This is a guest post by my friend Keith Hudson. It is not really related to India’s economic development. Below the fold is a simple idea that Apple or any other computer hardware manufacturer may find useful. This post is to help put the idea in the public domain, for the record.
Over to Mr Keith Hudson.
Dateline: July 7th, 2012.
We’re now getting very close to the mature PC/tablet/smart phone, though it doesn’t have a name yet. Microsoft’s Surface, announced with the usual euphoria a day or two ago, comes closest. But it’s still beset with one problem. It’s too large. At around 12″ (30cm) x 8″ (20cm) it still needs to be shrunk further so that it’s the size of, say, a small paperback: something that can be comfortably slipped into a packet or handbag but, with the flip of a lid one way or the other, is equally able to be used as a phone or a PC.
Unlike Apple, Microsoft have been clever enough to realize that a keyboard is still necessary on any tablet that claims to be versatile. Even if voice recognition software becomes far more advanced, able to cope with any dialect or timbre, we’re now moving into a specialized age where the written or typed word is required to be more precise than ever. It can’t always be dictated as a one-off. But Microsoft have not yet paid as much attention to the keyboard as they have done elsewhere in their machine.
The problem is our finger-tips. They’re too wide. Thus we still require a keyboard that’s at least 10″ (25 cm) wide in order to accommodate everything we need. Otherwise, we’d be pressing two or even three keys at once more often than not unless we slowed down to snail pace. But we don’t need the keys to be the size of fingertips.
If Microsoft had some biologists among their researchers then they might have solved this problem because Nature has already done it. True, it’s in the visual department and not the tactile. At any one instant of time our eyes see only a small 2 degree cone of sharp vision before they flick elsewhere. Perception tails off steeply outside the cone. Why not the same for sharply sensitized pressure pads? With a smaller keyboard of about 8″ (200 cm) we’d always be impinging on two or three keys but if it responded only to a very small cone in the centre of each jab even the clumsiest person among us would soon learn to type each letter unambiguously.
There we are then. I’ve solved the next step for Apple or Microsoft, or Nokia or any other manufacturer. What’s more, by writing this I’ve prevented any of them claiming copyright and perhaps monopolizing the innovation for years to come as corporations are wont to do.
Keith shares his ideas on his blog All Is Status.