Engelbart typing on the iPad with the chorded keyset

The TipTap hardware gang, spearheaded by Rob Stephenson, made an adaptive system that allows Engelbart’s keyset made at SRI back in the day, to work with an iPad to enter text.

TipTapKeysetDoug Engelbart enters text on an ipad with his chorded keyset
Doug Engelbart enters text on an ipad with his chorded keyset


2 thoughts on “Engelbart typing on the iPad with the chorded keyset

  1. This is great. I’ve been chording for over 20 years (Microwriting on a number of devices and the BAT) and soooooo want to be able to do chorded text entry on my iPad. I find this particularly ironic, Doug interfacing his original chord keyboard with the iPad. But we really need a *commercial* solution. Should that be an iPad app for text entry/editing with its own on-screen chord keyboard? Some tell me the lack of tactile feedback is a show-stopper, but I’m not convinced seeing that some developers have accomplished some mighty intriguing virtual qwerty keyboards on the iPad that do not even require the keyboard to be visible in order to function and enter correct text (see BlindType at http://www.engadget.com/2010/07/22/blindtype-vows-to-autocorrect-all-wrongs-by-replacing-your-virtu/ ). Or is a physical keyboard, like Cykey or Doug’s original, a more appropriate solution? Chris Rainey, developer of the Cykey, has gone to some lengths to interface the half-duplex Cykey with full-duplex (read: battery-draining) Bluetooth devices; unfortunately, these efforts have not led to success.

    It seems evident to me that with a new generation of users who think it quite natural to carry on protracted conversations fat fingering their tiny devices (not even an iPhone!) the time is *here* for chorded entry on mobile devices, and what better target than the iPad and the sure to follow cavalcade of imitators (and a few innovators, no doubt).

    So Mr. Jobs, who so many decades ago picked up on Doug’s mouse (which rumor suggests he’d seen at PARC) and delivered it to the masses: when will you do the same for the chord keyboard? Yet again, Doug has shown us the way – are you watching?

  2. Mr. Englebart does not look all that happy to me. Perhaps he would prefer a better viewing angle on that screen. Or maybe he is tired of having to sit down at a table whenever he wants to type something.

    There is an anecdote about a fish tank divided in half by a pane of glass. When the glass was removed the fish continued to swim only in their familiar half. That’s pretty much what’s going on with table-supported keyboards. Stand up, ye fish, and walk. Demand wearability.

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