughly 10 words per minute, allowing users to enter phone numbers and searches such as 'closest pizza' and 'directions home' both quickly and quietly."

The team decided on designing ZoomBoard with a QWERTY layout, knowing it would be immediately familiar to users and could easily leverage existing skills.

Explore further: Microsoft reports strong sales of XBox One

More information: chrisharrison.net/index.php/Research/Zoomboard

Press release

Related Stories

Lenovo applies for a patent for a grip tablet keyboard

May 29, 2012

(Phys.org) -- With the introduction of the tablet computer, users of such devices have been forced to make some tradeoffs regarding keyboards. Virtually all tablets make use of image display and finger touching ...

Georgia Tech develops braille-like texting app (w/ video)

Feb 17, 2012

Imagine if smartphone and tablet users could text a note under the table during a meeting without anyone being the wiser. Mobile gadget users might also be enabled to text while walking, watching TV or socializing ...

Recommended for you

Sony's PlayStation 4 sales top seven million

Apr 17, 2014

Sony says it has sold seven million PlayStation 4 worldwide since its launch last year and admitted it can't make them fast enough, in a welcome change of fortune for the Japanese consumer electronics giant.

User comments : 5

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

geokstr
1 / 5 (2) Apr 30, 2013
Why not just add voice-to-text?
antialias_physorg
3 / 5 (2) Apr 30, 2013
What would I really do with a smartwatch,

Not buy it?
CapitalismPrevails
2 / 5 (3) Apr 30, 2013
Smartwatches need some kind of ultra thin fold out OLED screen to type on.
foolspoo
1 / 5 (2) Apr 30, 2013
Uhhh no
unknown_anonymous
not rated yet May 01, 2013
Why not just add voice-to-text?


cause it is reliable... said no one ever.

More news stories

Venture investments jump to $9.5B in 1Q

Funding for U.S. startup companies soared 57 percent in the first quarter to a level not seen since 2001, as venture capitalists piled more money into an increasing number of deals, according to a report due out Friday.

White House updating online privacy policy

A new Obama administration privacy policy out Friday explains how the government will gather the user data of online visitors to WhiteHouse.gov, mobile apps and social media sites. It also clarifies that ...

Hackathon team's GoogolPlex gives Siri extra powers

(Phys.org) —Four freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania have taken Apple's personal assistant Siri to behave as a graduate-level executive assistant which, when asked, is capable of adjusting the temperature ...

Leeches help save woman's ear after pit bull mauling

(HealthDay)—A pit bull attack in July 2013 left a 19-year-old woman with her left ear ripped from her head, leaving an open wound. After preserving the ear, the surgical team started with a reconnection ...

Scientists tether lionfish to Cayman reefs

Research done by U.S. scientists in the Cayman Islands suggests that native predators can be trained to gobble up invasive lionfish that colonize regional reefs and voraciously prey on juvenile marine creatures.