Airtype – The Keyboardless Keyboard

Airtype – The Keyboardless Keyboard

Airtype, a hardware and machine learning starup based in Austin, Texas want to revolutionise how we use the keyboard.

Not content with how we’ve typed for the last 150 years, Airtype believe that the keyboard needs to catch up with the evolution of the desktop, mobile, laptop and tablet.

Here’s how they make their case:

Will the Airtype work?

Airtype seems like the kind of hardware that would be really hard to build and make function for every day users. It reminds me of the voice recognition software back in the mid-90s (and even now) that had great utility and fantastic application but never quite did what it was meant to. As many of us learnt with those kind of devices / software, it would often be easier just to do it the old way.

The main question is how well the device will sense and adapt to a typists movements, a hand moves so subtly between two adjacent letters on a keyboard, is the Airtype device going to be able to distinguish between the different keys? Essentially it all hinges on this.

There’s also the secondary question of tactile feedback, how easy is it to type with no receptive surface? You could argue that we already do it on our touch screens to an extent, it will be interesting to see how it ‘feels’ not to be touching anything with your fingertips.

AirType-Keyboardless-Keyboard

The benefits of Airtype

We’re an optimistic bunch over here and we really hope that a fully functioning Airtype becomes a reality. If the guys over at Airtype can truly engineer something that works, it could change the personal computer hardware setup for the better. The advantages of a functioning device would be:

  • Mobile – you can carry your ‘keyboard’ wherever you go
  • Familiar – Airtype uses machine learning to adapt to the way that you type
  • Intelligent – Airtype promises to bring text prediction and auto-correction to the experience
  • One thing is for sure, we’ll certainly be keeping a close eye on Airtype and so should you