If you've ever used a computer, you've probably seen it: A grid of numbers and mathematical operators on the far-right side of a keyboard. It's a numeric keypad—but how did it get there, and why is it laid out the way it is? Let's explore its origins. It's All About the Math Computers have numeric keypads because they make repetitive data entry easier. They allow you to type numbers and perform mathematical operations rapidly, with only one hand. The modern design of numeric keypads may seem obvious today, but it is the product of decades of refinement in adding machine technology, most of which took place over 100 years ago. The modern numeric keypad layout—sometimes called a "tenkey" layout—can trace its roots back to David Sundstrand, whose company released the first commercial tenkey mechanical adding machine in 1914. Prior to the tenkey design, most adding machines used a complex layout that included over 90 keys, with buttons for the numbers 0 to 9 in nine columns. (In fact, many companies continued to use this more complex layout for decades after due to patent restrictions.) In Sundstrand's much simpler adding machine key layout, you can see the rudiments of now-standard setup:… Read full this story
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