Zoomboard – the smart watch qwerty keyboard

zoomboardWith Microsoft, Apple, and Samsung all apparently working on the next generation of smart watches, one area that will need plenty of thought is how to make typing on a tiny screen actually useful and friendly. Zoomboard has a very clever answer.

It’s all very well making a computer small enough to sit on your wrist but making navigating the screen user friendly is tricky – making typing on that screen is even trickier still.

Chris Harrison, a researcher from Carnegie Mellon University, has been trying to work out if an on-screen keyboard could work on a smart watch—and here’s his solution.

Called Zoomboard, it manages to squeeze a full QWERTY keyboard on to a tiny screen by smartly zooming as you type.

Press down on part of the keyboard, and it zooms to show keys in just that area; pressing again types a letter. It also uses swipes to help you edit: swipe right to insert a space, left to delete, or up to see symbols.

The genius is how neatly this solution has been executed. Granted, poking messages out on your wrist will not become your primary method of texting or emailing, students managed a sluggish 9.3 words per minute on the keyboard, but for squirting off a quick “yup” or “LOL” it would be perfect.

The software will be presented at the Computer Human Interaction conference in Paris this week, and the source code will be made freely available, too.

Let’s see how this progresses 🙂

Check out the vid below.

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