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CES 2014: Hands on preview with TrewGrip Keyboard

There's clearly something wrong with the standard keyboard. It's so illogical, right? Right? In any case, people have been trying to reinvent the keyboard for a century, from the "more logical" Dvorak layout and portable chorded versions to laser-projected or, finally succesfully, touch-screen keyboards.

The latest attempt is called the TrewGrip, which you hold out in front of you and play like an accordion. It's a failed Kickstarter project ($23,110 [£14,132] of $100,000 [£61,000] raised) but the small company behind it found investors anyway and has made some pretty final-looking prototypes.

I spent a few minutes with the Trewgrip and ... it's weird. It's very weird. The thing about alt-keyboards is that you can probably on an utterly non-responsive touch screen. But that learning curve is part of why these alt-keyboards never take off: in a world where everyone's trained on QWERTY, it takes a real maverick to be Trew.

You carry the keyboard around with you. It cradles a phone or tablet on a grippy pad, and you wrap around your fingers to type on the back of it, using the same finger movements you would with standard touch typing.

It teaches you to touch-type, too, by lighting up the letters you're typing. The idea is to create a train yourself to use any of them through muscle memory, and then they become speedy and natural. Were my brain somehow wired to operate the Trewgrip properly, sure, it'd be much faster than typing full-sized keyboard for people on the run. It'll fit anything up to the size of an iPad mini.

For PCs, the keyboard also doubles as a mouse - it has a gyroscope and an accelerometer built in, so when you wave it around in the air, your pointer moves. Trewgrip's CEO, Mark Parker, said that he hopes that it will appear in the fourth quarter of this year.

To see what else we're excited to get our hands on in Vegas, check out our CES 2014 preview.