If there is one feature that Blackberry users have over the iPhone and other smartphones, it is that the device has a physical keyboard. Some users enjoy the all-touch-screen devices. Others are not such fans, and wish they had physical keys to press to compose a text or dial a phone number.
And so…it was only a matter of time for a company to create an innovative invention to create physical buttons on all touch screen phones.
Tactus has invented just such a new technology. Before describing the technology further, it’s important that you have a visualization of how the technology looks. Check out this video to see how it works and looks on your touchscreen devices. As you can see, the buttons are no longer flat and become tactile.
How Does It Happen?
I first learned of this technology through a Business Insider article. From the video and picture , we can see that the technology works; but the question is, how? Jillian D’onfro (an iSchool alumna and the author of the Business Insider article) does a fantastic job of describing that:
“Tactus has created a thin layer that can replace the Gorilla Glass on top of the touch sensor and display layers of a smartphone or tablet. The surface of that layer is a semi-elastic polymer under which there are little channels filled with a special transparent micro-fluid. To make buttons appear (for a keyboard, a game controller, whatever), you can increase the fluid pressure in a certain area. The added fluid physically stretches and raises the polymer surface.”
Image via BusinessInsider.com
In additional research on the product, I have learned that the buttons only appear when you need them, and they become invisible when you do not. Pretty crazy… right? Tactus CTO Micah Yairi shared that Tactus is looking to pair with companies to get Tactus layers integrated into new devices.No Going Back?
The technology behind Tactus Technology is unbelievable. Since I have not gotten my hands on a device that uses this technology yet, it still seems rather impossible to me that it works as smoothly as the way it’s been marketed. However, if it does, there is almost no reason to ever need to go back to physical keyboards.
I found no indication on the price of the technology, or whether it will just be an additional cost for the companies that integrate the technology into their devices. It should be interesting to see how this technology grows throughout 2014, though.
Feel free to follow Tactus on Twitter, or learn more by visiting the website.
And be sure to leave your feedback and comments below or Tweet me @ceek22!