A new startup called Minuum is designing a new kind of keyboard that works across a horizontal line, the idea is to create a new type of keyboard layout that is faster and more space-efficient than current touch-screen keys.
Where it gets really interesting though, is the association with wearable technology, such as the upcoming Google Glass eyewear or rumoured iWatch. Both of these do not have space for a traditional or virtual keyboard, and are expected to work with voice input.
Minuum could introduce a keyboard to these environments, by enabling you to type on any small strip. The space-saving requirements could help with Apple's rumoured iWatch or Google Glass. The video even displays a person typing out onto letters written onto their arm.
The idea seems to be an evolution of the older text input system from feature phones, that mapped multiple letters to each button. Whereas the T9 system from feature phones mapped letters to nine physical keys in alphabetical order, Minuum groups three letters together in a horizontal line based on the Qwerty keyboard layout.
And this horizontal line isn't physical keys, but is designed to sit at the bottom of a touch screen display, freeing up much more of the display for viewing content.
The idea also combines the combined keys with predictive text input to create words, this is similar to the system introduced by Apple with the iOS smart keyboard. The keyboard compensates for the occasional mistyped letter, although Minuum doesn't so much compensate as integrate mistypes into the whole system (the idea is that you can type quickly without being too accurate an the system will compensate).
Minuum is a tiny, one-dimensional keyboard that frees up screen space while allowing fast, accurate typing. Current technology assumes that sticking a full typewriter into a touchscreen device is the best way to enter text, giving us keyboards that are error-prone and cover up half the usable screen space (or more) on most smartphones and tablets.
Minuum, on the other hand, eliminates the visual clutter of archaic mobile keyboards by adapting the keyboard to a single dimension. What enables this minimalism is our specialized auto-correction algorithm that allows highly imprecise typing. This algorithm interprets in real time the difference between what you type and what you mean, getting it right even if you miss every single letter.
The video demonstration shows very fast typing along a horizontal line.
There are keyboard systems out there such as SwiftKey that are much more advanced than either Apple or Google's stock predictive keyboard input. So although the idea of typing along a single line seems somewhat odd, we do think the prediciton will be capable of compensating for mistypes.
Minuum is a pretty neat idea, the roadmap suggests that it'll be out in early 2014, and we look forward to testing it.