The USB Typewriter and The iTypewriter

Okay I’m not quite old enough to remember the days when newsrooms were filled with the noise of clanking typewriter keys and the zing as reporters started a new line of text before tearing off the paper and rushing it to their editor.

But I can imagine the hectic and cacophonous atmosphere those vintage machines must have been part of.

While you would think typewriters are now firmly a part of our history, it would seem that a hankering for all things vintage very much extends out of the world of fashion and home and into the realms of technology.

The USB Typewriter

The USB Typewriter conjures up a flavour of those old days, pairing a classic typewriter with a unique electric ribbon that transfers your words onto your iPad or Android tablet via a USB cable.

You can choose to buy a USB typewriter, with prices starting at around £500, or you can use circuitry from usbtypewriter.co to turn more or less any manual typewriter into a retro-futuristic marvel.

The idea has proved so popular that the site has sold out of its own vintage typewriters at the moment and is currently sourcing new stock.

For those who can’t wait, the site offers a USB typewriter conversion kit, but you’ll definitely need to be of a practical bent as according to the inventors, it will require some “basic soldering skills” and “a matter of hours”.

Inventors believe their innovation has proved so popular because you can “take your family’s cherished typewriter and turn it into a computer keyboard you can use every day.”

You can even write on paper while recording your keystrokes to a computer, so that way you will have both a hard and soft copy, something that is sure to appeal to the old fashioned among us.

Already, there are a raft of vintage typewriters on sites such as ebay and, with this new invention, more and more people will be unearthing their own machines from their attics to use or sell.
The iTypewriter

And the USB Typewriter is not the only one to offer that old school experience to the tablet generation.

The iTypewriter

The iTypewriter uses a series of little hammers to translate your key presses into pushes on your touchscreen.

With each key strike, a little hammer jumps out of the typewriter and, with a rubber cap, prods your iPad to mimic how you would touch your iPad.

The iTypewriter is the brainchild of Austin Yang, who is a student of product design and mechanical engineering at Edinburgh’s College of Art.

He said he hoped his invention would help an older generation interact with modern technology.

“Users can enjoy the old feeling of typing and also the latest technology,” he said. “Even though the elder users who have never used the computer or iPad, they can use this familiar typewriter and type in the familiar operation way.”

Some reviewers have noted that the iPad does not always recognise the inputs when users are typing at speed so Yang believes his invention could be the answer. Although so far, there are no plans to bring his innovation to market so those who want that vintage feel could have to use their old manual typewriter after all.