Pop-Up Button Tech Using Microfluidics Might be Touchscreen Keyboard of the Future
Are you one of those smartphone/tablet users who find themselves wishing for a physically tactile keyboard when typing? If too many fat-finger errors and auto-correct fowl-ups have you frustrated, then you might be intrigued by this new startup company's idea. A Fremont, California based startup called Tactus Technology is developing a touchscreen keyboard that literally creates instant pop-up buttons on your device when you want to type, and vanish when you don't.
Don't worry, it isn't some strange sorcery from the 31st century, it's a new tech they are developing called Microfluidics, and it could just show up in tablet and smartphones in the near future. The basic gist of it is that a small layer of fluid exists in between another layer on your display. When you call for the keyboard to pop-up, small areas of the device which correspond to the keys of your keyboard raise up by filling with more fluid. The buttons are even pressure adjustable so if you prefer a softer touch or a harder touch it can be adjusted. Here's a quote with some additional info, and you definitely should check out the video above (and another one at teh source link below) to see the technology in action.
What do you think? Is this something you would like to see implemented in future Nexus devices? This seems so innovative, maybe Google will buy the company...
Currently, the technology is limited in that it's a fixed single array. You wouldn't be able to use the Tactus keyboard in both portrait and landscape mode, for example. But the goal is to make the third generation of the product dynamic. "The vision that we had was not just to have a keyboard or a button technology, but really to make a fully dynamic surface," says cofounder Micah Yairi, "So you can envision the entire surface being able to raise and lower depending on what the application is that's driving it." Meaning it could display a keyboard when you're typing an e-mail, a number pad when you're dialing a phone number, and perhaps letter tiles when you're playing Words With Friends.
Tactus says it wants to be in production by the end of 2013 or beginning of 2014. Executives were mum about which companies they're talking to. Just one partnership has been announced to date, with Touch Revolution, a Bay Area company that makes touch displays. Tactus VP Nate Saal says, "There are more and more touch screens being integrated in devices... from your mobile phone, cell phone, into refrigerators and appliances and I think those are all opportunities for Tactus to really improve the interface and usability of those devices."
Thanks for the tip, Redsnk95!