Anorak News | New Kalq keyboard streamlines English language into a few easy-to-text words

New Kalq keyboard streamlines English language into a few easy-to-text words

by | 25th, April 2013


BEHOLD the two-thumb operated keyboard. Evolution rules. Scientists at the University of St Andrews, the Max Planck Institute for Informatics and Montana Tech have worked out what they say is the most efficient keyboard layout. It turns out that QWERTY is dead. On a tablet, the eight fingers are only useful for holding the device while the two thumbs type.

The boffins have called it Kalq, writing in a research paper:

 An error-correction algrithm was added to help address linguistic and motor errors. Users reached a rate of 37 words per minute – with a five per cent error rate – after a training program.

Words like “on, see, you, read, dear, based”, frequently used in texts, have to be typed on a split-QWERTY layout with a single thumb only. This makes the typing process cumbersome and slow. This insight initiated the process to develop a layout for two-thumb text entry that could speed up typing and minimise strain for the thumbs.

Having streamlined the English language into words that are easy to text, Dr Antti Oulasvirta, Senior Researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Informatics in Germany, said:

“The key to optimising a keyboard for two thumbs is to minimise long typing sequences that only involve a single thumb. It is also important to place frequently used letter keys centrally close to each other. Experienced typists move their thumbs simultaneously: while one thumb is selecting a particular key, the other thumb is approaching its next target. From these insights we derived a predictive behavioural model we could use to optimise the keyboard.”

All good. But isn’t typing old hat? And holding a tablet can be hard work. Why not let predictive texting write the sentences for you? Reduce the tablet to the size of a screen and one button for a letter and see what your computer serves up. It will add excitement and a cutting-edge to your monosyllabic messages.


Posted: 25th, April 2013 | In: Technology Comment | TrackBack | Permalink