Keyboard of the Future
The Qwerty-keyboard, which is used on almost all computer systems today, was patented by Christopher Latham Sholes August 27, 1878 (US patent
The patent had 14 specific technical claims, but unfortunately none refer to the keys and layout, so it can only be guesswork why the keys are arranged the way they are. As the central letter-row has some alphabetical arrangement (--DFGHJKLM) and almost all vocals are located in the upper row, it is likely that the first prototype was arranged alphabetically with the vocals in the upper row and the consonants in the two lower rows (AEIOUY, BCDFGHJKLM, NPQRSTVWXZ). However, this layout may have coursed trouble with jam of the mechanical type bars and/or the eyes may have wandered too much from side to side when doing two-finger typing. As his assistant Amos Densmore had worked on statistics of letter pairs like "TH", it is likely that some keys were interchanged according to his work to avoid these problems and improve the efficiency so that all letters in letter pairs got as close to each other as they could get without coursing jam. The original layout had only upper-case letters, but the layout with the most used letters to the left were also very appropriate for later versions with lower-case letters because the heavy platen lifter (the one, which shift to capital letters) could then be operated with the rather slow left hand without moving the hand too much. The keyboard was fairly optimized for a mechanical typewriter and therefore became a success, but unfortunately it is hopeless for touch-typing because the most used keys must be operated with the left hand. In fact, thousands of English words can be spelled using only the left hand, while only a couple of hundred words can be typed using only the right hand.
With the Qwerty-keyboard, it is a tough struggle to learn touch-typing. The placement of the keys does not follow the natural movement of the
fingers, it is not immediately obvious which fingers operate which keys, and the most used letters are located a distance from the fastest fingers.
Often one starts by training F and J, even though these two letters together only make up approximately 2 % of the English language and 4 % of Danish!
As a comparison, the two most used letters - E and T - together make up approximately 21 % of English and 24 % of Danish. The tough struggle is
the reason why so few people utilize the big rationalization and health gain of touch-typing, and many never get really fast even when they have
learned it. You may wonder why business managers, who daily speak about efficiency and rationalization and spend a lot of money on health
insurance, can allow that there staff use such a keyboard.
As an inventor company specialized in efficient solutions, we "of course" cannot watch this level of inefficiency without suggesting a better
alternative so here is our preliminary suggestion for the keyboard of the future:
The keyboard is based on the following ideas:
Note that the Keyboard is only a first draft. For example, the numeric keypad will probably be removed in future versions to make even more space for a mouse.
This page is updated July 30th 2013