It is pretty fair to say that physical keyboards no longer have the allure they once did. BlackBerry, the last holdout of physical keyboards in their devices, has all but outright admitted that its hardware is unsexy. But, the company Tactus Technology wants to change all that.
Tactus is producing magic-like hardware with “real physical buttons that dynamically appear and disappear into a flat touch screen,” according to their website. A thin layer, composed of semi-elastic polymer, is placed atop a smartphone or tablet. Microfluidics enable the buttons to appear so you can type and/or play games on the device.
My first reaction when I watched the video above, was similar to that of the commenters on The Loop‘s site. It would be a successful tool for blind people if Tactus could incorporate Braille into the interface. After some thought, I’m pretty sure now that the technology will be marketed for a wider range of people and occasions.
For instance, consider that almost career-ending typo you emailed because your fat fingers couldn’t tap the correct key on your touchscreen. Or maybe you sent a NSFW text to your mom by hitting the wrong button. Or worse, you tweeted a selfie that definitely should not have been public. Touchscreen-typing mistakes are so terribly pedestrian these days. And Tactus’ screen could be a serious remedy.
The product will initially come in the form of a smartphone or tablet screen-overlay, but Tactus hopes to partner with several companies to have devices with the technology built in sometime in the next few years.