- Why develop a new 10 key keyboard?
Some believe that typing will be a thing of the past when voice recognition is perfected but really some things are just easier to do with the push of a button. Many don’t want to talk to devices or can’t talk, and accents can frustrate ineffective translation. It’s like saying why text when you can just pick up the phone? People like to have options so manual input will be with us long into the future. People may continue to want a keyboard to type on, work with, and play games. We all know that the old-style keyboard has some flaws and we feel that it should be updated to embrace the mobile future. We did this by adopting the natural human element of 10 fingers and moved all of the keystrokes onto them. The more human side of a man-machine interface.
- How can 10 keys replace the entire keyboard?
The IN10DID concept is to provide input whenever one of its 10 keys is pressed and released. However, keys also act as shift keys when pressed in combinations with other keys. This is called “chording” like making a musical note with more than one key. Thumbs are used for the alphabetic letters, index fingers for punctuations and some functions and the other fingers map out the rest of the keyboard. When a combined key is released, the value of that key is generated as input. This provides combinations for every letter, number, or character to be generated with fewer keys. To tackle multi-key presses such as "Control, Alt-delete", keystrokes sequentially stack to create the same effect.
- How fast can I type?
In the previous version of our keyboard, some users exceed 33 WPM but this just wasn’t fast enough so we made a few tweaks to speed things up. Previously, keystrokes had to be pressed in sequence so there was a natural delay imposed by the user to create the correct keystrokes. We did away with the sequential pressing so now keys can be pressed at the same time or out of order and still produce the intended resulting keystroke. This means that we had to add more three finger presses but mostly for stuff you don’t use very often. The type of chording that we are using now has been shown to exceed 70 WPM on similar keyboards so we are optimistic that such speeds may be reached by experienced users.
- Where can the DecaTxt be used?
Because DecaTxt uses Bluetooth Low Energy or BT 4.0, it is designed to be used with those types of devices. It doesn’t work with older Bluetooth devices but with the more modern ones such as iPhone 4s or later, most of the new Android phones and tablets as well as Mac, PC and Linux computers using BT 4.0. There have been a few off brand tablets that claim to use 4.0 but have drivers that are incompatible and some Windows 8 devices no longer work after their drivers were updated but Windows 10 has been working fine. We continue to try and extend compatibility. DecaTxt as a good fit for active people who want to stay connect but don’t want to stop to text. There are more and more laws limiting our ability because of people who walk onto the street without looking while they text. We believe technology can help solve the issue by giving users the ability to touch-type while mobile without looking and poking at a touch screen so they can watch where they are going. But beyond the mobile/wearable ability of the DecaTxt, it can also be used by people who can’t move much at all. Lying in bed, it’s easy to have the keyboard by your side rather than holding one up so you can see it and poke at it. Some stroke victims or the visually impaired may find it to be helpful assistive technology. Many of the places where you may need a keyboard, the DecaTxt can be used.
- Is this system easy to learn?
Several things make IN10DID typing system easier to learn than other chording input systems. The alphabet is produced in a consecutive fashion across the fingers with the thumbs used as the shift keys so that the proper key can be calculated, and not just simply remembered. Here is a video that demonstrates some of the basics. Numbers are also continuous across the keys from left to right. Once you know where the letters are, contextual clues help you find other keystrokes. For example, Page-up uses the keys for “p” & “u”, number-lock uses the keys “n” & “l”. Similar keystrokes are grouped under the same shift key to help you master the system. All of the keystrokes are printed on the label and color coded so you can simply press the key next to the symbol plus the key(s) colored like the symbol. Most people can touch-type the entire alphabet within 60 seconds of learning it. Of course knowing it in random order will take some practice. Kids tend to pick it up quickly however several adults who thought it would be difficult admit that it was easier than they expected.
- Other than DecaTxt, what are the plans for this technology?
The reason for developing this system was to create a common way to interface anywhere. Everything from ten-key gloves to cell phone keypads to game controllers to remote controls to ATMs could use this same interface. That way, once you know how the ten keys work, anything you pick up would work the same. Ten buttons on the steering wheel of a vehicle could be used to operate everything, from the windows, the radio, the GPS, without the driver's hands leaving the wheel. This could also assist the police, who often need to access data while in their vehicles. Beyond that, the configuration may have relevance in advancing BCI or brain/computer interfacing in the not-too-distant future. Using the neural pathways that move our fingers could instead be used to type or control a computer, making telekinesis no so far-fetched! The main point is, this technology opens doors to a variety of exciting new concepts and is a clear break from the past. Why are we still using a design from 1869 for modern technology anyway?
- What products are available?
We are currently manufacturing the DecaTxt and selling it on Amazon here. There is really so much more we would like to do if the public agrees. To advance technology, we need to look beyond the familiar and try new things. The saying is “if you want to learn something new, you need to stop doing something old!” DecaTxt is a heart our MVP and the step we take to crawl before we can get up and running. We would like to build it into phone cases, wrist bands, clothing, bike handles and just about anywhere you can imagine wanting a convenient keyboard. But like any dream, it only matters when it is shared and others embrace it.
- How can I stay informed?
We would love to have you sign-up for our newsletter at I encourage you to follow us on twitter @in10did and on facebook. We invite your opinions and questions and hope that you will help others see that there are alternatives to the old ways of doing things!