Typing is an absolutely indispensable skill for most professions today, but many of you are still pecking away at the keyboard with your index fingers. People who were in school in the ‘80s or later probably took at least one typing course, but that may not have been adequate to really reinforce proper typing habits. Nerds like me enjoyed playing typing games growing up, which is why I can quickly crank out these articles for you to enjoy. But if those games aren’t fun for you, you will need a little bit of extra motivation when practicing your typing. That’s why 3DprintedLife built this keyboard that shocks you when you type improperly.
While the actual gameplay differs, most typing trainer games utilize the same underlying mechanics. You have to look at the screen and type the provided text as quickly and accurately as possible. Maintaining a high words-per-minute (WPM) pace increases your score, while typing the incorrect key will result in a reduced score or some other kind of penalty. This forces you to learn touch typing, so you aren’t looking down at the keyboard as you slowly peck away at keys with your index fingers. 3DprintedLife’s keyboard raises the stakes by delivering a painful shock if you’re unable to type quickly enough or if you hit the wrong keys. Additionally, flashing LEDs blind you if you are looking down at the keyboard, so no cheating!
Instead of simply monitoring the keyboard output, 3DprintedLife actually built capacitive touch sensors into some of the keyboard’s keys. While not every key has a sensor, enough of them do that a neural network can determine if you’re quickly touch-typing or slowly peck-typing. That’s handled by a TensorFlow neural network running on a Raspberry Pi. A touchscreen attached to the keyboard provides a visual indicator of the user’s current typing performance. It also lets the user select from a handful of typing games. Like the games that you played in your school’s computer class, those games are designed to train your touch typing ability. But when you start missing the mark, you get a shock. That shock comes from the hardware inside of a prank pen. The shock electrodes are placed on the T and Y keys, so you receive the shock the next time you touch those keys. That certainly isn’t pleasant, but it is the perfect motivation to finally force you into typing properly.