Keyboards haven’t really changed much over the years, as is evidenced by the fact that I’m currently typing on a qwerty keyboard, a configuration that has never really made a pile of sense. A company called Nuance has been trying to build a better mousetrap/keyboard with something called Swype, which is now in a new round of beta release. Instead of relying exclusively on typing, Swype lets users employ typing, speaking, tracing of letters, and handwriting motions.
The new Swype platform will learn from user behavior, adding words entered via the keyboard to a personal dictionary that will then be deployed across the spectrum of input types, which includes tracing the shapes of words, and handwriting.
Nuance’s public dictionary currently holds 300,000 words in English and supports 50 languages for text and 35 for voice.
Much of the technology involved was originally invented for users with disabilities, and Clive Kushler, inventor of the T9 predictive text system for mobile phones, is now working on technology for users with visual impairments for Nuance.