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I got really excited about chorded keyboards and did some research in the past.

The chorded keyboard is not as efficient as two handed QWERTY. Englebart reported getting 35 words per minute with his right hand and 25 WPM on the left after extensive training[1].

Granted, this is a good speed for having one hand free to use another type of input (pen, mouse, touch screen or whatever).

A chorded keyboard is also a promising idea for mobile computing where a dedicated physical qwerty keyboard is unwieldy.

I wasn't able to see enough of a benefit to try building one or purchasing some of the existing products. At the right price point, I definitely would try it as a novelty.

It seems there is a chicken and egg problem of inputs and software that makes you efficient using them.

[1] http://www.billbuxton.com/input06.ChordKeyboards.pdf




Englebart's chorded keyboard entered a single character for each chord. Most chorded keyboard systems type multiple characters or entire words in a single chord, which is how you get people doing 3-digit WPMs, and how court reporters and captioners on Stenotypes can keep up with speaking.

Of course, if you wanted to do programming on a chorded keyboard the chords you need are totally different, but apparently it's still very doable: http://plover.stenoknight.com/2010/04/writing-and-coding-wit...


It's interesting to see 35WPM for that. I read somewhere about half-QWERTY with one hand up to the 65WPM range.


While it's interesting to look into chorded keyboards specifically, the take-away for me here was more the general idea that it's not terribly difficult to come up with interfaces that are objectively more effective than the status quo by a pretty serious margin and still completely fail to achieve large-scale uptake.

On the other hand, I believe there's lots of room for improving on the status quo in a way that isn't necessarily intended to ever supplant the conventional alternatives, just focusing on some subset of users who have a good reason to be willing to invest a little more time in becoming more effective. (This is part of the process that led me to design my own custom keyboard.) If you look at Emacs or Vim users, it's clear that some people are willing to spend a lot of time learning skills that improve their efficiency.


You need to do some more research. Stenotypes can write faster than people can talk. There are studies of expert Twiddler users who can write at closer to 100wpm.


I really wish someone would come out with a nice, not-too-expensive-but-not-too-shitty USB steno keyboard.


Check http://www.openstenoproject.org/ - they have some pretty great ideas and alternatives (and the software to run them)


There is a type of stenographic keyboard which is common in Italy and, with minor modifications, I believe you could re-purpose a MIDI keyboard for it. The keyboard is called "Macchina Michela" and the associated method is "Metodo Michela", you can see it in action in this video (the audio commentary is in Italian): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uniHoxe6HpY


Stenosaurus is apparently making some progress: http://stenosaurus.blogspot.ie/ .


They use abbreviations that can be ambiguous. Not really the same.


Velotype/Veyboard is apparently more regular http://www.velotype.com/en/ http://www.veyboard.nl/en_main.html , probably more suited for general use.




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