If you're looking for the key to mobile computing, look no further than the Kee4 Keyboard - a one-handed, four-button creation that can do pretty much anything we do now with our giant plastic monstrosities.
The Kee4 is a new design from Citta Consulting, and operates wirelessly with computers, smartphones, MIDs, and tablets, all without the need for any extra software or drivers.
Each of the four fingers on the hand using the Kee4 gets its own key, and the thumb is tucked along the bottom edge in a pouch to keep it safe, secure and out of trouble. The working prototype seen in photos in this article will be made smaller when the production line is released, in order to minimize the amount of hand space the device takes up.
While it can be used free-handed, it is recommended that the Kee4 be placed against a flat surface or stable body part in order to maximize the effectiveness of the keystrokes.
The keystrokes - now here is where the genius lies. How does one get all of those letters, numbers and functions of a "regular" keyboard into only 4 keys? Simply, as it turns out, with the use of "composite keystrokes".
These keystrokes are a combination of two keys pressed and released in a specific order and are divided into two categories: rocking keystrokes and rolling keystrokes.
Rocking keystrokes occur when the first key is depressed, followed by the second key, and the second key is the first to be released, resulting in a "rocking" motion. A rolling keystroke has the first key to be pressed also be the first to be released, resulting in a "rolling" motion.
Using these composite keystrokes, the Kee4 is able to do not only standard letters and numbers, but special language characters, uppercase letters, and function controls (ALT and CTRL commands).
The Kee4 Web site has an excellent explanation and demos of how to use the device, and at first blush it seems both intuitive and sensible. Currently, the device has been patented and the company is looking for investors to help get the Kee4 off of the ground.
As far as we're concerned - invest in this damn thing, right now! It's got a great potential future in mobile computing in general for those of us whose fingers are too fat for any of the tiny phones we use, and for those with limited mobility in one hand or arm or who simply cannot use a keyboard the "traditional" way, the Kee4 offers an opportunity to join the rest of the computing world in their love of keyboard-assisted typing.