This week, Avram Piltch talks about technology that he has been interested in for decades: alternate typing tech. Imagine you are at a trade show, waiting in line for a presentation, and you want to get some work done. Sure, you can use your phone and try and type something of consequence, but that's going to be infuriating (we've tried it). You could bring a tablet, but you still might have issues with a content system that requires a desktop. You could bring a laptop, but they're big and unwieldy, especially when you're in tight quarters. Avram has always believed there has to be another way, and there is.
The first option is DecaTxt, a small Bluetooth keyboard with only 10 buttons. By pressing the buttons in various combinations you can type a full keyboard worth of characters. The creator has been tweaking the device for years, always looking for ways to improve on his design. One of the key drawbacks to the concept is the learning curve. It can take some people a long time to wrap your head around the key combinations, making typing slow. For some, however, the typing will be as easy as the old T9 on flip phones.
If learning about a new key structure isn't in your wheelhouse, maybe a virtual keyboard will work. The Tap Strap is an input device that wraps around your fingers and senses movement, translating the movements into inputs. This can be used as standard key entry, but can also be used to replace a mouse, controller, presentation clicker, and more.
In addition to typing, these devices could be a brilliant addition to a virtual or augmented reality setup. And, as VR and AR hardware get closer to daily use technology, the more important innovations like the DecaTxt and Tap Strap will become.
Scott is a developer who has worked on projects of varying sizes, including all of the PLuGHiTz Corporation properties. He is also known in the gaming world for his time supporting the DDR community, through DDRLover and hosting tournaments throughout the Tampa Bar Area. Currently, when he is not working on software projects or hosting F5 Live: Refreshing Technology, Scott can often be found returning to his high school days working with the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), mentoring teams and judging engineering notebooks at competitions. He has also helped found a student software learning group, the ASCII Warriors.
Avram's been in love with PCs since he played original Castle Wolfenstein on an Apple II+. Before joining Tom's Hardware, for 10 years, he served as Online Editorial Director for sister sites Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag, where he programmed the CMS and many of the benchmarks. When he's not editing, writing or stumbling around trade show halls, you'll find him building Arduino robots with his son and watching every single superhero show on the CW.