TwiddleTalk alpha release

I am more comfortable with chording but my typing is still slow after one month of casual use (no surprises). I also tend to make many errors when using my ring and pinky fingers, partly because I don’t use the included strap and the Twiddler sometimes slides around as my fingers stride between chords.

On a good note, I made progress towards my long-term goal. I created the basic framework of a virtual assistant / personal bot running on a mobile phone that I can interact with using the Twiddler. As you type messages, the bot responds by speaking. Right now it is not intelligent: the bot simply says the word or individual letters you typed depending on the mode you select. Later on I will add richer interaction capabilities.

But I’ve demonstrated the working principle. If the phone is paired by Bluetooth to the Twiddler and wireless earbuds, we have the making of an always-on, instantly accessible virtual assistant. What is cool about this setup is that unlike Alexa or Siri, the interaction is silent and eyes-free. With enough practice, you can converse with your bot without looking at your phone’s screen. This is useful when you want to look up information or take notes during meetings or while walking.

While the app is intended to be used on a phone, you can try it out on your computer. I published the code on GitHub.

Feel free to reach out if you have any comments or questions.

Getting to Know the Twiddler3

I ordered my Twiddler3 last February and when UPS delivered the package on my doorstep 10 days later, I giddily unboxed it. I installed the velcro strap and began “typing” — randomly pecking the keys individually and making chords. I didn’t really care what I was typing at this point. I was more interested in finding a natural grip and angle that would allow my to type comfortably and efficiently.

Instamorph package, 12 ounce bag

Two days later, I ditched the strap. Why? I want to be able to grab the Twiddler3 with my right hand (since I’m a lefty) when needed and start typing immediately. The strap got in the way because it takes a bit of fiddling to loop it around the hand, especially without looking. Instead of the strap, I created a custom grip using an amazing moldable plastic called InstaMorph. I got the idea from @Alex Bravo’s (thanks Alex!), who was kind enough to show me his mods. The main difference is that Alex’s design is intended to sit on top of a desk– he uses the Twiddler as a keyboard replacement, while my design allows for keeping the Twiddler in a jacket pocket.

me holding a Twiddler3 with a white custom grip mounted on the back
My Twiddler3 with a custom grip

I also started to read the online docs on Tek Gear’s website and looked into alternative keyboard layouts. The Twiddler3’s default is easy to learn, but several users have designed layouts that claim to have better efficiency and/or typing ergonomics. These include TabSpace, Backspice and Typemax. To see the layout differences, head over to Griatch’s project page

I decided to stick with the default layout for two reasons. First, I like to have a point of reference for comparing the other schemes when I try them. Also I find the default layout easy to remember. This is important to me because I’m just getting familiar with my Twiddler3.