The original version ran a 6820 Peripheral Interface Adapter (PIA) on an Apple ][ (6502) architecture, but you can easily build one to work on a PC architecture. The simplest interface is via the parallel port of a PC, where the eight (4+3 = 7) switches can be wired right to the parallel port. By far this is still the lowest cost form of keyboard, as a set of microswitches can easily be found from surplus equipment.
HandyKey Corp. 1-800-638-2352 (516) 474-4405 141 Mt. Sinai Avenue Mt. Sinai, NY 11766 email@example.com http://www.handykey.com Handykey's web site
Thad prefers the Twiddler and has reached speeds of 50 wpm on it. It includes a tilt sensitive mouse and retails for around $200, which is quite reasonable for a keyboard/mouse combo. Learning the alphabet takes 5 min. (it's sequential), touch typing in an hour, and 10+ wpm over a weekend. Thad says it was uncomfortable to use at first, but over a week of use you learn how to hold it properly for your size and shape of hand. The default key layout is more optimized for speed than is first expected. The user defineable macro package pushes word rates significantly higher over letter typing (supposedly > 4000 button combinations are possible). Macro packages can be reloadable depending on the application.
ETAOIN SHRDLU alternate Twiddler keymapping (by Brad Rhodes): tarred and gzipped or PKZIPed. This key mapping makes the most commonly typed letters the easiest to reach.
Select Tech (215) 277 4264 1657 The Fairway Suite 151 Jenkintown, PA 19046
Both the Chord Keypad and the DataEgg represent good solutions to one-handed keyboarding. The advantage they have over the Twiddler is instant access to the typing hand (the Twiddler requires the strap to type comfortably). Thus, these keyboards are good for providing wearable computer support for emergency crews. The 7 button typing standards have also been around for a longer period of time.
Gary Friedman (916) 983-2249
Half-QWERTY One-handed Keyboard Software Touch type with one hand using a standard keyboard! Minimal training required for skilled typists. ____________________________________________________ This remarkable new software utility allows users to touch type with one hand, using a standard QWERTY keyboard. As such, it is a cost-effective way to make one-handed touch typing accessible to people with special needs. What really sets this product apart from the rest, however, is its potential for skill transfer. Half-QWERTY is designed in such a way that people already trained in standard two-handed typing techniques can use those skills to type with one hand, with minimal retraining! The design builds on a user's ability to touch type on a standard QWERTY keyboard, and the fact that human hands are symmetrical - one hand is a mirror image of the other. A Half- QWERTY keyboard is comprised of all the keys typed by one hand, with the keys of the other hand unused. When the space bar is depressed, the missing characters are mapped onto the remaining keys in a mirror image, such that the typing hand makes movements analogous to those previously performed by the other hand. Normal QWERTY typing is performed (with both hands on the keyboard in home row) by alternating between the left and right hand, as necessary for the given character. Half-QWERTY typing is performed (with one hand on the keyboard in the home row) by alternating between the left and right half of the layout, using the space bar. Notice that you have the choice of using either your left or your right hand to type. The software actually creates two virtual Half-QWERTY keyboards - one under each hand! Both sides are remapped in a mirror image when the space bar is depressed. This means that you can change typing hands on the fly, without having to alert Half-QWERTY of your intentions - an added bonus for those with repetitive strain injuries. Sticky keys (also called "key latching") allows for one-fingered use of modifier keys - the shift and control keys, for example. Depressing and releasing one of these keys once makes it active for the next key. Depressing it twice locks that key until it is unlocked by depressing it again. It is this feature that allows you to type capital letters with one hand. Sticky Keys is built into the MS-DOS version of Half-QWERTY, while on the Macintosh this feature is provided by the operating system. Note that you still use the space bar to type a space. Merely depress and release the space bar, within an interval of 1/4 second, and a space will appear on the screen. If you take longer than a quarter second, nothing will appear on the screen. This feature is called the "space bar timeout". An example of the usefulness of this feature is as follows: Sometimes, you'll run into a character for which you are not sure whether you need to hold down the space bar. You may hold down the space bar for a while, but then change your mind and release it. If there were no timeout, you would have an unwanted space on the screen, which you would then have to erase before continuing. The timeout helps alleviate this problem. A quarter second timeout is just long enough to allow you to generate a space, when you really want one. Half-QWERTY is very unobtrusive software. Its hardware requirements are few and modest. Its effects on normal keyboard operations are barely noticeable to all but those who benefit from its presence. This is a definite advantage. It means that abled and disabled users can share the same computers without the expense of customized hardware. Half-QWERTY brings computers one step closer to being universally accessible. Half-QWERTY has a wide scope of potential users, ranging from people with hand-related physical disabilities to those with visual impairments. Used in conjunction with a Braille screen, blind and visually impaired persons can read what they type as they are typing it, much as a seeing person does. This utility also has an audience among the general public. Writers, secretaries, and other frequent keyboard users will benefit from being able to operate the keyboard and mouse concurrently. For example, when editing text, a user can now scroll through a document with the mouse in one hand, while correcting errors using the keyboard with the other hand. Similar gains can be achieved by accountants, who no longer have to remove their hand from the number pad to type words. The package includes a set of keyboard labels. Half-QWERTY is available for MS-DOS and Macintosh computers. Call or write for a FREE software demo! Please specify Macintosh or MS-DOS; 3 1/2 or 5 1/4 inch diskette. Contact: Edgar Matias The Matias Corporation 178 Thistledown Boulevard Rexdale, Ontario, Canada M9V 1K1 (416) 749-3124 Gary Friedman
Last modified: Mon Nov 27 15:41:45 EST 1995