Ah yes, the QWERTY keyboard; an oldie but goodie. The QWERTY keyboard as we know it was created in 1878. Amazing how we can take an invention that was originally designed for a giant machine like a type writer and incorporate it in to our tiny phones over a hundred years later. So far, our answer to make this design work more comfortably for us has been to make larger screens. But what if we didn't have to make larger screens? What if we just made smaller keyboards?
That’s what the Minuum Keyboard Project is for. The Minuum keyboard is a keyboard that is in the form of a QWERTY, but instead of taking up a large chunk of your screen it only takes up the space of a small bar. The concept is that all you have to do is tap your fingers on or near the letter of the word you;re trying to type. It's more or less a simplified version of Swype - without the swiping.
The keyboard was "designed for sloppy typing", and by basing it off such a function you can use it for a lot more than you ever thought you could use a QWERTY keyboard for.
What's so cool about Minuum is that it actually caters to a lot of different aspects of modern day smart technology. Not only does the keyboard help those with big fingers (but let's be real here, who doesn't have big fingers when compared to the screen of a smartphone?) type words faster and more efficiently, but by taking up such a small amount of space it can also be considered useful to other up-and-coming technologies that would not have originally supported the idea of a virtual keyboard, such as the smart watch or Google Glass. Some of the examples shown of ways that the Minuum keyboard includes using a PlayStation's joysticks to hover over the letters you're trying to type, or simply waving an iPhone in front of a sensor on a TV to dictate text. You can even use a simple piece of paper.
Seeing the video and actually watching the demonstrations of just how versatile this version of a QWERTY keyboard really got the reels in my head to start grinding, like incorporating it with other inventions we've seen lately. As skeptical as I was about just how useful some of Samsung's features on their latest Galaxy S 4 was, if you combine them with something like the Minuum Keyboard they're not so silly after all. Say you use the Minuum keyboard on a pair of Google Glass. You don't want to touch the glasses because then they'll get smudged, but if you had something similar to Air Gesture you would be able to easily type something without having to worry about smudging up your glasses. You'd look pretty silly waving your finger in front of your eyes like a madman, but come on. We'd already be talking to our glasses anyway, what's one more strange function going to hurt it? It's still practical and functional, that's what I'd like to see.
If I was to ever think of anything as innovative lately, I would say this is it. I don't even have big fingers but I often find myself victim of that troublesome autocorrect that can get me into precarious situations. It would be silly to assume that just because this keyboard is designed for sloppy typing, however, that there wouldn't ever be any mistakes. You have to take the good with the bad, and while the keyboard itself is a great idea and solves a few problems that QWERTY keyboards have in smartphones, it's still predictive text that sometimes predicts wrong. The key with the Minuum keyboard, however, is that hopefully it will have fewer problems than a keyboard that was geared towards precision typing.
Not everybody is going to like the idea of the Minuum keyboard, but I see it as being offered as a secondary option for traditional QWERTY keyboards, kind of like Swype. It gives people something different to choose from if they want, and who knows? It looks confusing at first but the fact that it's still based on the traditional QWERTY layout means there's probably not much of a learning curve to pass. It's kind of like when T9 took over from ABC text on flip phones - some people didn't like it, but it was revolutionary and it did make typing easier for a lot of people.
If you get the chance, I suggest watching the video and seeing exactly what I mean by how this QWERTY keyboard works. Once you get past the Apple-esque music and the Derek Zoolander voice of commercial speaker Will Walmsley (which sounded a lot like "Whale Wompson" the first couple of times I watched the video thanks to bad audio levels - on the plus side it's probably the best fake name I've ever heard) you'll be able to see just how cool the method is and perhaps you'll want to see it in your future technologies too! Or not; but that's up to you to decide.
So readers, what do you think about the Minuum Keyboard Project? Would you like to see this incorporated in our smartphones or other smart devices in the future, or are you content with the way things are now? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!