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Method of adaptive, dual thumb, split keyboard entry for handheld devices

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000235631D
Publication Date: 2014-Mar-14
Document File: 2 page(s) / 22K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

Disclosed is a method to use a split adaptive predictive keyboard for dual-thumb entry that dynamically generates and presents a limited number of letter keys based on word or letter frequency within the user’s history, context, or location.

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Method of adaptive, dual thumb, split keyboard entry for handheld devices

Modern smart phones and tablets have a plethora of data entry methods, but most methods of touchscreen data entry focus on use of the index finger either with a "hunt and peck" action, or a continuous trace such as SWYPE. As portable touchscreen devices become larger, the ability to efficiently type becomes more difficult. It is impossible to hold a tablet or large phone with both hands and reach the center of the onscreen keyboard. One attempt to solve this problem was with a split keyboard, for which half of the keyboard is displayed on each side of the screen. This is an improvement for large devices, making it easier for a user to keep a firm grip on the device. However, the traditional QWERTY layout is not optimal for this type of data entry.

The novel contribution is a method to use a split adaptive predictive keyboard for dual-thumb entry. The keys presented are dynamically generated based on letter frequency. This is a faster and more accurate method than other available data entry methods. In addition, this method allows the user to keep a firm two-handed grip on the device, decreasing the chance for accidental damage.

The method is optimized for a device being held in landscape mode. The key premise is to split the keyboard into two arcs, which to mimics the natural movement of the human thumb. Input keys are arranged in two arcs on either end of the screen either in a semi-transparent mode on top of the running application, or to the side.

Each user can customize the placement of the keys to fit the size of the individual's hands. While holding the device in "setup mode" the user can draw an arc on the screen with each thumb to indicate a suitable comfort level. The dynamically generated keys are then spaced along the user's natural motion arcs. This allows the device to be comfortable for each user and does not require people with smaller hands to have to reach beyond the comfort zone to hit a key. The goal is to increase the speed of data entry, which is optimized when the hands can be kept in a natural position.

With this method, the keys shown in each arc on the side of the keyboard change dynamically based on a word prediction algorithm, similar to those already used in "auto-suggest" features. The most basic level of the algorithm has a default suggestion of placing six keys in each of the left and right arcs for 12 on-screen keys, in total, at a given time. Based on the size of the user-configured arc, there might be room for more keys, or it may be practical to use fewer. This can be easily customized by the user. It may even be desired on a very large device (e.g., tablet) to put two arcs on screen.

Before any entry is made, the 12 available keys display the 12 most frequently used letters to start a word in the English language. The letters T, A, S, H, W, I, O, B, M, F, C, and L start 81.63% of all words in the English language. For oth...