Texting competition prize defended by US champion
- 9 August 2012
- From the section Technology
A 17-year-old has out-tapped the competition to hold onto the title of being the US's fastest texter.
Austin Weirschke from Wisconsin beat 10 other competitors at the sixth National Texting Championship held in New York.
Contestants had to do one task with their vision blocked and another with their hands behind their back.
Mr Weirschke said he planned to put the $50,000 (£32,012) prize money towards paying for his college education.
The competition - which is sponsored by LG Electronics and featured one device with a physical keyboard - put three skills to the test: accuracy, speed and dexterity.
Two of the tests were straight-forward - memorising and then typing phrases as quickly as possible, and translating text abbreviations into "regular speak" such as TTYL (talk to you later).
But others were more challenging, including writing words backwards - or text sdrawkcab as the round was dubbed - and having to tap out the words to the song Twinkle Twinkle Little Star within 45 seconds while wearing darkened glasses that blocked the competitors' view.
The champion said he typically sent 500 texts a day to his friends, but attributed his success to added practice with his mother.
The writer Malcolm Gladwell once wrote that studies suggested that it typically took 10,000 hours - or 417 full days - of practice to become an elite performer.
This suggests that despite Mr Weirschke's proficiency, he still has room for improvement.