Minor Update

I have reworked the left breadboard to accommodate a toggle switch so now I have the ability to type capital letters and also use a few more symbols and punctuation.

I recently went back to the ASETNIOP chord keyboard page to read exactly what their thought process on why they created it, and they had a really good description that I thought I would share.

Typing is based on a simple principle: a device receives an input based on a point in space where a physical action occurs, and produces a corresponding output. In the original typewriter, this “point” consisted of a key attached to a lever, and pressing down on this key would swing an engraved block of metal against an inked ribbon and produce the desired mark on a piece of paper. In modern computer keyboards, the “point” consists of a button; pressing the button causes a circuit to close, and that information is passed to a computer and translated into a character for display on a monitor. In order for either device to produce a specific output, an action must occur at a specific location.

With both the original typewriter and modern computer keyboards, there are two basic ways to ensure that the correct action (i.e. pressing down) occurs at the correct point in space (i.e. on top of the key). The first is by sight – simply looking down and finding the key visually. This is known colloquially as “hunt and peck” typing; the user’s hands hover over the keyboard and the user must visually monitor the input stream in order to be sure they are completing the action at the right point in space. The second is by touch – the user develops muscle memory that allows them to use kinesthesis (our ability to recognize the position of our body and limbs in space) to intuitively recognize the location of their hands and press down at the right point. This is referred to as “touch-typing” and, once learned, is consistently faster and more accurate than relying on visual input because it allows the user to focus on what is coming out, rather than what is going in.

With the advent of touchscreen computers and other devices, a number of new text input methods have been developed. While some are based on virtual keyboards (two-dimensional representations of the keyboard surface) and others are based on more exotic designs, practically all of them function based on the same principle as the physical keyboard: to obtain a particular output, a specific action must take place at a specific point in space. Normally, when touch-typing, the user relies on the “home” keys to serve as an anchor from which their other movements can determined. The problem with touchscreen devices is that without keys or any other kind of physical feedback, it is very difficult for the user to track their own movements in space using kinesthesis, and they must do so visually. As a result, it is virtually impossible to enter text into a touchscreen device while paying attention to anything other than the device itself.


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