Wearable Tech World Feature Article
May 02, 2013

Carnegie Mellon Researchers Develop Text Input for Tiny Touchscreens

If you keep abreast of wearable technology trends, it’s possible that you’re waiting for your very own pair of Google Glasses. If you don’t have the cash and the patience, maybe you’re more focused on your very first smart watch, or wearable computer designed with Dick Tracy or Maxwell Smart in mind.

Many wearable computing experts agree that, despite the hype of Google Glasses, wearable personal computing technology is more likely to take the form of smart watches in the near future. These devices will let you read e-mails and text message, provide you with alerts, check the weather or navigate you to an address.

One major drawback of smart watches, however, is the means of inputting information. The touch screen keyboards on smartphones are bad enough with their teeny-tiny keys. Who could possibly cope with entering text on a touch screen two inches square?

The answer is “no one.” Now, however, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have designed a text entry solution called ZoomBoard for ultra-small computers such as smart watches. It’s a way of making a mini touch screen keyboard usable by taping on the screen once or twice to enlarge the keys, Wired reported yesterday.

The onscreen keyboard has a QWERTY layout, while a secondary keyboard with numbers and symbols can be accessed with an upwards swipe. Swiping right enters a space, a swipe to the left deletes a character, and by holding a key for moment longer you can capitalize it, according to Wired. (You can watch a demonstration of Zoomboard here on YouTube.)

While it may not let you write an entire report without losing your mind, it could at least allow you to send text messages and e-mails with minimum frustration.

As computing devices get smaller, the concern has always been the means of input. In the near future, we may see smart watches that are voice-enabled in the manner of Apple’s Siri personal assistant, but we’re not there yet.

Edited by Alisen Downey

Comments powered by Disqus

Featured Video

Dedicated to Wearable Tech: Mobile, Sports, Fitness, Audio, Fashion, Design

Featured Podcasts

The Business of Wearable Computing: An Interview with Brand Finance An interview with Edgar Baum, Managing Director North America with Brand Finance, the world’s leading brand valuation and strategy consultancy. Mr. Baum specializes in marketing ROI and financially quantified brand strategy.
Getting Attention for Your Wearables Joe Daniels of Loeb & Loeb discusses how wearable tech entrepreneurs can gain exposure for their ideas and what to do once they've won attention from potential investors.
Wearable Success Rides on Actionable Intelligence Lux Capital's Adam Goulburn focuses on the traits sought by investors as they consider wearable startups, such as how well their software turns collected data into actionable intelligence.
Wearable Tech Startup Strategy CRV's George Zachary talks wearable startups and how they can secure the attention of the right investors as the seek to become the next great thing in wearables.
How to Win the Wearable Tech Funding Game Donatella Giacometti speaks with Canary Ventures' Alex Goldberg about what the investment community looks for in startups, such as the many new wearable tech companies that are emerging.

Wearable Tech World Media Sponsors