History: The keyboard was one of the first ways that humans and computers interacted. It is
“an array of keys that may be captioned buttons or marked areas on a plane, each of which can cause a discrete signal or action when pressed with a finger. In current systems the operation of the key is detected and turned into a coded electrical signal; in the past mechanical coupling was used to allow depression of keys to directly punch a pattern of holes in a punch card or paper tape, as in a keypunch, or to print a character.”
Typewriters had already been around for over half a century, and it so it made sense to transfer that technology over to computers because it was something that most people were used to already. In 1956, MIT started to experiment with keyboards that would have direct inputting on computers. In 1962, the Keyboard Model 33 from Teletype corporation becomes the first marketed and sold computer-input device for microcomputers. By 1964, I.B.M. created specialized command keys like esc, ctrl, and alt. They improved on their keyboard, adding the arrow keys, page up and down, Enter, and others in 1971. Eventually, computer companies made keyboards to that worked with the mouse, so they could be partners in human-computer interaction.
Why it was not picked: The keyboard was not selected as the main interaction for selecting items on screen was because the keyboard by it self was too limited. The keyboard cannot move a cursor across the computer screen like a mouse can. Today, the keyboard is used with the mouse to provide the most efficient experience interacting with Graphical Computer Interfaces.
- John Daintith and Edmund Wright, “keyboard” In A Dictionary of Computing: Oxford University Press, 2008. Accessed April 23, 2017. http://www.oxfordreference.com.ezproxy.umw.edu/view/10.1093/acref/9780199234004.001.0001/acref-9780199234004-e-2761.
- “A Keyboard Timeline”, The New York Times, August 12, 1999, accessed April 3, 2017, http://partners.nytimes.com/library/tech/99/08/circuits/articles/12keys-timeline.htm.