Brainstorm: How to enhance the Touchstream haptic experience

Comments specifically about the keyboard devices.

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Brainstorm: How to enhance the Touchstream haptic experience

Postby ShawnMcCool » 15 Apr 2011, 14:10

I'm getting back into using the Touchstream after 7 years of using an MS4000 with DVORAK. At first I wasn't sure that it was going to be possible. Then, I realized that I had gotten lazy with my typing. Once I had started using the proper fingers for each letter every time things became much easier. Nonetheless there are some serious flaws to the system as it stands.

I would like to start a brainstorming session to see if we can think of any way to add something to the system to give our hands or fingers a way of identifying 'drift'. If we can do that there's a chance that I'll be able to return to above 100wpm levels. Currently, I'm at something like 25wpm and that's ignoring the kind of navigation that I have to do as a programmer.

For a start I'm thinking that hovering your fingers over the touchstream is the appropriate way to type with any speed. Resting your palms just doesn't seem to allow the necessary mobility.

Does anyone have any ideas on how to improve the haptic feedback (specifically to prevent drift) when typing quickly on a Fingerworks device?
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Re: Brainstorm: How to enhance the Touchstream haptic experi

Postby dongadoy » 15 Apr 2011, 15:21

The only way I know how to minimize drift is resting palms, and resting fingers on the dimples every few words. Gestures bring all keys around home row, so mobility is not needed. My fingers can reach all the keys around home row - with a big exception. My pinkies have to stretch too much to reach the q and p keys with palm resting; I frequently miss. I tried moving the tap area; but that had minimal improvement. I just started testing out using my ring fingers to hit the q and p keys. Typing "people" hurts my head. :-)

I know I type much slower and with more mistakes on the Touchstream than I would using a regular keyboard for a while. I'm sure I'd be embarrassed if I took a typing test. But, for me, the mousing and gestures make up for it.

If you made ridges around the keys using something like nail polish, would that give enough haptic feedback without interfering with gestures? I suspect Fingerworks researched that option long ago and decided the 8 dimples worked best.
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Re: Brainstorm: How to enhance the Touchstream haptic experi

Postby ShawnMcCool » 15 Apr 2011, 16:06

Another improvement that I would have made to the Touchstream would be to increase the V shape of the touch pads. I find myself having to straighten my arms before I start typing.
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Re: Brainstorm: How to enhance the Touchstream haptic experi

Postby nomaded » 15 Apr 2011, 21:03

My original solution to learning how to touch type on the Touchstream involved enabling keystroke sounds and resting my palms/wrists on the wristrests that's part of the tent.

I'm not actually typing on a Touchstream at the moment, so I can't really say as to what I do. I've been meaning to bring my LP back into work at some point, and I think Monday would be a good time to do it.
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Re: Brainstorm: How to enhance the Touchstream haptic experi

Postby TorbenGB » 15 Apr 2011, 21:15

Finger drift is the nemesis of this otherwise wonderful product!

My experience is that you need either the tent stand, and plant your palms solidly on that at all times; or you need to put the flat device pretty far from the desk's leading edge so that only the elbows protrude and your whole lower arms rest solidly on the desk. Either method ensures that you're mostly using your fingers and wrists, not your arms, to move around the device, and this is essential. As soon as you've moved your arms, you've lost the game and you need to spend a second to "recalibrate" your hand position.

Even if you do this, you'll likely also need to recalibrate your fingers by resting them on the 10 dimples every couple of words (dongadoy forgot to count the thumb dimples). But that's easy to do because you're bound to have thinking pauses in your typing work, and you need it after gesturing too.

Shawn's suggestion to increase the V angle is also right; I think I could use just a few more degrees. I think the Microsoft keyboards have a slightly bigger angle than the TouchStream has.

Lastly, there is one hack you can do to actually provide more real tactile feedback -- make an overlay out of paper which has been creased between the key areas. You can print your favorite layout on the paper before you crease it. The paper needs to be thick so it won't wear out easily and also to make it more durable against finger moisture. I've described it at length here: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=2853#p5864
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Re: Brainstorm: How to enhance the Touchstream haptic experi

Postby nomaded » 15 Apr 2011, 21:23

I think using clear nail polish around the keys could have merit. They will cause mouse pointer drift as your fingers go up and down across the nail polish, much like what happens when your fingers goes over the dimples. My only problem with nail polish is that they will be hard to remove non-destructively if you ever wanted/needed to do so.
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TouchStream Mini - February 26, 2002 - Sold
TouchStream Stealth - March 18, 2002 - Windows 7 Ultimate (home)
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Re: Brainstorm: How to enhance the Touchstream haptic experi

Postby ShawnMcCool » 15 Apr 2011, 23:21

Alright, team. Here's the deal. I love this technology. I love this device. But, right now I'm typing at around 140wpm and that includes any symbols numbers etc that you throw at me. Currently, I'm working on my Touchstream about 4-6 hours a day and then switching to my regular keyboard to actually get some work done. I'm trying to use my Touchstream during real work so that I will get used to it. However, it's very slow. Very very slow. I program all day long.

I need to either find a way to improve on the system or I'll just end up not being able to use it. I don't want that to happen. So, I'm working on 1) improving my form (I still don't always use the right fingers when I'm not on my Touchstream), 2) improving my basic familiarity with the device and 3) working on finding solutions to the drift issue. without drift I can type quite satisfactory on the Touchstream.
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