Re: design prototype: the ultimate unicode keyboard?

Date: Mon Aug 01 2005 - 13:51:47 CDT

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    Hi All:

     We have designed a universal keypad that isscreen-based. A "virtual" version of it can be downloaded on afree trial basis from It allows you toswitch languages at the touch of a button. For Chinese, itpermits you to write and edit Chinese characters using onlybrushstrokes (the way you use letters to write English words, except in2 dimensions) directly in your text documents. It comes with 2complete fonts of Chinese brushstrokes, one classic set and oneexperimental modern set.

     The fonts alone may be of interest to this groupbecause they are true type fonts that permit overlapping brushstrokesthat, combined with the way the keypad works, lets you write Chinesecharacters without needing to index into a library of whole, pre-madecharacters. And you can edit the charactersbrushstroke-by-brushstroke just like you edit alphabet createdwords. In other words, to write in Chinese you only need afont of Chinese brushstrokes.

     The "screen-based", universal keypad may also be ofinterest because it makes it possible to show and enter any languagefor which a font is available. The intention is that the physicalversion of the keypad will be open-architecture so anyone expert in alanguage will be able to implement it on the keypad. A way for alanguage to be implemented on the keypad is to break it into a base-12(or less) system.

     In essence, this keypad is designed to be theuniversal post-qwerty keypad, and, as such, is designed so that it isas powerful (and easier) than the standard PC keyboard, and isalso designed to be built directly into mobile phones since thosedevices are now doing a lot of text entry, entertainment,communications and other things that a standard PC does. So theidea is to give a standardized keypad across devices.

     And there is a fun aspect that generalizes theChinese brushstroke text entry to allow 2-dimensional pictographs andstories created from almost any set of pictures (if they are in a fontof the correct design to work with the software, and we include a fontdesigner guide so anyone can do it) to be typed directly into textdocuments. This can be anything from Egyptian hierogplyphsentered piece-by-piece to little picture-stories of soccer games.

     You can learn more about this and download documentation and/or the software from

     Please understand that I consulted the UnicodeConsortium before sending this email to make certain that it was ok forme to explain and send this in reply.

    Best regards,

    Tim Higginson

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