Ractiv integrates Asetniop into Haptix 3D multitouch system


August 30, 2013

The basic Asetniop key map has been programmed into the Haptix system

The basic Asetniop key map has been programmed into the Haptix system

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By effectively turning any flat surface into a multitouch user interface, Haptix has the potential to consign the humble computer mouse to the IO history books. Now the development team has announced plans that could kill off the physical keyboard too. Ractiv has partnered with Asetniop creator Zack Dennis to bring his chorded virtual keying concept to life.

You may recall that Dennis recently introduced a mid-air typing plugin for Google's Chrome browser called DexType, that made use of the newly-launched Leap Motion controller to key in characters using gestures. To realize his vision for the Asetniop virtual keyboard replacement concept, however, he's turned to the now successfully crowdfunded Haptix 3D multitouch system.

The Asetniop ten-point input method aligns eight commonly typed characters with fingers that would be used to type them on a QWERTY keyboard, and then assigns the remainder of the alphabet to combinations of fingers. The thumbs are used for Shift and Space, or together to Enter. With Haptix tracking the position of each digit of a user's hands, keying can take place on any flat surface.

Dennis reckons that most Asetniop touch typists should be able to achieve typing speeds of about 30 words per minute within a few hours, followed by steady improvements as the user becomes more familiar with the system. Though his own mastery usually results in speeds of between 65 and 70 wpm on a tablet, he reports that highs of over 100 have been achieved.

So will the integration of Asetniop into the Haptix system bring an end to our dependence on physical keyboards? In the short term, probably not. But it's early days for the new partnership, and both parties are looking forward to seeing where this development will lead.

At the time of writing, the Haptix team has programmed the basic Asetniop key map into the system (which is demonstrated in the video below) and Dennis says that they'll be working together on more advanced features (such as predictive text and autocorrect) in the very near future. He also reports that he's developed a handwriting recognition feature for numbers, symbols and accents, that may also see future adoption.

The Haptix Kickstarter campaign is set to run until September 13.

Sources: Haptix, Asetniop

About the Author
Paul Ridden While Paul is loath to reveal his age, he will admit to cutting his IT teeth on a TRS-80 (although he won't say which version). An obsessive fascination with computer technology blossomed from hobby into career before the desire for sunnier climes saw him wave a fond farewell to his native Blighty in favor of Bordeaux, France. He's now a dedicated newshound pursuing the latest bleeding edge tech for Gizmag. All articles by Paul Ridden

Sorry, getting rid of the computer mouse is as good an idea as 'NewCoke'. I have just finished 29 years of mouse-ness. Not likely to change. Let me go one step beyond. Even if some unlikely, magically perfect mouse replacement is introduced, I would still use the mouse at least as back-up. Tiny displays and slimy touch screens will never be used by graphically creative users.

Robert Walther

Great to see this hack. Chording has the potential to increase typing speed and accuracy.

Seth Miesters

Almost all of us still use QWERTY keyboards, and that's because QWERTY keyboards are what we are usually presented with when we first use computers. Whatever we learn first, we want to stick with. Even the first computer of my great-niece aged 2 has a QWERTY.

The lesson for these firms is to focus on building their stuff into 'My First Computer'. That way, little Jonny and Jenny can amaze not only their granpa but their mommy too, and when they grow up, they'll always want their HAPTIX and Asetniop. Until then products like this will go nowhere, just like all of the other chording keyboards.

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