Change the future

Sunday 1:10 p.m.–1:40 p.m.

Plover: Thought to Text at 240 WPM

Mirabai Knight

Audience level:


Stenographic technology has been locked down to expensive, proprietary hardware and software for decades, depriving the world of the most efficient text entry system devised to date. Plover, a free, cross-platform steno engine that works with $45 hardware, offers hackers and hobbyists the ability to type at up to 240 WPM in applications ranging from wearable computing to captioning to coding.


This talk is a distillation of the five facets of steno presented in my "What Is Steno Good For?" blog series: Accessibility, fluency, wearability, ergonomics, speed, and paying work, directed toward people who have no knowledge of steno but are dissatisfied with the limitations of qwerty and dvorak. It will offer a live demonstration of Plover being used to code in Python at 200 WPM, along with a very brief overview of the principles of stenographic text entry. It will also discuss why steno is better suited than just about anything to the current gamification trend in education (Steno is best learned with instant feedback at incrementally increased speeds, so Hover Plover, the forthcoming arcade-style steno tutorial game suite, aims to rewire qwerty typists' brains using fast-twitch reinforcement, tripling their speed in a matter of months), and will discuss why the proprietary stranglehold on stenographic software and hardware has done a great disservice both to professionals and to would-be steno amateurs.

A preview of Plover in your browser (requires n-key rollover keyboard for full effect):

What Is Steno Good For?

Accessibility -

Fluency -

Ergonomics -

Portability -

Speed -

Jobs -