I love to try something new – particularly when that something is a keyboard or mouse. So, when inventor Wayne Rasanen offered me the chance to test his company’s latest prototype, the mobile In10Did keyboard, I took him up on it. The unit I received is sort of a miniaturized cross between the Alphagrip and the new European Yogitype. But the particular design isn’t as important as the thinking behind it, which could open up many new possibilities in the world of keyboards.
The In10Did way
Rather than referring to a specific device, “In10Did” refers to a chorded keyboard system developed by Wayne Rasanen. Chorded keyboards, which make many letters with few keys, are nothing new. The first stenotype machine, a kind of chorded keyboard still in use today by courtroom reporters, was developed in 1830. Other versions of the idea, such as the Frogpad, have been developed for use with computers.
In10Did differs from others in that its chords consist of only two button presses each, maximum. Thus, with ten buttons – one for each finger – you can make 100 different inputs. That’s enough to cover virtually everything on a QWERTY keyboard. Since there are only 10 buttons on an In10Did keyboard, it is not necessary to remember any key positions as with QWERTY or another standard layout. Instead, the user must memorize finger combinations.
The first ten letters of the alphabet are easy enough, corresponding to single keypresses by your ten fingers. The next sixteen start to get more complicated. To make the alphabet’s eleventh letter, for instance – K – you hold down the red right-thumb key and press the right index finger. Space, backspace, and shift are made with different combinations of the thumb and index finger buttons. Once you get to numbers and punctuation, things start to become really weird.
The one central concept you must understand for the In10Did keyboard to make any sense is this: Every key on the keyboard – not just the two thumb buttons – is also a modifier key. For instance, to type a period, you hold down the A key and press the H key. To make the number 7, you hold down the J key and press the A key.
Read our full review on this interesting device. Below is a video overview.