YuType is a unique computer peripheral that allows two fingered typists to increasing their typing speed and accuracy. A small high contrast screen is placed above the keyboard and allows the user to see what they have typed in their peripheral vision without having to shuttle their gaze between the keyboard, which is often located awkwardly on a pull out tray, and the screen. This reduces the repetitive head movement that can, in some cases, lead to aggravating muscles in your neck. YuType aims to promote two fingered typing as an alternative method of using a keyboard, as not everyone has the willingness, dexterity or inclination to learn to touch type.
What did i do?
YuType was developed over a ten month period as part of Helen Hamlyn mentored inclusive design programme. It won joint first place in the Toyota iQ Design Challenge 2009.
User research - The design process started with an online survey, and was followed by home visits to a number of computer users over the age of 55. Informal interviews were conducted to develop an overview of daily computing habits, aspirations and perceived difficulties. Observation and filming was carried out with a daily computer user that had tried to learn touch typing but was unsuccessful, and adopted the two-fingered approach. The user also suffers from arthritis and a stiff neck, which was aggravated during computer usage.
Concept generation - A variety of existing systems such as single-handed keyboards and instructional software were evaluated with older users' needs in mind. A series of ideas were then generated tackling the main issues identified and evaluated with users.
Proof of principle - The most successful idea was refined and a working prototype was constructed. The prototype was user to validate and optimise its effectiveness, as well as help determine its aesthetic. The first working prototype was programmed in MAX/MSP and used a separate computer. The text was displayed on a backlit alphanumeric LCD screen.
Preproduction prototype - The second iteration used its own dedicated PCB and displayed the text on a large LCD dot matrix module. It was powered by USB and didn't require any software installation as it intercepted the ASCII character codes directly from the keyboard on route to the computer.
Production prototype - I am currently looking for an opportunity or manufacturer to help develop the device further.