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Minuum wants to redesign the touchscreen keyboard

A new start-up from the University of Toronto, Canada, is hoping to solve the problem of the touchscreen keyboard and introduce finger-free typing.

(Credit: Whirlscape)

A new start-up from the University of Toronto, Canada, is hoping to solve the problem of the touchscreen keyboard and introduce finger-free typing.

For almost as long as touchscreen devices have been mainstream, inventors have been trying to re-jig the ol' mainstay QWERTY keyboard. Late last year, we saw ASETNIOP, which aimed to be so intuitive that you would cease needing to see the keys on the screen.

Whirlscape, a start-up from the University of Toronto, is attacking the same problem — that is, touchscreen keyboards taking up valuable screen real estate — with a project called Minuum.

Minuum has taken the three-row keyboard and condensed it down to a single row of keys, while maintaining the QWERTY configuration that has, according to Whirlscape's Indiegogo campaign, a bunch of benefits over the traditional "typewriter-style" keyboard. But that's not the interesting part.

What is interesting is that it has the potential to work with wearable tech, such as Myo, the Bluetooth gesture control bracelet, or any device with a gyroscope. Think of the Minuum keyboard like a safe lock, with the letters arrayed in a circle. By twisting your wrist, you would be able to select letters, effectively typing without fingers.

In fact, Whirlscape even believes it has Google Glass potential, with the camera capturing your hand movements, which would minimise the need to send the headset voice commands.

As for the tech we have now, Minuum, according to Whirlscape, offers the following:

  • Recovering more than half of the usable touchscreen space you lose when you type on traditional virtual keyboards

  • Allowing you fast text entry when your typing is sloppy

  • Providing you with letter magnification for precise typing — especially useful if you have large fingers

  • Giving you the benefit of smart autocorrection

  • Respecting your familiarity with the QWERTY keyboard so you don't have to re-learn the keyboard layout

  • Providing convenient access to everything you'd expect in a keyboard (such as, punctuation, space, backspace, and enter) without stealing your screen space

  • Letting you type anywhere — with a keyboard you can move around your touchscreen.

Minuum has been designed for Android, with an iOS prototype that developers can incorporate into their own apps if they so desire since Apple doesn't allow the default keyboard to be replaced.

It'll cost you just US$5 for the app. Check out the crowd-funding campaign on Indiegogo here.