Contents of the H-KEY.DOC file
INTRODUCTION TO H-KEY
H-KEY was written for a friend, Barbara Burke. It is a writing tool
for people with severe motor disabilities. H-KEY uses a single switch key
entry principle for entering text. By displaying pictures of keyboards
("logical" keyboards) from which characters are selected to be typed,
rather than from a physical keyboard, H-KEY simplifies the process of
typing characters and carrying out complicated text handling functions
which would otherwise (using a conventional keyboard) be far too complex
for the handicapped user.
H-KEY is intended to be used by people of average or better
intelligence who have poor or no control over hand and finger movement and
who desire, for one reason or another, to write. Likely users would be
those with cerebral palsy, stroke victims, those suffering from spinal
injury, etc.Average or better eyesight and the ability to operate a
switch by hand, foot, or whatever, are prerequisites to using H-KEY.
The following pages should give the reader an idea of how H-KEY
works. If you are using H-KEY and have any questions or comments about it,
you can contact the author at (212) 564-1401 days or at (212) 833-1345
eves, or at the address below. I plan to continue developing
communications tools for the handicapped. A few of the tools I'm
considering now are: a DOS interface; a program editor, and a voice
generator (using VOTRAX technology) which would use logical screens to
augment the text-to-speech process. If you decide to use H-KEY, a
contribution ($25.00 would be plenty) toward the effort to develop more
products would be greatly appreciated. Contributions may be sent to the
Brooklyn, New York 11209
THE H-KEY IDEA
The fundamental idea behind H-KEY is the translation of what is a
physical keyboard (used with standard microcomputers) into a logical
keyboard, i.e. a keyboard which appears as part of the computer's video
display. Control over the logical keyboard is handled by using a simple
switch, anything ideally adapted to whatever motor ability the handicapped
individual possesses (e.g. a button switch, a footpad, a grip sensor).
H-KEY uses as its input switch any key struck from the computer keyboard.
THE LOGICAL KEYBOARD:
The logical keyboard is actually a matrix (or series of matrices) of
keyboard characters and function requests (e.g. file handling, cursor
movement, text manipulation, etc.) displayed on the video screen (see
pages 4-7). This is the main advantage H-KEY has over other communications
aids for the handicapped: The options presented to the user of H-KEY are
not limited by hardware restrictions. Operations and requests are
functionally grouped in H-KEY, and are invoked by the user via
easy-to-learn selection criteria. The user of H-KEY requests a specific
"keyboard character" by specifying the coordinates (x, y) of that
character within the matrix (logical keyboard). This is where the switch
is used: the H-KEY display is divided horizontally into a text area and
the logical keyboard display (see page 4). On the keyboard display, the
user sees a cursor-sized light moving from row to row (the x coordinate)
at a set speed. When he wishes to make a specific keystroke, say the
letter "h" (which lies on the first row and sixth column), he strikes the
"input switch" (in the current implementation, the space bar of the
computer's keyboard) when the light appears at the row the character is
located on. Once this is done, the light will immediately begin travel
from column to column until the switch is struck again. Striking the
switch twice completes the cycle required to retrieve one character: The
cycle is then started once more to retrieve the next character or command.
THE H-KEY SCREEN LAYOUT:
The layout of the display screen is configured to give the user of
H-KEY the maximum degree of control over the writing process possible (see
H-KEY SCREEN LAYOUT on page 4): The current mode is emphasized by using
inverse video; a status line informs the user about the current editing
session, the name of the text being worked on is always displayed (if it
has been named), and the user is prompted by a minimum of messages to aid
him/her through the more complex operations, such as moving or deleting
blocks of text.
THE H-KEY MODES AND DISPLAY KEYBOARDS
As mentioned above, the main feature of the H-KEY text development
aid is its use of different display keyboards. By grouping text functions
into sets which fit compactly in a small area on the display screen and
which have functional association, many complicated text editing
operations may be performed without having to use complicated control or
The H-KEY text aid uses three primary keyboards: 1) the character
keyboard (upper and lower case) 2) the control keyboard and 3) the file
keyboard (these keyboards are depicted on pp 5-8). The functions of these
three primary keyboards can be described as follows:
Displays the set of characters which is used to compose a text, and also
some additional functions (such as "new line", "auto underline", etc.
which are most conveniently invoked from the character display(s). The
character "modes" are really a configuration of either one or both
character keyboards (upper and lower case). The "Caps" mode invokes the
upper case keyboard - all characters typed are in their upper case form.
The "Lower" mode invokes the lower case keyboard - all characters typed
are lower case. The "Caps Once" mode invokes the upper case keyboard for
the next character typed, after which the lower case keyboard is
displayed. The additional functions of the character keyboards(s) are
described on pages 5-6.
Displays options used primarily for controlling the text display. These
options include cursor control, screen scrolling, page breaks and
retrieval, deletion and insertion, move and copy, setting the speed of the
keyboard light, and others. These options are described in greater detail
on page 7.
Displays the set of file control options available within the H-KEY
program. These include saving a text to file, retrieving a text to be
edited, printing a saved text, and listing all H-KEY texts on disk. These
options are described on page 8.
INVOKING THE KEYBOARDS
The various keyboards and their associated functions are invoked by
selecting the mode associated with a given keyboard (see figure "H-KEY
SCREEN LAYOUT" for keyboard display modes on page 4). The selection
process for a mode is the same as that for selecting a given character
from the character keyboard, i.e., by hitting the space bar twice: once
when the character light is on the row the mode indicator is located, and
once when the light is on the column of the mode. The current mode is
always displayed in inverse video; switching modes causes the newly
invoked mode indicator to be displayed inversely and also the primary
keyboard associated with the new mode to be displayed.
The character display mode is the default mode (at program start the
Caps Once mode is invoked). The "file" and "control" modes are invoked
primarily from the character keyboards when needed. Once the operations
connected with these modes are completed, entering a "RETURN" command
causes the keyboard used prior to invoking the file or control keyboard to
appear. That is, returning from the file or control modes always places
us in the character mode so that we may continue typing in text.
The display modes and keyboards are described in greater detail on
pages 5-8. Note that the "Caps Once" mode is simply a combination of the
CAPS keyboard followed immediately by the LOWER keyboard.
H-KEY SREEN LAYOUT
E | Sometimes, when I was in just the right mood, I would as my |
X | brother to take me to sit in Central Park. It was usually in the |
T | late spring or early summer (before it got too hot) that I liked to |
| go. Often we would meet friends there and spend the afternoon until|
D | it was almost time to return for dinner. _ |
S | |
P | |
L | |
Y | |
K |=> e o n d h r CAPS |
E | |
Y | t a i l m g j CAPS ONCE |
L B | |
O O | p s c f b k x LOWER |
G A | |
I R | y u w v z q % CONTROL |
C D | |
A |NL 1 2 3 ( ) @ FILE |
L D | |
S |DLT 4 5 6 " . , ==>BELSKY |
P | |
L |<= 7 8 9 0 / AL QUIT |
Y | PAGE: 1 OF: 2 LINE:25 COL:46 SPD:7 |
H-KEY SCREEN CHARACTERISTICS
1. TEXT DISPLAY - 10 rows X 75 columns: characters selected from the
keyboard display appear at the cursor position ( ). The cursor then
advances forward one character.
2. KEYBOARD DISPLAY - Characters are selected by pressing the space bar
twice: Once when the vertical character light reaches the row where
the desired character is located; and once when the horizontal
character light reaches the column of the desired character.
3. DISPLAY MODES(CAPS,CAPS ONCE,LOWER,CONTROL,FILE) - Different keyboard
displays are invoked by changing modes. Modes are selected in the
same way as characters (described above). (See subsequent pages for
4. ==>filename - Used to specify the name of the text (if not new)
currently being edited.
5. STATUS LINE - The status line always appears on the bottom right of
the keyboard display and provides information about the text being
edited and specifies the speed (SPD) at which the character light
| SP E O N D HR CAPS |
|T A I L M GJ CAPS ONCE |
|P S C F B KX LOWER |
|Y U W V Z Q* CONTROL |
| TB > # + ~ ?! FILE |
| xLN < _ - ' : ; |
| <= \ [ ] & $= QUIT |
DESCRIPTION OF CAPS MODE OPTIONS
1. SP - Keying in "SP" causes a space to be placed at the current cursor
location. Any non-blank is replaced with a space.
2. TB - Keying in "TB" causes the cursor to move 4 spaces to the right.
3. xLN - xLN deletes the current line the cursor is located on.
4. <= - Causes a backspace.When inserting text, the previous character
5. QUIT - Exits from H-KEY program. Prompt to save text is displayed.
| => e o n d hr CAPS |
|t a i l m gj CAPS ONCE |
|p s c f b kx LOWER |
|y u w v z q% CONTROL |
| NL 1 2 3 ( )@ FILE |
| DLT 4 5 6 " . , |
| <= 7 8 9 0 /AL QUIT |
DESCRIPTION OF LOWER CASE DISPLAY OPTIONS
1. => - Advances cursor forward one character. Unlike "SP", no erasure
of characters takes place.
2. NL - (newline) Causes a blank line to appear between the current line
and the next one.
3. DLT - In normal character mode, "DLT" causes the character under the
cursor to be erased and all following text to be shifted left one
character. When inserting text, the character preceding the cursor is
erased, and the cursor retreats one character.
4. <= - This is the backspace function. Same as in Upper Case display.
5. AL (or auto-underline) - Causes all text to be underlined. It is a
toggle switch, i.e., keying it in activates it (if already off) or
turns auto-underline off if active.
| =><= SCU S<= S=> |
| LTRT SCD P<= P=> |
| UPDN SPD GP HOME |
| PWNW MOV PB END |
| INS DLT CPY =|= RETURN |
DESCRIPTION OF CONTROL MODE OPTIONS
1. => - Causes cursor to advance forward one character.
2. =< - Causes cursor to backspace.
3. LT - Cursor moves to far left on current row.
4. RT - Cursor moves to far right on current row.
5. UP - Cursor moves up one row.
6. DN - Cursor moves down one row.
7. PW - Cursor moves to start of previous word.
8. NW - Cursor moves to start of next word.
9. INS - Sets "Insert" on. Text screen below cursor is cleared and the
lastcharacter keyboard used appears. All text entered is inserted
keyboard returns to regular (non-insert) character mode.
10. DLT - Sets "Delete" on. Move cursor using cursor movement functions to
mark text to be deleted, or key in "RETURN" from the control panel
to cancel delete operation.
11. SCU - Scrolls the screen up 9 lines.
12. SCD - Scrolls the screen down 9 lines.
13. SPD - Presents lower case screen from which to select speed of
keyboard light. Speed in effect at program end is saved for next
14. MOV - Used for moving text from one area to another. Prompts inform
user how to carry out this operation.
15. CPY - Used for copying text from one area to another.
16. S<= - Cursor moves to start of current sentence.
17. S=> - Cursor moves to end of current sentence.
18. P<= - Cursor moves to start of current paragraph.
19. P=> - Cursor moves to end of current paragraph.
20. GP - "Go to Page" function. For setting display to a different page.
21. HOME - Cursor moves to start of current page.
22. PB - "Page Break" function. Current page is ended here and a new
page is added (or inserted) with all the remaining text from the
23. END - Cursor moves to end of current page.
24. RETURN - Control is returned to the character mode. The associated
"character" keyboard reappears.
25. =|= - "Center Text" function. All text already typed on the current
line is centered on the line.
| LIST** ** ** SAVE |
| **** ** ** RETRIEVE |
| **** ** ** PRINT |
| **** ** ** ERASE |
| **** ** ** RETURN |
DESCRIPTION OF FILE MODE OPTIONS
1. LIST - Presents special character screen for specifying the drive to
LIST all valid H-KEY texts from.
2. SAVE - Presents special character screen for specifying the name of
the text to be saved to disk.
3. RETRIEVE - Presents special character screen for specifying the name
of the text to be retrieved from disk for editing.
4. PRINT - Presents special character screen for specifying the name of
the file to be printed.
5. ERASE - Presents special character screen for specifying the name of
the file erased from disk.
6. RETURN - Causes control to return to the character mode.The last
character keyboard used reappears.
HARDWARE/SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS FOR H-KEY
H-KEY runs on the following microcomputers:
- Any IBM PC compatible machine running DOS 2.0
The following hardware configuration should be sufficient:
- 128K RAM
- 1 or 2 double-sided disk drives
- Epson printer (FX,MX,RX models) **
- Monochrome or color display
**Although H-KEY was developed to be used with the Epson series printers,
plans are to install a printer interface program which will allow the user
to set up H-KEY to be used with his/her specific printer. As it is, H-KEY
should successfully print text using any dot matrix printer which supports
standard ascii CR/LF control codes.