How Qwerty Is This?

To all of you who have aches and pains from typing on a keyboard all day, good news is on the way. Ray Mc Enaney, owner of BeeRaider, came all the way from Ireland to CE Week to introduce a radical new keyboard design that challenges the dominance of the QWERTY standard. The QWERTY keyboard was first introduced in the late 19th century for mechanical typewriters.

Ray says it is time for a change. The new design is considered to be especially relevant for portable devices including smartphones, tablets, netbooks and laptop devices. The first Radial Keyboard is available for all Android users. Other formats are in the works.

The new Radial Keyboard design follows several fundamental guidelines. The aim is to produce a design that would result in:

  • A keyboard that would be more logical, ergonomic and efficient
  • A reduction in user familiarization-time
  • An improvement in a user’s data-entry keying-speed
  • A reduction in the keyboard’s footprint size

As a point of information, the QWERTY layout was developed in an effort to solve a peculiar typing problem with mechanical typewriters. Whenever a typist began to type too fast, the previously pressed key jammed with the next key pressed and the wrong character was printed. The solution was to lay out the QWERTY keyboard’s alpha-character keys in such a way as to slow down a user’s typing speed. And in case you never noticed, the alpha-characters for spelling the word “TYPEWRITER” are deliberately placed on the top row of the QWERTY keyboard so that salespeople selling typewriters could easily demonstrate their typing proficiency by quickly typing this word to impress potential customers.

Unique selling points for the Radical design according to Ray:

  1. Optimized alpha-character layout based on each character’s frequency of use in the English language. Will achieve greater typing speeds
  2. Logical, more efficient ergonomic layout with a familiar user-friendly bee outline that anyone can readily relate to (especially children)
  3. Testing shows that the keyboard’s alpha-character layout can be easily memorized in as little as 10 to 20 minutes. Becoming a touch-typist is a possibility for everyone. Remember, most people even after years of using QWERTY, still don’t know where the alpha-keys are located and must look at the keyboard in order to find them when typing
  4. Much bigger keys for the weaker less dexterous fingers
  5. Small portable size footprint but still maintaining an acceptable keycap size for its smallest keys.
  6. It solves the problem of small cramped keys on devices such as Netbooks
  7. It can be conveniently operated with one or two hands
  8. It has room for a built-in mouse and cursor-keys or numeric keypad
  9. It looks like fun
  10. It reduces the possibility of RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury)

Ray added that the future is about portability, connectivity and wear-ability. ”QWERTY no longer meets the requirements of a modern data-entry keyboard device.”

Ray is in IT support at the Dundalk Institute of Technology.

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