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Tactus Morphing Onscreen Keyboard to Hit the Market in Late 2013

tactus 3CES is wrapping up today and I made sure to spend a few minutes at  the Tactus booth.

This company burst on to the gadget scene in June 2012 with a new concept for providing tactile feedback for touchscreen keyboards. They’ve developed a way to add inflatable buttons to any standard touchscreen, and today they showed off what a consumer grade Android tablet would look like with their tech installed.

When I saw this tech at SID Display Week back in June Tactus was showing off a proof of concept design based on a custom-made screen unit plugged into a kit system board of some kind.  It wasn’t anywhere near a finished product. The unit on display at CES, on the other hand is based on a commercially released tablet which was given an after market mod.

tactus 4

It looked interesting but it still needs a lot of work to get the bugs out. The liquid buttons in the Tactus layer are incredibly sensitive. I could type just by gently running my fingers over the buttons. I also had several typos as a result of the keyboard app thinking I was holding my finger on a key in order to select a special character (accented characters and the like).

The driver issues can be fixed, and Tactus is working on them. But I’m still pointing them out because without a lot of work in the software this clever idea will be less than useful.

Note, also, that this tech is going to have to be installed when the tablet, smartphone, or other device is made. The technical issues involved in inflating the buttons tend to make an after market kit more than a bit  expensive as well as difficult to install.

Tactus reports that they have tablet makers already lined up to use their tech and they expect to get it into production this year.

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Void January 14, 2013 um 11:45 am

How well do the buttons disappear when not in use, though? Having crinkly screen wherever the buttons were or even vague persistent outlines would make this less than stellar.

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