Instructables

Instructable: Keyboard System

In honor of Instructables.com, this will be a collaboration. My goal is to arrive at a finished design, as a product of the collaboration. Several steps in this instructable are reserved for posting specific ideas, programming logic, flowcharts, or other ideas related to that particular step, which advance the original concept toward completion.

As we already know, this instructable will serve as a record of any development of the seed concept, as it takes place. There are four optional paths to expand upon, within this instructable (Steps 4 thru 7). Each of these optional steps can be developed independently. Each does not need to be analogous to any other. They can be appended on a first come first serve basis.

I am hoping to decide upon what would be considered (by the group) as the most favorable programming method for the finished product. For now, I am asking that the simple requirements presented here are observed.

I have initially supplied these optional steps as clean slates, so that anyone may start from scratch, if they so choose, as long as the specific operational requirements in a particular step are met.

There are no limitations as to how much relative credit any particular contributor would be entitled to.

NOTE: As is the case with any forum, one should avoid editing any post, after a comment or response has been made to it.
 
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Step 1: Keyboard Fundementals

I've added this step to collect information relevant to any and all of the following control options. This is for discussion of hardware/firmware combinations for detecting key presses, switch denouncing options, software development for the alternate layout display, etc.

Keep in mind that it is best if the different control options are easily usable with the remainder of the system. This is to allow easy testing of different options, and provide for the possibility of others adding different control schemes.

This step added by nah.
RockmanDash9 months ago
I think a good idea to add to this is a curved, possibly even rounded hand keyboard so it would be more comfortable
Voxel7 years ago
how about the index finger has vowels, since you need those for every single word, and the index finger seems to be more nimble. also i do not like all of those smaller keys stuck on the bottom of the thumb, that part of the thumb can't possibly push those small buttons, as far as i know
Scrupulous (author)  Voxel7 years ago
Hey, thanks for the input, Voxel. You have a good thought with the vowels. With those other keys below the thumb, they're just control keys. And, let's face it, everyone has to look down at the keyboard, and change their "home row" positioning, for most other keys except the letter and number (and ,.) keys, right?
Uh, no. As touch typist, I don't have to look down to find the Insert, Home, Page Up, Delete, End, Page Down, Ctrl, Alt, and arrow keys. So no, I don't look down at the key board a lot.
Scrupulous (author)  hammer98764 years ago
C'mon, let's be realistic, now...we all know that the average person will never hit any of those keys on a standard keyboard without looking (except maybe the CTRL). That's hundreds of millions of us.
Woo hoo! I am unique! According to Scrupulous, I am the last of a dying breed: The touch typist!
Scrupulous (author)  hammer98764 years ago
Yaaaayyyyyyyyyyy! (I still don't know what a touch typist is...)
Wait. You are designing a new keyboard and you don't know what a touch typist is?

From http://www.sectorsoftware.demon.co.uk/typist.htm
"Unless you learn to type faster without looking at the keyboard or at you hands then you are the most inefficient part of your computer system and are wasting part of your life." (Emphasis mine.)

Have you ever had a lesson in typing? Have you ever noticed the little bumps under your index fingers when they are sitting on their home keys? Do you know what the home keys are?

If you are using a qwerty keyboard, you home keys for the left had are "A-S-D-F' and for your right hand they are "J-K-L-;". Qwerty keyboards generally have bumps on the "F" and the "J" key. They are there so that your sensitive index fingertips can find their home keys.

Take some online lessons. Improve your typing skills.
Scrupulous (author)  hammer98764 years ago
Noticed 'em??! Heck, that's were I've been placing my PINKIES all along! Maybe that explains why I type so slowwwwww.

But, all "F'n'J"ing aside...I think the majority of us rely on those special keys, we just don't take as much pride in it. I've thought for a while, though notwithstanding pricing concerns, that every key should be "texturized" in some unique and readily identifiable way...hence, Raised Letter Keys:

P.S. have you ever noticed that "werf-jiop" would be a more ergonomically-correct home row?
raised_letter_key.jpg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:KB_United_States_Dvorak.svg this layout works much better, but I don't want to spend time learning it.
That would be a great idea, but there is a problem here. Feeling requires some form of feeling, for example consider braille. Because the letter is a concept as a picture not a feel, it's completely a different thing and also requires having your mind remember it, and a letter isn't exactly the best texture, something similar to braille would be, but how many people would be using this that know braille? :P
Actually, I do the same thing. Most touch-typists can reach for ANY key on the keyboard without a problem. I personally reach for every key, without looking and relocate without looking. Perhaps from years of playing MMORPGs that frequently use these keys, but that aside, the true touch typist doesn't look at all.
OK, I admit that I sometimes (er, frequently) hit the wrong non-alpha-numeric keys, but I can hit the Backspace key easily still without looking. It is odd, though, that the lettering on my s-d-c keys are the ones wearing off, not my Backspace key. :-)
I guess perhaps the best thing about this keyboard would be that you would never HAVE to reposition because it would be so familiar of a stance (your actual hands layout!)
Scrupulous (author)  pyrofyr4 years ago
THAT, my friend, is possibly the c-r-u-x crux of this project...
Scrupulous (author)  Scrupulous4 years ago
How about the vowels on the index finger, and the rest arranged alphabetically on the remaining outer digits. That would give the alternating finger action for almost every word. I starting to shy away from the thumb being used for letters. There was some sense to that with the standard qwerty. Though, I believe the thumb is still highly under-utilized, now.
This looks like a good idea, but it looks like one would frequently mistype, whereas I can type one handed very easily(I used it to type this post).
mr.origami4 years ago
awesome sweet radical too cool 50 STARS******************** bingo should be called boing
Actually, that's only 21 stars.  Late reply i know, but i couldn't resist.
nice to know there's someone else out there who just HAD to count them :P
totos5 years ago
I think this can also be used as a portable computer input device (mounted onto a glove) I'll make some sketches and send them if somebody wants
Scrupulous (author)  totos4 years ago
Hey, this is open to any ideas... let's see those sketches.
that's how it could be used. i'm going to add another sketch that shows how the glove could look like
sketch-ps.jpg
pyrofyr totos4 years ago
Sounds good to me, a keyboard glove is a great idea. You can modify a powerglove for it, huffah, huffah! But laughs aside gentlemen, this is a novel idea. I'm not sure it would fit this instructable, but perhaps in another one, although it's possible it would just be a radical change. Oh and 'finger tapping your palm' doesn't work, it was tested before and kinda sucks. D:
WurdBendur5 years ago
Putting the keys in alphabetical order is a nice idea, but it won't help much unless you're hunting and pecking. Since the layout would have to be relearned anyway, it should be designed for speed and ease of use. You might put the most common keys on the first two fingers, on along the bottom. But also keep in mind that putting all the most common keys together will cause the user strain from having to type long strings with one finger. The best layout would have the two strongest fingers alternating most of the time with other fingers coming in for less common letters. Putting all the vowels on one finger should promote this, but consonants should be distributed more. And common digraphs should be arranged on adjacent keys going left-to-right so you can easily roll your fingers over them (or maybe or top-down if the keys are low enough to slide your fingers over).
Scrupulous (author)  WurdBendur4 years ago
Yes and No.

I follow your thinking on the digraphs and such. However, from a marketing standpoint, this would have to appear simple to learn, otherwise it would be a bust. (Case-in-point: Data Hands)

So, having at least the consonants arranged in alphabetical order is as good as any layout (especially if they can digraph with a row of vowels) and it will be learner-friendly.
What if all the vowels were on the thumb so you'd tend to alternate between finger and thumb? The thumb is the strongest digit, so it should be able to handle the greater load, and the other fingers would share the consonants. As long as there aren't a lot of common sequences on one finger, it should be fine. There are exactly enough keys to fit all the consonants (including Y) on the fingers, and then the four other vowels (plus one more key) on the thumb. The escape can go there, where it isn't so easy to hit accidentally. Or the vowels (including Y) can go on the thumb, and the escape key can fit on a finger like it already is.
jcramer5 years ago
I'd like to point out that if done right, you could allow anyone to re-arrange the letters to their liking much like with a real keyboard. I'd be in favor of some research into the most ergonomic layout as some have suggested, and then declaring the decided one as the default. I personally would like to see maybe some variation on the one-handed DVORAK layout. Another idea is to put some kind of mouse pointing device into the setup. Maybe a trackball, or pointing stick from a game controller as one commenter suggested. I really like the idea that digital enigma had about strapping two of these on your hands, however it would really need a slick design to make it practical. Maybe where it hovered over the top of your hands when not in use, then you stretch out your hand and it unlatches a release that swings it down under your hands.
Scrupulous (author)  jcramer5 years ago
Coming back to this after quite a while, it immediately seems to me that maybe the most practical thing to do is this: 1. Have two "hand" controllers, where each one has half of all the letter keys (like the way those full-sized ergonomic keyboards physically split the keyboard into two separate "halves") and we keep the standard QWERTY layout. 2. Have each controller operate as a mouse as well, so that either hand can operate the mouse action (for lefties), and so that each hand can control separate functions of video gaming action. 3. Have the NumLock key somewhere on the left hand controller, so that the right hand instantly turns into a number pad (like a ten-key). Anything else?
Scrupulous (author)  Scrupulous5 years ago
I forgot to mention that the controllers would need some sort of bracing that your wrists could slide into, or some design that would stabilize the palm to the controller.
Scrupulous (author)  Scrupulous4 years ago
On second thought, that wouldn't be necessary at all...just a well-designed raised area in the palm (possibly secured by the base of the thumb) that allows you to move the device, and type at the same time! (I like this over the trackball approach, which would probably require moving the fingers out of typing position, just to move the mouse pointer.)
Having the thumb kind of fill into a 'groove' on it, could allow this to work, perhaps the thumb be 'gloved' and slip into an enclosure. Then you mostly move it with your thumb/palm, and you could have a button on the top of the thumb thing, and when that button is held down it changes it into "Mouse mode" in which case the first button on the pointer/middle finger become "Mouse1/2" buttons instead of whatever letter they were 8D
Scrupulous (author)  jcramer4 years ago
Right. I think we all agree that a default layout could be learned by anyone, and that no single layout will please everyone. I'm liking the idea of also making it a big optical mouse, more and more. The movement of the hand itself would have be be pretty smooth (maybe on rollers). But, there wouldn't need to be much movement...I set my optical mouse to max pointer speed, so that I barely have to move it. Imagine pointing the cursor into a text input window and typing in it, without moving your hands an inch... By the way, I'm of the camp that thinks trackballs suck eggs. I could be wrong, though. A nice big baseball-sized trackball in the palm area might just do the trick.
pkmn4 years ago
(removed by author or community request)
Scrupulous (author)  pkmn4 years ago
I think you mean the left one would have the letters and the right one would have the numbers, right?

Yeah, imagine the thought of two (2, too, to) mouse devices working simulteously...holy shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
Actually, I think that would be awesome. It would be almost like a multi-touch surface, but instead a 'multi mouse' kind of deal. Hard to get off, but yeah.

Sounds like it would be a bit like that famous keyboard... TouchStream LP ( http://www.fingerworks.com/ST_product.html ) in that you could have 'gestures' which seem to be so popular in apps these days, everything from Firefox to Windows supports gestures with some plugin, but the problem is no universal standard on gestures. :P
pyrofyr pkmn4 years ago
Tons of problems with this though... 1)If you are distracted by something your screen scrolls when you went to look at it 2)When you get something in your eye (TONS OF LEFt/RIGHT CLICKS OMG!!!) 3)When you just blink (it's a natural thing!)
dombeef4 years ago
Can I collaborate?
Scrupulous (author)  dombeef4 years ago
Of course you can.
YAY
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