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Thread: Pop-Up Button Tech Using Microfluidics Might be Touchscreen Keyboard of the Future

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    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.

    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."
    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...

    Thanks for the tip, Redsnk95!

    Source: CNET
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    #2
    speechless......
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    Quote Originally Posted by cereal killer View Post
    speechless......


    When those "keys" pop up that's a wow factor for sure. I remember reading about this last year. I hope its close to production ready. This is a game changing tech.

    Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk 2
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    Wow...that is seriously some impressive voodoo going on there

    Seriously though, if they could take that technology and make it to the proper feel of a joystick or control pad (for gaming obviously) that would definitely be revolutionary and heavily tip the gaming future in favor of tablets and phones.

    I wonder how it feels to actually type on it though...squishy?
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    #5
    RIM just got put on notice....lol. Sorry I meant BB...

    I could still see the impressions of the keys when the keyboard went away...devils advocate time..... what does this do to the screen quality where the keys are?
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    Quote Originally Posted by jroc View Post
    RIM just got put on notice....lol. Sorry I meant BB...

    I could still see the impressions of the keys when the keyboard went away...devils advocate time..... what does this do to the screen quality where the keys are?
    You're right you can still definitely see the impressions, but considering it's still in testing stages, it's pretty dang impressive.

    I think they'll work out the material that the fluid is held in to be better and have the impressions go away faster. Just the idea that a technology like this exist is impressive enough. And considering it is a fluid I would imagine that part of the screen the quality may suffer, but maybe they're working on that too. If the keyboard impressions last more than 10sec after you're done typing I could definitely see that as quite an annoyance and doubt this company would release the tech before that issue is resolved.
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    I'd buy that for a dollar!
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    #8
    I've been waiting for tech like this for a long time. This will be great not only for those annoying onscreen keyboards but for controls in video games. And when you're tied up, can't see your phone and need to call 911


    With that tech I can go up to a girl and say, "our chemistry is so strong even my smartphone has goose bumps..."
    Last edited by xsylus; 02-13-2013 at 09:26 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jroc View Post
    RIM just got put on notice....lol. Sorry I meant BB...

    I could still see the impressions of the keys when the keyboard went away...devils advocate time..... what does this do to the screen quality where the keys are?
    I don't think it will do much negative to it at all. Considering the keyboard takes up much of the phone when you turn it, it will likely cover the whole keyboard (not to mention the other possible applications of the technology may be better suited having it in any location), so it wont be like half-and-half or anything. But judging by the quality of picture Samsung has shown on their flexible OLED, I would imagine this wouldn't be much worse. But obviously I can't say 100%, we'll just have to wait and see


    BUT, for my turn playing devil's advocate... what kind of power will this take? Battery life is already brutal on 4G (outside of the monster batteries, like aftermarket extended ones or the factory one included in the RAZR MAXX), I would imagine this will only make it worse
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    #10
    Quote Originally Posted by xsylus View Post
    I've been waiting for tech like this for a long time. This will be great not only for those annoying onscreen keyboards but for controls in video games. And when you're tied up, can't see your phone and need to call 911


    With that tech I can go up to a girl and say, "our chemistry is so strong even my smartphone has goose bumps..."
    lmao

    /interest
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