The average person types at a speed of 40 words per minute (WPM). Nerds who spend all day at their computer like me can reach 100 WPM. The average English speaker in the US talks at around 150 WPM, but the founder of CharaChorder can reach over 500 WPM with his keyboard.
@rileyandrichy Reply to @johnathan284 A couple months ago I didn’t think this was possible #techtok #technology #keyboard #charachorder ♬ original sound – CoCoAbEaNs
Okay, if you watch the video, it seems a little suspicious. He types at 521 WPM but already knows the one sentence that he’s typing. For a real test, he can reach 338 WPM, which is so fast that it’s automatically disqualified for the Monkeytype leaderboards.
Now that we got that out of the way, let’s talk about the keyboard itself. It uses technology similar to stenography, which is used by court reporters, which accepts multiple key inputs at the same time. The keyboard then intelligently guesses the word you’re trying to type, therefore increasing your typing speed by minimising the number of times your fingers need to hit the keys.
The CharaChorder doesn’t even look like a regular keyboard. It’s split up into two parts that go under each hand. Each one has nine joysticks and each joystick can have four inputs, one for each direction. You can even create shortcuts to increase your typing speed even further. Of course, there is a steep learning curve, but it reportedly only takes a month of daily practice to get good at using the device.
This sounds promising for writers, but they also claim that it’s good for coding as well. I was very skeptical at first, because coding doesn’t really involve a lot of standard words. It turns out that I was wrong. Using the shortcuts, you can automate common blocks of code and you can use special characters, which stenography machines normally don’t support. This allows you to code quite quickly once you get the hang of it.
The CharaChorder is currently priced at USD 249.99 (~RM1,048) and is compatible on all operating systems, just like a regular keyboard. They also make something called the CharaChorder Lite, which is a regular keyboard with the same technology and that is priced at USD 199.99 (~RM838). I am a little sceptical of that one however.
There is an open-source program called Plover that can turn your keyboard into a stenography machine for free. It is meant to be used with special external devices that have a different layout because it’s just easier that way. Also, normal keyboards have a problem called n-key rollover which limits the number of keys you can press simultaneously. I’m sure the CharaChorder Lite doesn’t have this problem, but you can get a keyboard for much cheaper and install Plover for free. Even if you do get it set up, it takes years to get decently good at stenography, so I would just stick to the regular CharaChorder if I had to pick one.
I’m not sure if the CharaChorder itself will be the future of typing, but I do see the chorded keyboard gaining more traction in the future. The regular QWERTY keyboard layout was made in the 19th century, so I think we’re bound for an update soon.