The two inventions I am seeking to advance at this moment in time are:
- AN Input Method for Computing Devices to replace QWERTY (referred to below as “KIM”, i.e., “Krunchie’s Input Method”);
- A New form of Transport (referred to below as “Krunchie’s Cab”).
I have had both inventions confidentially evaluated by American firm Lambert & Lambert, with the following outcome:
KIM: ”We believe that you have a very innovative invention; one that clearly and effectively provides a (novel input method). Furthermore, we are impressed with the ingenuity of your design …”
Krunchie’s Cab:“Clearly and effectively provides a novel form of transit”“Very high profitability”“High, moderately increasing market demand trend”“Very large, international or very broad market”
- QWERTY is the most usual keyboard layout and is named from the top row of letters on the typewriter, of which these are the first six. The original keyboard was laid out ”ABC …”, but typing was hampered by levers getting jammed if the keys were pressed too quickly after one another. QWERTY was invented in or around 1870 to slow down finger movement by separating letters that frequently occur together, so that the levers would not get jammed. By preventing jamming, it actually increased typing speed. It is non-intuitive, and takes an age to learn to use. Almost everybody who has used QWERTY has at some stage mused that there must be a more intuitive layout. DVORAK was an alternative that optimised finger-access to the most frequently used letters, but has just as high a learning-curve as QWERTY. In recent years, the CLUSTER KEYBOARD (which ascribes a cluster of letters to each key of a Number Keypad, an individual letter being selected by multiple clicks and/or by text prediction) was popular for mobile phones, but with the arrival of touch-screens, QWERTY made a come-back. There is, however, a better, more intuitive and more efficient input method than any yet marketed for PCs, Laptops, mobile phones, etc.: my invention, KIM.
- Canal transport and Stage Coaches became redundant when the Train arrived. The Train and Tram were largely overtaken by the Motor Car and Bus. Now, with increased congestion and the huge cost of road-building, trains and trams have made a bit of a come-back, but cars still survive. Now Krunchie’s Cab makes Cars and Buses obsolete and abolishes the need to build expensive roads. Note: Krunchie’s Cab is not a motor car, but an entirely new form of transport that you have never dreamed of.
- I intend, in the not too distant future, to submit a patent application for KIM. Then I will be looking for an Angel to share the expense and help with marketing the product, hopefully by licensing it to the major players in the Computer industry.
- As to the Transport Initiative, this is a venture requiring a large capital investment. If you happen to be involved in a new initiative in the Transport Industry, I advise you to pause and consider that I may be about to launch an intitiative that will make your venture obsolete. Perhaps you should consult with me before you go ahead!
- Land Registration Model: Everybody knows that Registration of land ownership is subject to interminable Queries and Delays. During my 35 years in the Land Registry, many of my ideas for improving the existing system were taken on board. Then in 1998, I published my thesis, “A Model for Land Registration in the Information Age,” which promised a system “With zero queries and zero delays,” and diminished bureaucracy. This was circulated to around 100 Land Registries around the world. I put an example up on the Web of how a Land Registry of the future might work (though using my own limited HTML skills). New Zealand more or less achieved the objectives with their new system. (However, on launch in 2009, limited automation to certain categories of transaction and, instead of using biometric identification of owners, rely on certification by lawyers, which merely throws the problem back to lawyers rather than solving the identification problem). I visited the Land Titles Office in Darwin, Australia, to find that the Northern Territory of Australia had fallen short of complete adoption of my model because the legal profession wanted to continue an existing custom in closing sales. Many other countries have adopted my ideas to some extent, and Ireland has, with considerable influence from my ideas, reduced both delays and staffing levels.
- A Land Registration system does not require to be government owned or controlled. First American Corp used my model in a venture under the Clinton Global Initiative to design an efficient Title Registration System for emerging economies. This led to a Land Records System Template used by Opportunity International, operational in Ghana, to provide secured finance to small businesses as part of its Micro-finance service. Here, the Microfinance Corporation operates a very low-cost para-legal Land-ownership record. An officer of the corporation maps the borrower’s property into a computer file using a GPS device; the borrower’s finger-print is recorded, and he is shown in the record as the owner. This ownership is guaranteed by the Microfinance Corporation and is accepted by the corporation as security for the loan. A finger-print is proof of identity when the owner comes to sell the property. In time, the government may accept the records of the corporation as sufficient security to enter them into the State’s official registration system. (I was engaged by First American Corp as a consultant in the early part of the project, and the actual Land Records System was provided by ESRI).
- I could give umpteen examples of my ideas being quietly adopted, but the present inventions are the first that I propose advancing through the Patent process.
Inspiration or Perspiration?
Is Invention due to Inspiration or Perspiration? Not really, it is due to obsession. Well, insight and obsession.
Think, boys, think?
Actually, conscious thinking does not work. Ninety nine percent of human intelligence rests in the sub-conscious mind, and this must be engaged in order to be creative. I learned this when, at 12 years of age, I started secondary school and began studying geometry. Home-work usually included a geometry problem of the sort: “If A and B, then prove C.” In the evening, at home-work time, I would stare at the question, think and think, “read it a hundred times or so, backwords and forwards, down and up, through both the ends of a telescope, [James Joyce]” and still no solution would appear. Then I would go to bed and I would wake in the morning with the solution plain and clear in my head. As soon as I realised what was happening, geometry problems became a dawdle. Read and understand the question and then go and play. By the time you came in, your sub-conscious mind had solved the question; otherwise, it would be solved by morning.
Similarly with essay-writing. Teacher would hand out the title of an essay. I would greet it with dismay. I had absolutely nothing to say on the subject. Then, I would put it out of my head and cycle home. Toss my bicycle into the shed and then: Ideas for the essay would come streaming up into my conscious mind.
My thesis on “A Model for Land Registration in the Information Age” (1998) was preceded by “A Blueprint for Registration of Title in the 21st Century” (1989). I had gone on my Summer Vacation from the Land Registry. The sun shone. I stretched out in relaxed idleness in the sandhills of Enniscrone … and bang! the insight burst into my head. I had to leave the beach, take out a pad and start writing. When I came back from vacation, I showed the essay to a colleague. He immediately responded, “This can be our Trade Union’s response to the Law Society document.” The Law Society had produced a proposal to the effect that the Land Registry should be taken out of the Civil Service and become a Company. Our union was tending to respond that that would mean nothing but a more expensive structure, another Quango, and a new set of bosses at the top, but make no difference to the service provided. My document changed the climate: the union response now would be (after negotiation of the document through several branches and committees) that change is needed to the service and that a new corporate structure might facilitate the change. A new corporate structure was, in fact, introduced.
Intuition springs from the sub-conscious. We must specify and understand the problem, then relax the conscious mind so that the sub-conscious can get to work. Inventors, like Albert Einstein, need lots of sleep or relaxation!
Einsten slept a lot and missed his morning lectures at college. He obsessed about two thoughts:
- If a train is travelling at 10 mph and a man is walking the train at 5 mph, at what speed is the man actually travelling?
- If the train is travelling at the speed of light, and the man is looking in a mirror, can he see his reflection?
The answer to the first is relatively simple: the man’s speed is relative: genesis of the theory of relativity.
The answer to the second is a bit harder: the train can’t travel at the speed of light, because this would take infinite energy. But if e = mc (i.e., energy = mass by speed), the formula then touted, why not? Because, answered Einstein, the formula is wrong. As speed increases, an ever greater amount of energy is required, and the correct formula is e = mc².
Of course the insight is of no use, unless it is followed by the perspiration. The unformed insight must be expressed in articulate language, justified, re-formed, re-written, clarified, reduced, expanded, put in context, presented, explained, negotiated, abstracted, and a structure for implementation established.
Genesis of the KIM
I learned touch-typing when I was a teenager, i.e., when my sister, Mary, started typing lessons in school. In those days, boys did not learn typing, but I was such a swot I wanted to know everything. I mentioned my typing exercises to my own Form Master, Br Flatley (known as Pancho), and he encouraged me enthusiastically. He said that, in his belief, (and this was 1958, when the dictionary definition of “computer” was “one who computes; an accountant; a statistician”), the day would come when students would not be allowed to submit handwritten coarse-work, but would have to submit typed copy, and that exam halls would stop providing paper answer-books, but would require answers to be typed into electric typewriters that would record the matter electronically or on magnetic tape.
The typewriter keys on my second-hand Royal Typewriter, of course, were laid out in the QWERTY arrangement. This was very strange and awkward. Researching the matter, I discovered that the original typewriters had an ABC keyboard, and that QWERTY was introduced to slow down the finger-action so that the levers that lifted the keys would not stick. Even with the QWERTY keyboard, a learner like me would occasionally cause the levers to clog up, in which case they had to be manually separated.
Even though the keyboard was named QWERTY, this was not the order in which you learned the QWERTY alphabet. Now, our alphabet is called “alphabet” after the first letters of the Greek alphabet, i.e., “alpha, beta.” In other words the alphabet is “the AB set.” The QWERTY alphabet is not a QWERTY-set, but an ”a s d f semicolon l k j – set.” When you are asked to recite the English (or Roman) alphabet, you start with “AB” and continue effortlessly until you arrive at Z. Can you recite the QWERTY alphabet? I certainly can’t. I learned the “a s d f” in order to position my fingers on these as the “home” keys. Then, by hours and hours of boring exercises, I extended the “finger-memory” first over the adjoining keys and then over the numbers and symbols across the top. In the meantime, I learned to move the carriage back to the start after each line of text. The whole thing involved a very large learning curve.
Many adept typists, e.g., many writers and journalists, never went through the formal lessons, and, typing with one finger of each hand, acquired significant typing speed by pure practice. Again, in this situation, much of the memory of where the keys lie is held in the fingers, and it is probable that no-one at all can recite the QWERTY alphabet. You often find these people looking at their fingers as they type, whereas trained typists look at their copy or output.
I am sure that everybody that ever learned to type has cursed QWERTY and mused that there must be a better way. Most then forget about the dilemma and get on with life. Many have, however, attempted to provide better layouts, and there are many inventions offering different layouts.
DVORAK is a keyboard that optimises access to the most frequently occurring letters. While the QWERTY was designed to prevent two keys being pounded at the same time or almost the same time, Court stenographers use a reduced-key keyboard where two keys are hit at one time, allowing very rapid typing by inputting whole words or phrases with one two-key stroke!
Multiple variations have been invented for ordinary users of computers and mobile phones. The most successful of these alternative, as far as I am aware, is the Cluster Keyboard, which takes the number-pad of a mobile phone and adds letters to the number-keys, the choice being made by multiple taps or text prediction.
All through my life, I have, in my idle moments, doodled with designs and ideas for replacing QWERTY. The ideas are often similar to those found in the issued Patents. However, after the initial excitement of creating a layout had subsided, the voice in my head re-iterated: “This is not good enough. It is not enough to re-distribute the letters or to change the shape or size of the keyboard or the number of keys. The problem is not solved. The simplicity and user-friendliness we are seeking has not been achieved.”
Touch-screens, Online keyboards, Reverse Touch-screens, Touch-pads, and Finger-sensing devices such as Intelligent Gloves, as well as the new haptic technology herald in a new era where new possibilities arise. I decided to give serious thought to the matter, and came up with an entirely novel, intuitive, efficient alternative that answers all the specifications.
With KIM, there is no need for interminable hours of practice in order to learn. The keyboard sequence is so intuitive it can be grasped in less than 5 minutes. You can start correct typing immediately, and will build up your speed at an astonishing rate. It can be used on all the modern devices listed above, as well as on new physical keyboards manufactured specifically for KIM.
Genesis of Krunchie’s Cab
Approaching my 4th birthday, my mother asked me if I wanted anything special for my birthday. I replied: “I would like a trip on a Stage Coach.” She said that there were no longer any stage coaches in Ireland, and that, anyway, they were very uncomfortable. She proceeded to explain that stage coaches and canal barges were replaced by trains and that now, in our time, trains were being replaced by motor cars. However, she could promise me a trip on the Howth Tram, the last of Dublin’s trams, when the weather improved.
In the months and years that followed, as I played out different forms of transport in imaginary systems in our back garden, I wondered what form of transport would follow cars and buses. I ruled out helicopters and aeroplances (because neither could supply accident-free, door to door transit) and reached my conclusion. However, the age of the motor car was only beginning and Krunchie’s Cab would be for the distant future. My imaginary play-world of stage-coaches, barges, trains and buses was forgotten as I turned to other pursuits. However, the subconscious mind now and again posted fresh insights up to the conscious mind and my solution was never forgotten, but occasionally updated.
The years flew quickly by. The empty roads of Ireland became chock full of cars; the bicycles were pushed off the streets of Dublin by motor cars; new roads were built and expanded; motorways and spaghetti junctions were built, and still the number of cars expanded non-stop.
When I read a report by Ireland’s Road Development Authority in 2001 that the road infrastructure necessary to support the growing number of cars was not attainable, I suddenly realised that the distant future had already arrived! Recent policy in Ireland has concentrated on alternative forms of transport: urban rail and a revival of trams, but these are only a partial solution, whereas Krunchie’s Cab replaces cars and buses and makes them obsolete, except as recreational objects.
My childhood vision gave me the what. Next, all I had to do was figure out the how. I have now completed the invention in all necessary details. However, this is a project requiring a sizable amount of capital, and where can I get that?