Current Status: April 2015

A project log for Neotype: Haptic Computing

Communication platform: Text can be felt, as it is expressed

paulbeaudetPaul_Beaudet 04/24/2015 at 18:410 Comments

Figured a update was in order.

This specific project is currently dormant, but that doesn't mean the overall goal of the project is dead. I'm still working hard on creating interface technologies that facilitate more efficient communications. The solution to this problem can take many forms and right now I'm exploring a more software oriented method that plays more heavily on the UI context of communication as opposed to the physical aspect of making digital communication efficient. The software side of this problem is a crowded and competitive space, but it hardly matters to me when I'm hard pressed to find the technologies that take digital communication anywhere near comparable to person to person interaction. There are big innovations to be seen for a product that meets the requirements that I have imagined for neotype, so I do plan to revisit it in the future. Hopefully a future in which I'm better poised to dedicate more resources.

Final typing top speed with Tenkey: around 30 wpm / retention after 2 months cold turkey: around 20wpm 95% memory of layout

I stopped typing with Tenkey for the following reasons; The key assignment was too similar to my full keyboard layout so cross confusion started to reduce my full keyboard speed. Which normally varies between 38-70wpm depending on what is being typed. (Averaging around 45wpm for standard test) Cross confusion reduced my Dvorak speed by 10wpm, though I'm sure more practice would have reduced that figure. The second issue was that I started feeling the onset symptoms of developing a repetitive stress injury (RSI) after about 3 months use of tenkey. This is because of two reasons, 1 ) the prototype was not correctly designed with long term use in mind, 2 ) Some chords or finger combinations currently used in the layout are too stressful to be used as part of a regular key mapping. I would imagine the second issue would create a great challenge to a gesture base system of character entry. Each gesture would need to be ergonomically analysed against character or syllable commonality.

Key findings (pun intended) : The body is physically capable of a maximum rate of movement that varies from person to person and whether that movement is using fine or gross motor control. In the case of communication this rate is further limited my reaction time in the cases response and change of thought. Fine independent motor control of all 10 fingers is likely max 12-16hz (for a Usain Bolt of finger motion). When talking about fine combined/chord motor control of all ten fingers this number is much less, because these figures are hard to measure in a definitive way, I will say anecdotally chording is only capable of half to 3 quarters of the rate of independent finger motion optimistically speaking. Honestly, I would say stenographers would be better with a full keyboard, but the efficiency of the skill comes from the simplification of a language which reduces the keyset anyway. The efficiency is also gained with the laborious practice of memorizing that shorthand. This is just the tip of the ice berg but I'm going to stop before this turns into a book. The results of my research have been far from my expectations and much to my discontent have only supported the dominance of the popular anomaly that is the Qwerty keyboard. Something better can and should be build to fit in with the future of computing and communication, but it is now abundantly apparently to me why it has yet to happen.

The haptics is a whole other story, maybe another time...