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Jan 2013

Lumpy keyboards

A tablet with a keyboard that physically rises out of the screen when needed and disappears when you’re done typing?

This is no longer just a figment of your imagination …

Take a look: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-20970928

The company which created this technology, Tactus, explains (1) that the future of text entry is a keyboard made up of “completely transparent physical buttons that rise up from the touch-screen surface on demand”. This tactile experience is trying to improve the efficiency of typing by reducing mistakes while simultaneously providing the physical feedback which traditional touch-screen keyboards lack.

What do people at Yu Centrik think about it?


I definitely want that! Bye bye typos and welcome efficiency!


According to a study presented at CHI 2008 from Glasgow University (2), adding feedback on a finger-based text entry for mobile devices with touchscreens has a positive impact on performance.

The authors noted a significant improvement in user performance when localized vibrations provided additional feedback relative to a traditional touchscreen keypad with visual/audio feedback.

Considering the clear importance of tactile feedback for keystrokes in text entry, I have a feeling that this technology could considerably improve the efficiency of data entry on future smartphones.

I invite you to read the white paper by Tactus (1), describing this technology with more detail, including a discussion of other possible advantages, especially in vehicle safety.


I suppose the screen has to be flexible so does that make it weaker? Also, the time taken for the screen to disappear is going to need to be really fast to avoid frustration…

I could finally type on my iPod Touch with gloves on!  I keep it in a case attached to my arm when I go out running, and it usually takes me at least 3 tries before I hit the key I’m aiming for…

Talking about iPod Touch, read Jay’s blog about typing on a touchscreen in the winter! https://yucentrik.ca/yu_archive/en/2009/01/28/ipod-touch-for-music-listeners-or-music-lovers/


(1) http://www.tactustechnology.com/technology.html

(2) http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1357054.1357300&coll=DL&dl=GUIDE

Image source: http://news.softpedia.com/news/CES-2013-This-Tablet-Grows-Lumps-On-the-O…

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