Innovation That Matters

The TypeCase keyboard | Photo source Dougie Mann

Inclusive smartphone keyboard for one-handed texting


This keyboard allows users with visual and motor impairments to press combinations of buttons, to type the letters of the alphabet

Spotted: Developed by a product design engineer, Dougie Mann, the TypeCase keyboard uses “chords” to type each letter of the alphabet. Although users have to memorise the different combination of buttons, which represent each letter of the alphabet, once mastered they can type without looking, or with one hand.

The keyboard is part of a smartphone cover. Four buttons on one side correspond with the user’s four fingers and one button on the other side with their thumb. As Mann designed the TypeCase for people with visual and motor impairment, the buttons are raised and tactile, an interesting difference to today’s smooth, screen-centred approach to smartphone use. The case can connect to the phone via Bluetooth

The project was Mann’s graduate project from his joint master’s degree at Imperial College London and the Royal College of Art. He received a student grant from manufacturing company Hubs for his development of the idea, and he hopes that the inclusivity of the design will make it interesting to many people. Further development focuses on using the TypeCase cover to read the text to people with visual impairments.

Springwise has spotted many accessibility innovations, such as the online platform that provides remote, affordable autism screening and a low-cost, high-tech prosthetic limb for amputees living in developing countries.




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