I was born on April 11, 1969 . . .
In 1988, I entered the University of Toronto as an undergraduate studying Computer Science and Physics. After discovering that I didn't like debugging code on buggy and unstable Turing compilers, I did a 180 and switched to English. This was fine until I found out how many boring books had to be read by English Majors. I made another half-hearted attempt at Physics, before stumbling into Bill Buxton's Input Research Group. Together with Bill and Scott MacKenzie, I implemented an idea that I'd had years before in high school, and we ran an experiment to test it. It was eventually named the Half Keyboard and is the topic of most of the papers listed below. My keyboard has been featured in Macworld magazine and Technology Review magazine.
Here is an interview (MP3) I did, explaining what makes a good keyboard:
My company, Matias, develops and sells computer accessories (including the Half Keyboard). If you want to see how naive I was when I started, here is a piece done about me (circa 1991) by the CBC business show Venture.
IBM has built a "Half-Keyboard Computer" that uses my keyboard. You can visit their web page at:
http://www.almaden.ibm.com/cs/user/inddes/halfkb.html<!- You'll notice they didn't mention me at all. ->
With help from Mike Ruicci of UofT's Computer Systems Research Institute and Tim Emmerich of Hewlett-Packard, I built a prototype wearable computer. Pictures of the prototype are available online.
In the late 1980's, I discovered a fundamental relationship in music, which allowed the creation of a very simple graphical model of the C major scale. After a little research at the library, I found that the rules of the model also applied to other scales used in tonal music. In fact, the model worked with every historical scale I found, including those from other cultures whose music sounds very different from ours. All were consistent with the model.
In 1992, I teamed up with James McGowan of the Eastman School of Music to better develop the model. In 1996, this work was extended and further generalized to be consistent with modern pitch class theory. It was developed further in 1997.
I used to maintain the faq file for the comp.human-factors newsgroup but as my workload has increased, my online time has decreased. I don't read much net news anymore, but the last version of the faq is still available online and still gets quite a bit of traffic.
Generation Gap Calculator, an interesting little utility I wrote while I was learning the Perl programming language.
Half-QWERTY one-handed keyboard software for Macintosh.
Demos available (Mac or PC).
The PC demo was written by my friend Mark Rosteck.
Web-based abstract posting and retrieval system I wrote for the Input Research Group.
Notice how fast it loads queries?
That's because (unlike 99% of the pages on the web) it does NOT present query results using tables. It uses <dl> <dt> and <ul> tags instead. Looks just as good, but renders almost instantly!
Matias, E. & McGowan, J. (1997). Splitting the Octave: 1997 Abridged Notes. (unpublished).
Matias, E. & McGowan, J. (1996). Splitting the Octave: 1996 Abridged Notes. (unpublished).
Matias, E., MacKenzie, I. S., & Buxton, W. (1996). A wearable computer for use in microgravity space and other non-desktop environments. Companion of the CHI '96 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 69-70). New York: ACM.
Matias, E., MacKenzie, I. S., & Buxton, W. (1996). One-handed touch typing on a QWERTY keyboard. Human-Computer Interaction, 11(1), 1-27.
Matias, E., MacKenzie, I. S., & Buxton, W. (1994). Half-QWERTY: Typing with one hand using your two-handed skills. Companion of the CHI '94 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 51-52). New York: ACM.
Matias, E. & McGowan, J. (1993). Splitting the Octave: A graphical model for musical scale description and creation. (unpublished).
Matias, E., MacKenzie, I. S., & Buxton, W. (1993). Half-QWERTY: A one-handed keyboard facilitating skill transfer from QWERTY. Proceedings of the INTERCHI '93 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 88-94). New York: ACM.
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