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U of T spinoff company raises 873% of funding for tiny, smarter keyboard

Whirlscape closes Indiegogo campaign

More than 9,600 people are funding development of this tiny keyboard (image courtesy of Whirlscape)

The Indiegogo campaign for Minuum, “the little keyboard for big fingers,” created by the University of Toronto startup Whirlscape Inc., has closed after raising $87,369 in one month.

Whirlscape reached its initial goal — $10,000 to fund the launch of an Android keyboard app — within 14 hours of launching the campaign on March 18. Its video has now been viewed more than 1.1 million times.

A tech start-up from Associate Professor Khai Truong of the Department of Computer Science and alumnus Will Walmsley of the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, Whirlscape was founded in June 2012 with seed funding from the University of Toronto Early Stage Technology (UTEST) program and MaRS Innovation.

Through the Indiegogo campaign, more than 9,600 people signed up to fund Minuum, a one-dimensional, tiny keyboard that frees up mobile screen space while allowing fast, accurate typing. Its specialized, patent-protected auto-correction algorithm can determine the difference between what people type and what they mean to write in real time to ensure greater accuracy— getting it right even if the typist misses every single letter.

“The response to our campaign has been incredible,” said Walmsley, CEO of Whirlscape (pictured right). “While we hoped others would appreciate our project, we didn’t anticipate the level of support, enthusiasm, and excitement that Minuum would generate around the world.

"Since the campaign launch, we’ve heard from thousands of people who are excited about the future of typing that our simplified technology will enable — on all mobile devices, wearable and otherwise.”

The Minuum touchscreen keyboard is the first step of the Minuum project, which seeks to bring simplified typing to mobile and wearable devices. Minuum’s simplicity, size, and accuracy also make it the perfect keyboard to fit into the future of wearable computing, Walmsley said.

Thanks to the additional funding, Whirlscape will release a wearable development kit (WDK) later in 2013, empowering others to easily create personalized keyboards on any variety of devices and surfaces. (Read more about their wearable technology plans.)

The Android beta version of the Minuum keyboard will be available for supporters in June, 2013.

An FAQ on the Minuum project is available on the Minuum website.