September 20, 2010 report
'Keyless keyboards' coming for mobile computing (w/ Video)
(PhysOrg.com) -- A new Israeli company, SnapKeys, has developed a keyless keyboard that promises to make mobile computing on tablets or devices such as Apple's iPad simpler. Instead of an on-screen keyboard taking up much of the room, the user types on invisible keys.
Chief Executive of the company, Benjamin Ghassabian, said two fundamental problems with mobile computing are that keyboards are designed for use with fixed devices, and the screen is designed for providing output rather than for data input.
The keyless keyboard comprises two invisible keys on each side of the computer screen, and each key consists of six or seven letters, with other keys for numbers, symbols, and punctuation. Users tap each invisible key with their thumbs, and in this way can type much faster than they could using a regular keyboard.
The company said there will be an overlay on the screen at first, but they predict users will quickly learn the layout of the keys and would not need the overlay for long. Ghassabian rejects the idea people will not want to learn a new way of typing, and said people have always learned to adapt to new ways, such as when people changed from riding horses to driving cars. Once they started driving cars, “they didn’t want to go back to riding horses,” he said.
The keyboard anticipates words, and the English version is said to have a vocabulary of around 100,000 words and an accuracy of 92 percent. If the word is not correct, it can be changed easily.
In addition to the English version, the keyless keyboard, which has been under development for a decade, will be available in all European languages and Chinese, with an Indian version to follow soon after.
SnapKeys has joined forces with Philips Electronics to bring the keyless keyboard to market, and will split the revenues 50-50. They have already begun negotiations with the top mobile computing companies, and Ghassabian said they were “in the phase of closing deals.”
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