Sunday, January 12th 2020

CharaChorder Aims to Enable Typing at the Speed of Thought, Shows off Prototype at CES

Attending CES is a mixed bag even before you arrive there, and it comes in the form of about a billion marketing emails invading your inbox. Amidst all these, however, was one from this US-based startup company that interested me in more ways than one. Perhaps because I handle keyboard duties here on TechPowerUp, among other things, but I have always been fascinated with products aiming to enable a more ergonomic and efficient typing experience. These products tend to take the form of smaller form factor, split or otherwise, keyboards that still adopt the staggered columns of keys. Layers are the name of the game here, with customization in the form of key mapping enabling people to position keyboards with a combination of tent, tilt, and height adjustments- especially for split keyboards. But all these still rely on the end user typing on, say, a QWERTY layout with 2-4 fingers simultaneously nearly every single time. CharaChorder wants to rethink the keyboard, and offer a product that helps you type with all 10 fingers.

The company sought inspiration from the humble stenograph, as well as arguably more efficient typing layouts such as Dvorak over QWERTY, and had a prototype for demo at CES that showcased their "3-dimensional" typing via sticks that can be assigned to a different function for each axis. I admittedly was skeptical with the emails, as well as the rough plastic casing they initially showed, but then they pulled out the working PCBs as part of the two connected halves, and typed my name and affiliation on a connected laptop at ~200 WPM. There were also only two errors throughout, which is impressive given these were words and sentences they had no way to practice before, and the speed comes in the form of them having practiced ~30-60 min a day for a month in "chorded" mode which allows simultaneous presses instead of one character at a time, which is the recommended training schedule for new users. The CharaChorder is also ambidextrous enabling users to quickly use this alongside a mouse, or even a joystick, with applications ranging from typing, to gaming via macros, and more. The company has the product up for pre-order already for $199.99 with expected delivery in December 2020 provided they hit their funding goals. Check out their website, as well as this demo video, to get a better idea of how the product works.
Add your own comment

14 Comments on CharaChorder Aims to Enable Typing at the Speed of Thought, Shows off Prototype at CES

#1
TheLostSwede
And how will this work with 1. languages with more letters than English 2. non roman alphabet languages?
If you've ever seen someone type traditional Chinese, you know this isn't going to work for that as an example.
It also looks like something designed for an alien.
Posted on Reply
#2
R-T-B
TheLostSwede
And how will this work with 1. languages with more letters than English 2. non roman alphabet languages?
The same way qwerty does: It doesn't. Your looking for a different layout and presumably they are starting with english design by virtue of it being the dominant language of the web.
Posted on Reply
#3
VSG
Editor, Reviews & News
TheLostSwede
And how will this work with 1. languages with more letters than English 2. non roman alphabet languages?
If you've ever seen someone type traditional Chinese, you know this isn't going to work for that as an example.
It also looks like something designed for an alien.
Yeah, I would think English is the primary target here, although their software driver may enable more customization for other languages contingent on hardware support. Given the product is nearly an year out, please do share your comments here so they can get feedback in advance.
Posted on Reply
#4
TheLostSwede
R-T-B
The same way qwerty does: It doesn't. Your looking for a different layout and presumably they are starting with english design by virtue of it being the dominant language of the web.
Huh? QWERTY works just fine in both of those cases.
Posted on Reply
#5
Ferrum Master
Well... even using simple lightroom sometimes you have to use 3 modifiers (alt+ctrl+shift+E) for example export as previous. So usually I setup a macro for those. The qwerty isn't enough for the variety of things you need to do. Not only typing. (In build custom shortcuts are still Mac only, thanks Adobe).

Gaming is the other thing... joystics are better at that.

It is a very niche thing. The market for this thing is questioniong the economic reason funding such product.
Posted on Reply
#6
Vayra86
Hmm. Yeah, I'm not a believer.
Posted on Reply
#7
GreiverBlade
hum ... interesting .... just like a 2/ABC 3/DEF 4/GHI etc etc etc (1 was blank for me but it was, hum, answering machine? combox? on later phones) ... numpad on a hum ... well my Nokia 1610 back in 1996


edit ... [/sarcasme] (obviously that keyboard wouldn't work with me ... )
Posted on Reply
#8
Brusfantomet
VSG
Yeah, I would think English is the primary target here, although their software driver may enable more customization for other languages contingent on hardware support. Given the product is nearly an year out, please do share your comments here so they can get feedback in advance.
Well, for Scandinavian it appears to be some spare /duplicate buttons so that our æøå can fit.

Note that most keyboard layouts outside the US substitutes the right "Alt" key for a "AltGr" (same function as "Alt" + "Ctrl") to get more characters on the same keyboard.

as for normal letters in a alphabet:

Spanish has 27 letters
Scandinavian has 29 letters
German has 30 letters
Russian has 33 letters

to name a few
Posted on Reply
#9
bonehead123
TheLostSwede
It also looks like something designed for an alien.
Don't you mean designed BY an alien, since all our keyboard designs are belong to them anyways .... hehehe :D
Posted on Reply
#10
NJM1564
Ferrum Master
Well... even using simple lightroom sometimes you have to use 3 modifiers (alt+ctrl+shift+E) for example export as previous. So usually I setup a macro for those. The qwerty isn't enough for the variety of things you need to do. Not only typing. (In build custom shortcuts are still Mac only, thanks Adobe).

Gaming is the other thing... joystics are better at that.

It is a very niche thing. The market for this thing is questioniong the economic reason funding such product.
But it's not meant for lightroom or gaming or anything else but typing. Not even coding but those who type for a living. Basically authors, reporters, businessmen and the like. Ever see one of those hundred page contracts? That sort of thing.
Posted on Reply
#11
Ferrum Master
NJM1564
But it's not meant for lightroom or gaming or anything else but typing. Not even coding but those who type for a living. Basically authors, reporters, businessmen and the like. Ever see one of those hundred page contracts? That sort of thing.
It means it is a niche product, not egliable for mass production. No attention funding the idea from large players.
Posted on Reply
#12
TheLostSwede
NJM1564
But it's not meant for lightroom or gaming or anything else but typing. Not even coding but those who type for a living. Basically authors, reporters, businessmen and the like. Ever see one of those hundred page contracts? That sort of thing.
Uhm, did you visit their website? They claim it's good for all of that and then some.

Posted on Reply
#13
R-T-B
TheLostSwede
Huh? QWERTY works just fine in both of those cases.
Does it? I don't think nonenglish layouts are called qwerty, I know theres qwertz and some similar ones but the layout changes... or so I assumed. Maybe I dunno, I nearly flunked out of Spanish so cut me some slack... :laugh:
Posted on Reply
#14
TheLostSwede
R-T-B
Does it? I don't think nonenglish layouts are called qwerty, I know theres qwertz and some similar ones but the layout changes... or so I assumed. Maybe I dunno, I nearly flunked out of Spanish so cut me some slack... :laugh:
Only a few countries have none QWERTY layout.
This is the layout in Taiwan for example. Three characters plus per letter key, not counting the regular roman alphabet.



Japanese is a bit similar too.

Posted on Reply
Add your own comment