All modern keyboards work based on a simple principle: an action has to occur at a specific point in space to produce the desired output. For physical keyboards, the "action" is to press down, and the "point in space" is the appropriate key. For virtual keyboards, the action is the same, but the "point in space" is simply a two-dimensional region of space in the shape of a key. With physical keyboards, it's possible to keep track of where your fingers are in space because you can feel the keys. With virtual keyboards, there are no physical reference points, and it's impossible to make sure your fingers are in the correct position without visually monitoring them. As those of us who are old enough to have taken a typing class will remember, peering down at your hands is the very first thing you're taught to avoid. While virtual keyboards have become a common feature of modern tablet devices, the buttons are of these keyboards are cramped, the interface takes up half of the available screen space, and user fatigue sets in quickly. Virtual keyboards are okay for short messages like texts or tweets, but very few people use virtual keyboards to type anything longer than a paragraph.
This problem - the need to eliminate physical feedback from the touch-typing process - has been addressed a few different ways, with very limited success. Some methods (such as 8pen and various handwriting recognition programs) reduce the input to a single point, and interpret movement and shapes to produce text. Others (such as Snapkeys) use several input points, and rely on disambiguation and predictive technology to deduce the user’s intended output. Computing pioneer Douglas Englebart conceived of a keyboard consisting of just five keys, where multiple keys could be pressed at the same time (forming a "chord") to increase the number of potential output characters. However, Englebart's original one-hand layout was limited to just 31 potential combinations, and more recent refinements of the chording concept (such as in10did and GKOS) are too different from the familiar QWERTY layout for users to adopt easily. ASETNIOP is a new keyboard replacement method that uses the concept of chording, but adds several more refinements that make it easier to learn, more comfortable, more efficient, faster, and ultimately better than any other keyboard alternative.
In order to touch-type on a physical keyboard, it is necessary for a user to learn two things for each letter: (1) which finger to press, and (2) where the key is located in reference to the “home” keys. With ASETNIOP, it is similarly necessary to learn two things for each letter: (1) the first key in the combination, and (2) the second key in the combination. What makes ASETNIOP unique is that for any given letter of the alphabet, the finger that is normally used to produce that letter on a QWERTY keyboard is part of the combination used to obtain that letter using ASETINOP. For example, on a QWERTY keyboard, the letter Q is normally obtained by pressing the Q key, which is located in the top row, with the left pinky finger. With ASETNIOP, the Q is obtained by forming a "chord" consisting of the left pinky finger pressed together with the right index finger. Similarly, the letter W is pressed with the left ring finger on a QWERTY keyboard, and is obtained by pressing the left ring finger with the left pinky finger in ASETNIOP. For the most common letters that are normally pressed by each finger, a single press-and-release (rather than a chord) is all that is required; hence ASETNIOP.
Most keyboard replacements suffer from the disadvantage of treating the space bar as an afterthought. But the space bar is actually the most important key on the keyboard - that's why it's the biggest! It's used almost twice as often as any other key, accounting for 18% of all keystrokes (compared to 10% for E, 7% for T, 6% for A, etc.). With ASETNIOP, the space bar is unchanged from a traditional QWERTY keyboard - you strike it with your thumb - and it isn't used to form any other combinations, which eliminates "step-on" errors where you accidentally form unwanted combinations by pressing one key before you've released the previous one. And ASETNIOP actually makes use of your other thumb (which is otherwise idle on a traditional keyboard) to activate the shift key, and to activate an autofill feature that automatically predicts the remaining letters in words as you begin typing them.
All of the letters of the alphabet, plus the most commonly used punctuation symbols, are available in ASETNIOP using two-finger chords. But chords consisting of three or more fingers can be used as well, as shortcuts to generate entire words. It's not complicated to memorize any combinations, however, because each shortcut is formed by the group of keys that would normally be pressed separately to type the word. For example, the word "the" can be produced by pressing the T key (left middle finger), the H chord (right index and middle fingers) and the E key (left index finger) all at the same time. Shortcuts can be used to produce some of the most commonly used words, like "and", "be", "of", "that", "not", "with", "you", "this", "but", "who", and dozens of others. In order to gain access to numbers and symbols, there’s a special code for switching layouts consisting of the index finger and pinky of both hands (easily remembered as the “devil horns”).