Good Thinking

Fast-typing keyboard uses "chords" to generate words

Fast-typing keyboard uses "cho...
The CharaChorder Lite keyboard is presently on Kickstarter
The CharaChorder Lite keyboard is presently on Kickstarter
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The CharaChorder Lite keyboard is presently on Kickstarter
The CharaChorder Lite keyboard is presently on Kickstarter

As the folks at tech startup CharaChorder point out, we think in words, not letters … so why do we have to slowly type words out one letter at a time? That's where their new keyboard comes in, as it uses groupings of keys to instantly generate whole words.

The device is known as the CharaChorder Lite, to differentiate it from the company's previously released CharaChorder. Likewise designed to help users type much faster, the latter gadget is not at all keyboard-like in appearance, consisting of two joined modules covered in 3D switches.

By contrast, the CharaChorder Lite looks just like a regular keyboard, and can in fact be utilized as one – with users typing out words one letter at a time. What sets it apart from others is the fact that by pressing three or four keys simultaneously, users are able to instantly input entire commonly used words.

Needless to say, different words are created by pressing different combinations of keys. Those combos are called chords, and users can create their own if the thousands of chords included in the system aren't sufficient.

The device is reportedly compatible with Mac, Windows, iOS, Android and Linux operating systems. And because all of the processing takes place within the keyboard itself, no special software needs to be installed on the user's computer or tablet. The training software is currently only available for Windows, although a cross-platform version is in development.

Ultimately, the designers hope to boost users' typing speed from the average of about 40 wpm (words per minute) to over 250 wpm.

Should you be interested, the CharaChorder Lite is currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign, where a pledge of US$99 will get you one – assuming it reaches production, that is. The planned retail price is $299.

It's demonstrated in the following video.

Sources: Kickstarter, CharaChorder

Introducing CharaChorder Lite: Now Live on Kickstarter!

Spud Murphy
500% less keystrokes? That would be 80% fewer keystrokes. Maths and grammar are not their strong suits, huh?
Chord keyboards of one kind or another have been around for decades (at least). The big question is always whether people want to put in the time and effort to get in practice and stay proficient. I've noticed lately that predictive typing systems are way too accurate at "suggesting" the next several words in my sentences -- possibly even more of a speed gain without any real additional work on my part.
Well... Dvorak tried too.... but whoever comes first, has the market..... and preferences..... and all.
A whole promotional video without a single example of a "chord". Maybe calling them syllables would have made more sense.
I've been doing audio transcription since the early 1980s, including court reporting, where speeds of 180 wpm for hours on end are the norm. Nothing particularly new or useful about this. Stenotypists have been using chorded keystrokes for decades, on a keyboard specifically designed for the purpose, not adapted from an existing one. Secondly if this keyboard uses the QWERTY layout, then there's scarcely a less useful layout invented. Other layouts such Maltron, and to a lesser extent Dvorak or Colemak are far more efficient. Thirdly by proper use of the "Quickcorrect" function of WordPerfect software, it's possible to reduce keystroking by 40% or more.
So.. Shorthand typing via a qwerty.. Cool.
Bob Munck
Couldn't an ordinary keyboard do this with the right software?

I got to try Doug Engelbart's chorded keyboard back in 1967 or 1968, a few months before the Mother of All Demos. It had five buttons on a small base for one hand and three buttons on top of the mouse for the other. Doug could type about 30 words per minute on it, but the learning curve was fierce. Note that the purpose of his chording was that you could type letters without moving your fingers from one key to another, not that you could type entire words with a single multifinger keystroke.
Bob Monck: "Couldn't an ordinary keyboard do this with the right software? "


This blog explains in detail how to achieve this end.

It's much easier and more efficient to do this using WordPerfect, rather than MSWord, as I explain here.

As for my reasoning behind claiming that QWERTY is the least efficient keyboard layout available, I direct attention to this.

You are not are an organist playing the words! Cool.

Just beware of "discordant" cords.