The MicroWriter - chorded keyboard, 1802 inside

Maybe you wonder: What’s a MicroWriter? … and what is it made of?

Image from wikipedia by Steve Baker:

More info here - it has a one-line display, into the current document, and a tape interface for storage. So, not so much a keyboard, more a document entry device.

Invented by Cy Endfield, an un-American.

Here’s an in-browser emulator, for those of you with a numeric keypad:
http://www.loper-os.org/mwemu/mwemu.html

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There was a variant of these for the BBC Micro - plugged into the user port. I remember using a left-handed one at one point (I am left-handed!) It took a while to get used to it, but I was able to use it for program entry, although it was more suited for text entry. However it needed regular practice so as soon as I stopped using it then I forgot a lot of the ‘chords’.

The closest thing I’ve seen in recent years is the keyboard on the Fignition Forth system.

-Gordon

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I had a friend - something of an inventor and a BBC Micro fan - who used to take long walks on moorland and always found himself besieged with ideas that he wanted to note down. Obviously, a pencil and a notepad would not do, so he started work on a rig that would involve a MicroWriter stuffed into his coat pocket (he’d already taught himself to use it), ‘some sort’ of computer (I think he was imagining a portable version of a Beeb) and a head-up display attached to the peak of his hat. That way, he could think, make notes and watch where he was walking all at once. This was in the early/mid-80s so, suffice to say, he was well ahead of the necessary technology and it went nowhere.

He was always ahead of the curve. He also invented a magnetically triggered automatic cat flap long before such things came onto the market. Alas, it needed quite a strong magnet and his wife made him abandon it when the cat was found stuck to its food bowl.

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There’s a more recent device called a CyKey produced by Bellaire Electronics in Barnstaple, Devon. I got one about 10 years ago as an alternative input device and then used the MicroWriting chords on a device I made for the partially sighted.

http://www.cykey.co.uk/

There was also an early PDA called the MicroWriter Agenda - that appeared in the early 1990s. (1989)

http://www.computinghistory.org.uk/det/13151/Microwriter-AgendA-32K/

Ken

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Other side of Dartmoor from me. 35 miles as the Devon Eagle flies. Never heard of them. Amazing what’s on your doorstep that you just don’t know!

-Gordon

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Hi all,
I confess to being a bit, well … a lot of a lurker here. I’ll try to change that if time permits.
(I go back to the days of the SC/MP evaluation kit.)
This post reminded of something that I was always going to build … but didn’t.
The Writehander.- 1978


(Image thanks to Google Image Search… I used to have that magazine issue.)

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What a marvellous looking device! Here’s the issue online:

Edit: see also

Edit: and please do de-lurk!

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