Posted April 25, 2013 by Derrick Thiecke in Products & Tech

The New Touchscreen Keyboard: KALQ


Breaking a 135-year-old standard

Researchers across the globe have gathered to take on what they call the “suboptimal text entry interface” of the traditional QWERTY keyboard. The researchers from St. Andrews, the Max Planck Institute for Informatics in Germany and Montana Tech in the US joined together to create the all new touchscreen keyboard “standard” called KALQ (pronounced calc). The title, like QWERTY, comes from using a string of the keys. The KALQ touchscreen keyboard will be available as a free app for Android-based devices. (Sorry Apple fans.)

Taking on a 135-year-old standard isn’t the simplest of things. Many have tried; all have failed. It’s been as though someone told us that everyone should drive on the opposite side of the road because it’s statistically proven to be safer. Well, Dr. Per Ola Kristensson has been set on re-inventing this wheel for over six years. He was the man who wrote the pattern-recognition algorithm underlying Swype, the original gesture-based touchscreen keyboard.

Dr. Per Ola Kristensson and the other researchers developing the KALQ touchscreen keyboard claim that once users have accustomed themselves to the non-Qwerty layout — with about eight hours practice required to be as fast as Qwerty and 13-19 hours to surpass one’s Qwerty typing speed — typing performance can be about a third (34 percent) more efficient than thumb typing on split-screen Qwerty layouts.

The developers will present their work at the CHI 2013 conference (the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems) in Paris on May 1. So stay tuned.

Are you ready to make the change? I failed typing in high school twice and continued to type using only my index fingers for years after. To this day I remain what many would consider slow at typing (especially since I’m a computer programmer). On that note, I am not ready for a change–I’ve invested too many years in reaching my skill set of 30 words a minute.

-By Derrick Thiecke

Derrick Thiecke

I recently completed my bachelors program at Ex'pression College in Emeryville Ca.. When I'm not working on a film, recording a band, or making music, I'm typically out on the open road for a relaxing motorcycle ride. I also enjoy computer programming and android application development. You can find my current apps in the android market under the publisher name "Dutch85".