It’s been a busy quarter for UTEST company TrendMD. Fresh off their participation in Ycombinator’s Winter 2016 cohort, which was covered in TechCrunch, the company has announced partnerships with HighWire…
Whirlscape, a graduate of the UTEST program’s first cohort (co-managed by MaRS Innovation and the University of Toronto), has launched their little keyboard for big fingers to Apple users.
The software, released to coincide with Apple’s iOS 8 launch, is part of Whirlscape’s larger efforts to develop typing solutions for wearable devices, including smartwatches, Google Glass and other applications.
The Minuum product launch for iOS was covered in TechCrunch, The Next Web and Mobile Syrup, among other tech blogs, and was mentioned in articles dissecting iOS 8’s overall improvements for Apple users (see Yahoo Tech, Mobile Syrup and Digital Trends).
Whirlscape, graduates of the UTEST program, made tech headlines last week by releasing a teaser of Minuum, their one-line, mobile keyboard for wearable devices, running on an iPhone.
From input, the Minuum blog:
We’ve embraced the design philosophies of iOS to refine Minuum into an elegant typing experience centred around our incredibly powerful autocorrect.
“Start-up culture is fast taking hold at U of T, with an array of incubators and accelerators providing student entrepreneurs the resources and mentorships required to get their businesses up and running,” writes Ameya Charnalia of The Varsity, the University of Toronto’s student newspaper.
Charnalia’s article focuses on new student-focused incubators, such as the UTEST program, which provide entrepreneurs cash, access to in-house expertise, working space and mentorship to advice their ideas.
It appeared in the same week that recent UTEST graduate Whirlscape released a new demo video showing their Minuum keyboard technology running on a LG G watch, which is also an Android Wear device. The announcement was covered in TechCrunch, engadget, Pocketnow, Android Police, SlashGear, BGR, Mobile Syrup, 9to5Google, and DroidLife, among other tech blogs.
This news builds upon Whirlscape’s activities in the wearables space; the company had previously announced a partnership with Omate Smartwatches that was covered in TechVibes.
This news was covered in the Los Angeles Times, Tech Crunch, Droid Life, Mobile Syrup, Digital Trends, SlashGear, Android Community and GigaOM. See also this article speculating on possibilities for the future of Canadian mobile wearable technology, also by Mobile Syrup.
Why would you need to type on a smartwatch? CEO Will Walmsley addressed the topic on input, the Minuum blog:
There’s been lots of activity in MI’s portfolio this week (and it’s only Wednesday). Read down for what you need to know about Whirlscape, Crowdmark, OtoSim, and ApneaDx.
Whirlscape’s Minuum keyboard nabbed a four-star review from CNET’s editors only days before announcing their technology is now available for Google Glass. Watch the UTEST graduate‘s newest demo video.
The Education Division of the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) showcased some of the newest and most innovative products in the education technology market, and recognized the best among them as part of the Innovation Incubator program at the 13th annual Education Industry Summit, the leading conference for the K-12 and postsecondary education technology market, held May 12-14 at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco.
From their blog:
Crowdmark was named Most Innovative among more than 50 applicants,
Whirlscape Inc., a graduate of the University of Toronto Early-Stage Technology (UTEST) program’s cohort graduate, exits beta with the version 2.0 release of Minuum, their hit “small keyboard for big fingers.”
Whirlscape Inc. graduated from the University of Toronto Early-Stage Technology (UTEST) program’s first cohort. UTEST is accepting applications for its third cohort until April 17. Click here to apply.
Version 2.0’s release is already a popular download for Android Apps in the Google Play store. Users can get a 30-day free trial of Minuum and experience new features, including a widely anticipated addition of a Brazilian Portuguese language module, the company’s most requested language.
“We’re constantly testing out new features and improving the disambiguation algorithms,” says Will Walmsley, CEO and co-founder of the company he started at U of T’s Dynamic Graphics Project lab. The company raised $500,000 in seed funding earlier this year, and under the advisement of Y Combinator, began releasing often, trialling new features in what they call Bonus Panels, secondary functions that quickly allow users to change languages, add emojis and more.
UTEST is currently accepting applications for its third cohort. Apply now.
Minuum, the “little keyboard for big fingers” is making waves in wearable technology with their disambiguation algorithm and advanced language modelling, which can be used on Android devices and smart watches.
Read Darrell Etherington‘s article about Minuum on Smart TVs and consoles in Tech Crunch and coverage in Geeky Gadgets, an online technology review and resource publication. You can also read more about the U of T science behind Minuum here.
Minuum keyboard creators accelerate wearable device input technology development
TORONTO, Canada (February 6, 2014) — Whirlscape Inc., creators of Minuum, “the little keyboard for big fingers,” have closed an investment seed round for just over $500,000 (USD). Y Combinator, FundersClub, BDC Venture Capital, and a dozen other prominent angel investors have contributed to the round.
Whirlscape’s plans for the capital involve innovating beyond its participation in Silicon Valley’s start-up accelerator Y Combinator. Whirlscape also aims to consolidate the success of its Minuum keyboard for Android touchscreen devices—available on Google Play—whose positive reviews have boosted sales since the New Year.
Since launching the Minuum keyboard in 2013, Whirlscape has grown to a dedicated team of 10 working to enable new ways to type, and to unify input methods across the rapidly emerging field of wearable and ubiquitous computing devices such as smart watches and Google Glass. Whirlscape has recently demonstrated the Minuum keyboard working on Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smart watch.
“Our vision for the future of hyper-personalized input devices involves letting you choose your companion device for its input capabilities,” said Will Walmsley, CEO of Whirlscape. “By simplifying the concept of the keyboard, we allow text entry to occur in places where it was previously unthinkable, removing barriers to communication. Your keyboard can now be anywhere you want it to be, out of the way, yet immediately accessible.”
Whirlscape, Inc. was in the first cohort of UTEST, the MaRS Innovation and University of Toronto accelerator program for early-stage technologies. UTEST is now accepting applications for their third cohort.
The remarkably accurate keyboard that encourages sloppy typing for smartphones and wearable technology uses a disambiguation algorithm to make sense of any letter combination, so it’s been proven perfect for big fingers.
Xavier Snelgrove, Minuum’s co-founder and CTO, wrote a detailed explanation on the creation of the keyboard in Input, a blog by Minuum’s creators. From language models to algorithm descriptions, the post offers fans of Minuum an inside look at the science that makes the technology so user-friendly.