Ability to type away from a flat surface

Me and fellow keyboard enthusiasts at geekhack.org forums have been discussing TextBlade. We’re all very intrigued by it and some have already placed orders.

I raised the subject of wanting to be able to type with TextBlade even when there are not flat surfaces available to lay it down on, such as just walking around. That would make it truly portable–you can type anywhere, instead of being forced to go back to the clumsy touchscreen typing when away from a flat surface.

Anyway, I thought of a solution using thumb-rings under each half of the keyboard, and you guys can read our discussion about it here: https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=67682.msg1596217#msg1596217

I would love to see that implemented–it would create a truly portable high-quality hardware keyboard that can be typed on no matter where you are, or in what position.

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Thanks Lunatique! Enjoyed reading the discussion and your concept.

We have some ideas about this space too, and think something compelling can be done.

Speaking from personal experience – once you’re hooked on TextBlade’s high-grade mechanical keys, natural ergonomics, and rapid editing capability – you want to use it ALL the time. We aim to support this.

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Oh, this is rich! Lunatique, I’ll visit geekhack immediately after typing this. I began composing a new topic, but this intelligent website made me aware that a similar topic existed. My title was to be, “Rigid flat-topped lap trousers.” The idea (for all I know has been covered…gotta hurry to geekhack) is similar to cargo pants pockets, but with flat, rigid inserts covering the tops of the thighs when seated. They can magnetically join themselves, forming a small table top. I tend to believe that Way Tools has already brain-stormed such ideas. For that matter, flat, magnetic panels may be inserted into side pockets for walking around. I’ll admit that thumb rings seem more eloquent than cumbersome plaques, and power / communication becomes an issue, but I really admire your idea. Now put a smart phone into a virtual-reality headband, use its camera to impose a semi-opaque view of text upon reality, and go for a walk about…

Um, an elbow / forearm yoke? Fingertip gloves? Implants?

I was thinking about slapping together a ferrous metal arm guard, so I can stick the TextBlade to one arm magnetically, hold my phone in the corresponding hand, and type one-handed on the Blade. Not as efficient as typing with both hands, but it’s got to be better than the onscreen keyboard!

Hmm, maybe one of those fitness armband thingies to hold the phone on my upper arm? Things to tinker with–right after the TextBlade arrives!

Another option would be a small desk designed to be suspended from one or both wrists, so I can type with both hands while walking…Actually, I think I could do that, and have it fold up into a single arm guard! Holy heck, is that going to draw some stares!

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I think I will opt for a simpler solution. Having my butler hold my textblade and phone on a silver platter while I stroll in my garden. :slight_smile: Seriously though the thumb ring idea sounds awesome and I may need to build something like that if someone doesn’t beat me to it and make a kickstarter.

Doodled this up as a basic idea for a gauntlet that would allow 2-handed typing. Basically, it has a spring-loaded slide rail similar to an Assassin’s Creed hidden blade or a pop-out derringer rig. (There are DIY instructions for both online). When it pops out, a magnetic desk pops out sideways, providing a space for the TextBlade to attach magnetically. The positioning puts it in an ideal place to type with both hands while on the go.
Optional to incorporate: holster for the phone on your arm (such as one of those fitness armbands with the clear front), and a magnetic clasp on the hanging end of the desk, to support it from your other hand as well. (You’d have to wear a glove with metal tag in the right place)

Done right, this will win you huge cred at geek parties, increase productivity by enabling you to touchtype anywhere, and just in general look awesome. If any of you avid DIY-ers manage to put one of these together and make it work, I would love to see pics and a tutorial if you want to put one together. Please do give at least some credit for the idea, but it’s not like I’ve copyrighted this crappy sketch.


Here you go :slight_smile:

why not just get a lap top then, if you are willing to carry around that big pillow with a hard surface?

I think something can be done with solid plastic sheets that fold and click in place so you get a surface large enough for palms and TB.

The sheets would have embedded metal strips to make sure the TB stays put (the magnets will have some attraction towards the metal, and using magnets instead of metal will probably interfere with the TB magnetic spring action).

Some anti-slip coating on both sides would be handy too…

Ideally it would fit over a laptop keyboard in a way that keeps the trackpad available and doesn’t disturb any trackpoints.

Next step after that: textblade covers for tablets that keep the TB in a depression and allow just closing the cover with the TB still in it.


I just saw this on Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/thetusk/the-tusk-telephone-utility-support-kit?ref=category

That design concept would be perfect for typing on the TextBlade when there’s no flat surface available. Just modify the design to suit the typing position, and also be able to hold the device hand free too.

That doesn’t seem comfortable if you were to use it to type on the TextBlade, since you put all the pressure on 1 wrist.

Also, that was a weird product-video :laughing:

What if another bracing arm is added so both wrists are anchoring? The second arm doesn’t even have to wrap all the way around the wrist and can be just a semi-circle shape, as long as it can stay on the wrist.

I think the general concept can be used to create a unique design for TextBlade. It doesn’t need to be exactly like that Kickstarter product, but simply using the same concept in physics.

Maybe that’s a possibility, but think about it. First you have to extend the device, then place the TextBlade on top of it (or maybe you can attach it to the device, that’s possible as well I guess), then you have to make sure the TextBlade is connected to your device, you have to open the app you want to type in, and then start typing blind because you can’t hold your smartphone/tablet/… Doesn’t seem very practical.
And then there’s the fact that when you want to type a lot (programming/writing/…) you usually have a place where you can sit, because I cannot program on the go, while standing. Sometimes you can have an idea you don’t want to lose, but it seems faster and more practical to just type it out on your touchscreen keyboard then.

FYI - something is coming for this need.


@Axidiel - I don’t know about you, but I often find myself in situations where there’s no flat surface to place a device on for typing. Standing in very long lines waiting, sitting in the doctor’s office, waiting at the DMV, sitting in the car, waiting for someone at the street corner, at the park, etc. While it seems like in those situations you might as well just use the touchscreen keyboard, but in reality, those situations can last quite a long time–from several minutes all the way to an hour or more. You can type a $hit ton of stuff in that much time, and you’d do it far, far faster with the TextBlade than you could with the touchscreen keyboard.

@waytools - Awesome! Can’t wait to see the design.

Cool. And perhaps this is a new product the agreement refers to - they don’t want any real detail about it going out until they are ready. Of course, it doesn’t mean testers will see it either, but maybe so.

FYI - something is coming for this need.

Great news – I often find myself having to work where there are steps or seats to use but no table / desk. A solution to use text blade on my lap would be extremely useful.

I look forward to seeing what you have in mind. I’m not a phone guy and I know that’s your big market. But I think what I do is fairly common, to take a tablet to an easy chair to read the news or emails or a book, and several times an hour either write a half-page of notes or an email. I do a lot of annotating and a glass keyboard or voice dictation destroys my train of thought. I’d love to grab the TB off the coffee table and whatever it’s affixed to and just think and type.

If you have something worked out I’d certainly add it to my order or buy it later. Of course,that assumes it really solves the problem. One thing I like about your team that I know bothers others is that you’ll wait for the right solution instead of just shipping whatever you’ve got because it kind of works. Heck, I can glue a couple of brackets onto a plastic board - I expect you to provide a slick, creative solution. And if you’re thinking about it, I know you will.