2021-07-27T17:19:23+02:00

I came across this interesting short video documentary on the historical developments of the typewriter for the Korean alphabet (Hangeul). The following article by Young Back Choi gives a fascinating insight in the developments of this technology and its various path dependencies. From the article:

The evolution of the Korean keyboard reveals complex processes of dealing with nested path dependencies. As technologies change, one type of path dependence may turn into another type, and then into yet another. What had been first-degree path dependence in the age of handwriting had to be reexamined with the possibility of the mechanical typewriter. Difficulties for a mechanical typewriter included the conventions of writing vertically (instead of horizontally), the mixed use of the Korean alphabet and Chinese characters (which was impossible for a mechanical typewriter), and certain design features of the Korean alphabet, FALIASITB. Had all the conventions been kept, the Korean mechanical typewriter would not have been possible and Koreans would have had to rely on handwriting for much longer—second-degree path dependence. As it was, Koreans quickly adopted the convention of writing horizontally—third-degree path dependence. The mixed use of Chinese characters was also suspended, for the purpose of typing—third-degree path dependence. But FALIASITB was kept, after vigorous debates over whether a switch should be made to OLAAH—second-degree path dependence.

Wouter Van Rossem
Wouter Van Rossem

My research interests include distributed robotics, mobile computing and programmable matter.