Typing Technology: The Past and The Future
Being an expert in typing, I've been using the keyboard longer than I can think of. One fateful evening, when I was brainstorming ideas for my next blog post, I couldn't help but ponder when and where typing began. The next thing I knew, it was a flurry of thoughts in my mind. Thoughts like what the future holds for typing. And if the QWERTY layout is going to be archaic. What would its potential impact be on society? Does this mean the typing technologies as we know them would be alien to the next generations?
Let's find the answers to these questions. Bear with me as I dive deeper into the world of typing. And learn about the history and the future of typing and what the future holds for typing technology.
The History and Evolution of Typing
The use of Pictograms and Hieroglyphics in ancient times laid the foundation of typing as we know it today. Pictograms were symbols that had some meaning. Hieroglyphics was the use of pictograms in a sequence to deliver messages. Newspapers are an example of modern day Hieroglyphics. The words printed in newspapers are mere symbols that convey messages. But how did typing become what we know it to be today? We owe it to the advent of typewriters.
Early Typing Devices
Lillian Sholes was the world's first typist. She was the daughter of Christopher Sholes, the man who invented the first practical typewriter in 1868. The layout was in alphabetical order. It was problematic because it caused the typebars to clash and jam. The QWERTY layout was created in 1873 to solve this problem. The most commonly used keys were placed further apart to prevent jamming. This brought forth some typing techniques as well. Touch Typing is the most widely known one.
Beginning of Touch Typing
Frank Edward McGurrin, a court stenographer from Salt Lake City, Utah, was the one to invent touch typing. He did it while teaching in a typing class in 1888. In Touch Typing fingers are placed at a pre-determined location called the "Home Row" on a standard QWERTY keyboard. ASDF are the home row keys for the left hand, JKL; are for the right hand.
There is a raised bar on each of the home keys for the index fingers that assists the typist to maintain and recover its original position without having to look at the keyboard. The most commonly used keys or keys used in succession are placed wide apart on a QWERTY keyboard to promote the use of both hands and increase the typing speed. That is precisely what the touch-typing technique helps you to master.
Evolution of the Keyboards
The very first keyboards were the typewriter keyboards. Mechanical keyboards were then introduced in the 1970s. These became famous for their tactile feedback and durability. Physical switches were used under each key that registered keystrokes with a click. These were quite popular among writers as they provided a comfortable typing experience.
Then came the Membrane keyboards a decade later in the 80s. A single circuit with a rubber or silicon membrane layer was used in them. Pressing a key would cause the membrane to touch the circuit, completing the circuit. Resulting in registering the keystroke. Even though these were cheaper, they were also less durable.
By the end of the 20th century as computers rose to prominence in the workplace. So did the ergonomic keyboards. Designed to reduce the risk of strain injuries. The design of these keyboards offered typists a more natural hand and wrist positioning. This helped reduce strain on their joints. Want to know more about ergonomics? Read my Ultimate Guide to Typing Ergonomics.
Touchscreen keyboards have become the standard with the rise of smartphones and tablets. These virtual keyboards appear on the screen, allowing users to type by tapping on the screen. Autosuggest is a feature in these keyboards that allows for fast typing. Now, let's take a look at what the future holds for typing technologies.
The Future of Typing Technologies
Keeping in mind the technological advancements in the previous decade. I predict that the future of typing technologies will be nothing short of a new era. Future typing technologies worth looking for are;
This technology has seen the most refinement over the last few years. This is already being used in assistive apps like Siri. So, don't be surprised if typing using your vice becomes the norm in a few years.
Even though we already use virtual keyboards on our devices, this technology has much more to offer. Imagine a keyboard, but it's not physical; it's just a projection onto any surface. It'll use advanced sensors to recognize gestures to type on your device.
Brain-Computer Interfaces BCIs
Imagine Typing at the speed of thought. With the volume of research work being done on BCIs by companies like Neuralink, it will be soon that we can do everyday tasks like typing just by thinking about them. Are you curious about the Mind-Type connection and if we can type with the speed of thought? Check out my article Is Typing at the Speed of Thought Possible?
The Impact on Society
The future of typing technology is more than just technological advancements. It is also its benefits for the society. How will it impact our work habits, communications, and the way we connect? Based on my experience, all I can tell is that its impact will be multi faceted.
It'll bring forth inclusiveness for people with special needs. Technological advancements in the field of BCIs will help create eye-tracking software, allowing folks with disabilities to access and use computers.
The advancements to date have already changed our communication patterns. We've shifted towards an informal style using acronyms and emojis. Abbreviations such as "BRB" (be right back), "LOL" (laugh out loud), as well as "OMG" (oh my god) do not just save time but provide a feeling of casualness and familiarity.
What is the future of typing?
The future of typing is the continued evolution of input methods. While keyboards, be it physical or virtual in our smartphones are still the primary input method. This may not be true in the near future.
How can typing help you in the future?
Like the current day and age, typing will likely be helpful in all fields, especially with continued technological advances.
Is typing a skill or talent?
Typing is a skill. Anyone can be good at it with the right amount of practice. But, when you're great at it, it becomes a talent.
Being an expert in typing, one day, I started pondering over some questions. Questions like, when did typing begin? How did typing become as we know it today? What is the history of typing technologies? What advancements did it go through? What does the future hold for typing technologies? What impact will it have on the society?
I tried to answer all these questions in this blog post. I got these answers through some research combined with my experience in the typing industry.
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