Wayne Rasanen has no love for standard computer keyboards, calling the design
old-fashioned, inefficient and awkward.

He points out that the ‘QWERTY’ design was invented shortly after the Civil War and that the letters were spaced oddly at the time so that the hammers of the old manual typewriters wouldn’t jam.

“It seemed bizarre to me that we’re still using a system for our most advanced, portable technology that was designed over 130 years ago. It was never built to be logical or efficient, which is why it takes up to 80 hours to learn to touch-type on a standard keyboard,” said Rasanen, a New Port Richey, Fla., television director and editor. “I thought there had to be a better keyboard somewhere – something appropriate for the 21st Century – but I couldn’t find anything that really made the type of leap forward that I envisioned.”

So he decided to take the leap himself.

The result is a revolutionary new keyboard design with only 10 keys called the Input Nomenclature Ten Digit Interface Device (IN10DID). The concept reduces the mechanical keyboard from more than 100 keys to only 10 keys, one for each finger. The 10-key format provides complete keyboard functionality in a variety of convenient configurations and is perfect for increasing usability for people with big fingers on various small, mobile devices.

Rasanen had reached the point in IN10DID’s development where he had a patent and a basic schematic but needed assistance to improve the design, as well as reduce or simplify the hardware components in order to proceed with the creation of a prototype. While serving on the board of the Tampa Bay Inventors Council (www.tbic.us), he heard about SATOP and applied to the program for help.

SATOP’s Senior Program Engineer, Chris Gilfriche, put Rasanen in touch with Dan Kovach, an electrical engineer with The Boeing Company, who also is an electronic hobbyist and inventor. “I enjoy working with microprocessors and circuit designs and I found IN10DID fascinating because the concept was well-defined, but needed circuit design help,” Kovach said.

Kovach used his 20 years of expertise in electronics to simplify the IN10DID schematics and find newer and better components for the design, which now will be smaller, more advanced, and easier and less expensive to manufacture. Kovach also referred Rasanen to a fellow engineer, Andy Tucker, who has helped prepare a preliminary prototype that Rasanen recently demonstrated at a major technology show.

“I have been amazed at the dedication and energy that Dan and SATOP have demonstrated in solving my challenge,” Rasanen said. “Dan even conducted related research while he was on vacation and the final document he presented was practically a thesis.”

Rasanen hopes that his technology eventually can benefit NASA in return for the help he has received. “IN10DID can be used in gloves to type without a keyboard, so I could see astronauts using the system during space walks,” he said. “We’ve taken a huge leap forward with SATOP’s assistance and I hope we can give back to the Space Program one day soon!”