Tactus touchscreen technology lets you feel the keys
Love your smartphone but miss the feel of a real keyboard? Now you can have both, thanks to a new tactile touchscreen that morphs to create physical buttons.
Developed by Californian firm Tactus Technology, the new screen contains a tiny layer of fluid that deforms it to produce buttons of a given height, size and firmness. They act just like a regular keyboard, but disappear back into the screen when no longer needed.
Tactus demonstrated its touchy-feely screen on an Android tablet at the Display Week conference in Boston yesterday. The Verge reports that the keys need to be arranged in a predetermined pattern, such as a QWERTY keyboard, but Tactus hopes to make the technology more flexible so that apps can create their own specific buttons.
It is not the first time we have seen tactile touchscreens – both Microsoft and Nokia have tried their hand at the tech – but so far no consumer products have emerged. Tactus says you can expect to see smartphones and tablets equipped with the screens launching next year, and further in the future they could also be used in car dashboards and industrial control systems.
Jacob Aron, New Scientist