A concept keyboard is a type of computer keyboard that is designed to assist in the faster and more accurate entry of information into a computer. Concept keyboards are most commonly used by people who need to type quickly and accurately, such as programmers or video editors. The concept keyboard replaces the traditional alphabetic and numeric characters with glyphs that represent concepts, such as “add” or “subtract.” This allows the user to perform a given task with fewer keystrokes.
The concept keyboard was first proposed in the 1970s by Professor Ted Kaehler at the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Kaehler proposed that the faster entry of complex concepts and commands into the computer could be achieved by replacing the standard alphabetical and numeric characters on the keyboard with symbol-based keys. The symbols used could represent either simple concepts or more complex concepts requiring multiple steps. Kaehler designed prototypes of concept keyboards but, with few exceptions, they remained largely theoretical until the mid-1990s.
In the early 1990s, new technology allowed for the development of concept keyboards that could be used with any operating system. One of the earliest commercial products was the Ergo-Pro Keyboard, developed by a Japanese computer scientist in 1991. It featured a pictorial keyboard that could be programmed to recognize thousands of characters and symbols. Other early concept keyboards included the Reflection Keyboard and the Kinesis Advantage, which could be programmed to recognize special symbols.
Today, concept keyboards are widely used in many fields, including programming, gaming, video and film editing, graphic design, and software development. They are available in a range of designs, from minimalist portable models to full-sized ergonomic designs. Some concept keyboards are designed to be used in conjunction with specially designed software, such as the Kinesis Freestyle, which is designed for use with the AutoCAD software.
The concept keyboard has become a vital tool for many computer users, providing an intuitive way to interact with the computer and allowing users to increase their efficiency and accuracy.