Whilst at University, like many others, my Wednesday afternoons were spent travelling up and down the country competing against other universities. One of the memories which stuck in my mind was one of our epeeists, who also happened to be a physicist, coding on a sub-notebook with an unusual keyboard. This keyboard was two touch surfaces that also took gestures, not unlike those we use on touchpads today. I remember this particular piece of kit also having manufacturer support for Emacs, so you could link gestures to chord sequences. To add to the kudos, this particular device was in Dvorak. Keyboards don’t get much more hardcore geeky unless they’re blank.
This was in 2002, and felt very future-tech, very Minority Report.
It turns out the device was a TouchStream LP, by a company called FingerWorks. The company in question was bought by Apple in early 2005 and their technology was incorporated in to their products. Apple killed the product line.
In an interesting twist, these keyboards are now highly sought after. They originally retailed for $339, and are highly popular with RSI suffering engineers. In 2007, one went for $1525.