Smartwatches are becoming increasingly popular and the idea of using them to augment or maybe at some point replace the smartphone is steadily gaining ground. Almost all major tech companies are currently working on smartwatch prototypes, so we expect more accessories and related products to be released in the future. Today we welcome the ZoomBoard: a miniature keyboard that will make smartwatch screen typing easier.
The ZoomBoard system was developed by Carnegie Mellon University researchers and seems to be the ideal solution to an obvious problem with smartwatches: how in the world could anyone type a message on such a small screen so as to produce an actual comprehensible message ad not just an unintelligible string of characters?
How it works
The ZoomBoard does exactly what its name suggests. In default mode, it displays a QWERTY keyboard. When you tap in the vicinity of the key you need, the keyboard will zoom in on the area and you will thus be easily able to input the specific letter you want.
If you want to write in capital letters, you just have to hold your finger on the key in question. To access symbol and number keys, you will have to swipe upward. You can delete a letter by swiping to the left, while swiping to the right will generate a space.
Don’t expect the ZoomBoard to increase your typing time by much. On the contrary, it can actually lower it, given that you will only type with one hand. So, even if you won’t be able to write a novel on it, as the Carnegie Mellon University researchers say, the system does its job and you’ll at least be able to write a message without being frustrated by minuscule keys and picking the wrong letter on and on. The tested prototype, with a 16 x 6mm keyboard display, allowed an average typing speed of ten words per minute.
The research team is planning to add a language model to the system – the same model currently used in phones, which suggests words based on the first letters you type. Scientists are not planning to commercialize the ZoomBoard software and said the source code for the program is available online.
[Image via Geeky Gadgets]