Rethinking the keyboard

Take inspiration from this reinvention of an everyday object: The Minuum could change the way we type.

Yesterday, Dominique Trudeau gave a couple of easy steps to reinvent the wheel. But did you read his column and think “but the wheel is perfect.” Just because you’ve done something one way for as long as you can remember, it doesn’t mean that’s the right way.

Case-in-point, the typewriter. The 100-year-old medium has translated into a digital era with a sometimes-hard-to-use screen keyboard, that just doesn’t always work with big fingers.

You can stop fantasizing about ways to shrink your fingers to fit the keys on the digital board.  Some clever kids have designed a keyboard that’s both small and smart. It’s called Minuum, and it’s a little keyboard for big fingers that can be used on any surface, from phone to hand to table. With letters running across a single line, its Toronto-based creators at Whirlscape Inc. are selling it as a more intuitive keyboard that doesn’t take up half the screen.

What’s more, they’re rethinking the way we use keyboards and type with the glut of wearable devices coming onto the market. Back in January, Wired founding executive editor Kevin Kelly mused that one day, we’d develop a new way of gestural communication – eschewing the traditional keys we type on. Perhaps Minuum is the first step towards that new reality. Just imagine the fun you could have drawing up your next brief.

So if you’re still wondering how you could reinvent the wheel, look around you. Anything on your desk you stare at each day in need of a makeover? Why not start there?