Young Homeless Man with Deformed Hands Discovers Swedish Keyboard App That Changes His Life Forever
A former homeless man is enjoying an entirely new lease on life. 36-year old Russ Miller from Ohio was diagnosed with the autoimmune disease Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), which unfortunately caused his hands to become severely deformed. But due to an innovative hexagonal smartphone that was created in Switzerland, he has managed, that’s no longer the case.
Unfortunately for Miller, he got his RA diagnosis when he was just 26-years old, making it almost impossible to do normal, everyday tasks. As described by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), RA occurs when the ‘immune system attacks healthy cells in your body by mistake, causing inflammation (painful swelling) in the affected parts of the body.’
This disease usually attacks the joints in the hands, wrists, and knees, causing intense damage that causes chronic pain, unsteadiness, and deformity, which is a main side effect for Miller. And because RA has no cure, without proper treatment and medication, the side effects tend to get progressively worse over time.
According to Miller, “My hands are deformed. They’re not shaped properly and I can’t bend them like everyone else can. Recently my thumb has stopped working, so I can’t bend it. I can no longer use normal computer keyboards and it’s hard for me to even hold a pen anymore.”
Because of his worsening condition, it led him to becoming homeless and living on the streets in Florida for as long as four years. While homeless, he shares that he was often close to death, but somehow managed to make it out alive. Then in 2018, something happened that helped Miller make his life better.
Miller explained, “I was trying to get help and get myself out of my situation. I had a phone but I struggled typing on keyboards… So I started looking for alternative smartphone keyboards that might enable me to type again. I found Typewise by accident.”
Typewise happens to be a virtual keyboard that boasts of ‘a self-developed hexagonal layout and a predictive typing engine,’ suggesting words depending on the context of the words being typed in. Plus, it even has multilingual language support with over 40 different languages.
Miller said that it was due to the Typewise smartphone keyboard that he managed to “get his life back” because it gave him the ability to correspond with others. This allowed him to get help, find a job, and eventually get an apartment.
“I was able to communicate a lot better than talking, because my voice is kind of monotone so people don’t understand me very well. And because I was able to start typing on my phone again, I was able to use social media to reach out to an organization that helps people with disabilities,” he explained.
Miller also adds that he also finds the hexagonal layout of the keyboard much easier than the prevalent one used across the globe today. He shared, “I can move my fingers around and not mess up as often.”
“Now I have a part-time job where I take care of dogs and cats; Tuesdays and Thursdays. I can’t work full time, because of my physical issues but at least I have something to do and something to look forward to,” he added.
The Swedish company that created the app has received an amazing 4.5 stars rating, but at the time, they were oblivious to the fact that their extraordinary keyboard design had the ability to help those with lessened dexterity. But that was only until Miller decided to write them a letter to explain to them what their amazing invention had done for him.
Typewise co-founder, Janis Bernecker, said, “We’re just a small start-up from Switzerland so we were really quite surprised when Russ contacted us to say how much Typewise had helped turn his life around. We never thought we could have such a profound impact on someone’s life, especially someone on another continent.”
Since the free app was first launched, it already has more than one million users. The website describes their product as the ‘next-gen smartphone keyboard for Android and iOS.’ It also claims to have ‘4x fewer typos and 100% privacy with our unique hexagon keyboard, superior AI autocorrect & multi-language detection.’
Despite how amazing their keyboard is, the company has found incredible delight in the way that it has managed to positively change Miller’s entire world, from being homeless to thriving and living a wonderful life.
They shared, “It’s incredibly fulfilling for us to hear Russ’ inspirational story and we wanted to share it because there could be other people like Russ who Typewise could also help.”
While their website purports that their product is ‘Made with love in Switzerland,’ it should also really say ‘Sharing the love from Switzerland’ too.