A touchscreen with keys that rise and disappear
June 6th, 2012
11:10 AM ET

A touchscreen with keys that rise and disappear

If you've ever followed up a garbled text with "Damn You, Autocorrect," some high-tech help might be on the way.

A California company says it's created technology that could make keyboard keys rise out of the touchscreen on a smartphone, tablet or other device, then disappear when you were done with them.

Tactus Technology this week demoed Tactile Layer, a product that uses haptics, or a touch-based interface, to make patterns or shapes rise and recede on a regular touchscreen.

The company says its panel, which it displayed on a prototype Android tablet at this week's Society for Information Display showcase in Boston, is  "the world's first deformable tactile surface."

"The origin of Tactus goes back to 2007," said CEO Craig Ciesla in a video.  "Looking at the iPhone and all the elegance of that user interface, I also realized that I like my BlackBerry with the buttons ... . As human beings, we really want to be able to feel things; we really want that tactility."

The layer is flat and transparent and wouldn't add any thickness to a gadget since it would replace a layer that already exists, Tactus says.

For tech consumers, devices that could benefit from the system include smartphones, tablets, e-readers, gaming devices and remote controls, the company says.  But it also has potential in automobiles, medical devices and personal navigation systems, they say.

Tactus has partnered with Touch Revolution, a touchscreen manufacturer. The first Tactus products will be available by mid-2013, Ciesla said.

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Filed under: Design • Innovation • Tech
soundoff (194 Responses)
  1. Jasmine@Popular Touch Phones

    Day to day the technology are updated .I really appreciate this change and always welcome this.I personally like the touches gadgets.Because It's truly attract me very much.That's why I like the above gadget and hope I will buy this gadget as soon as possible.


    October 7, 2013 at 2:42 am | Reply
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  5. Jen

    Marvellous how there is heaps of comments on the net about text vanishing when you hit a key but out of squillions of people manufacturers included NOT ONE SOLITARY PERSON KNOWS WHY OR HAS THE ANSWER. PURE WASTE OF TIME AND MONEY. We apy out thousands for computers and SOMEONE NEEDS TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY.

    December 9, 2012 at 7:26 am | Reply
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  9. marty

    Damn, I finally figured out what the writer was trying to say. The screen can shapeshift. I want clothes made of that stuff.

    June 13, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Reply
  10. marty

    My girlfriend's Iphone has that.

    June 13, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Reply
  11. CoreTechs Consulting

    Reblogged this on coretechsconsulting and commented:
    Tactile keyboards allow a phone to have a 3-D surface- endless app possibilities to follow.

    June 13, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Reply
  12. mmi16

    Is there a fix for fat fingers?

    June 13, 2012 at 5:37 am | Reply
    • Tubby Buttercakes

      a diet

      June 13, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Reply
  13. Duhhh

    Raised keyboards does not fix auto correct!

    June 13, 2012 at 5:19 am | Reply
    • IndianaGreg

      Amazingly enough, turning OFF Auto-Correct does wonders however.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:55 am | Reply
      • tim

        True, but nothing fixes stupid.

        June 13, 2012 at 10:35 am |
    • Moka

      I was sooo worried I had broekn my shift key because it would not click back in right! lol I never even thought about the metal bars. This is like the only tutorial I could find on youtube that demonstrates how to replace a shift key! haha I feel so happy now, thank you so much! (:

      July 18, 2012 at 7:36 pm | Reply
  14. JohnnyInSNJ

    Awesome! A Cell phone with 26 more moving parts! I can't wait for the "E" key to stop rising.

    June 12, 2012 at 8:15 pm | Reply
  15. saty

    On the other hand (pun intended) there's this: http://leapmotion.com/


    June 12, 2012 at 5:56 am | Reply
  16. bigdaddyhen

    Maybe I don't get this, but where does the auto correct come into play with this, as the author started the story. The damn you auto correct sentiment comes in when you have types something in correctly, but auto correct changes it to something else, rather than what you typed. This would do nothing to correct that, as you would still be typing in correctly initially.

    June 11, 2012 at 11:18 am | Reply

      Exactly, I started reading this trying to figure out how a "pop-up" keyboard would fix the issue of auto-correct. The two have nothing to do with each other.

      June 11, 2012 at 11:31 am | Reply
      • Anon

        I don't know if this applies to all smartphones ever created, but I remember on my original-gen Droid that autocorrect only kicked in when using the touchscreen keyboard. Anything typed in with the physical keyboard stayed as you typed it. Perhaps when the physical keyboard is activated, the auto-correct is disabled.

        June 11, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • ATKat

      Most people finished high school and actually know how to spell. Their errors usually stem from hitting the wrong letter key on the touchscreen, and auto-correct nabbing them. The ones who don't know how to spell, deserve to be misunderstood.

      June 11, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Reply
      • Rick

        Since when is graduating high school these days a guarantee that the person can spell?

        Also, you had an extra comma after the word "spell".

        June 11, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
      • ATKat

        Since English is a required course, and dictionary.com is a mouse click away. However, you're citing a completely different issue involving how inept our education system is, which has nothing to do with my point.
        PS that comma belongs there.

        June 13, 2012 at 9:03 am |
      • A. Smith

        No, it doesn't.

        June 13, 2012 at 9:29 am |
    • Person of Interest

      It's from hitting the wrong keys. I'm used to typing fast on my phone and in the past I didn't even need to look at my phone to text because I knew where the keys were. The characters on my Droid are bigger than the ones on my old phone but because I can't move my fingers across the keys many times I hit the wrong button (constantly hit the "v" instead of the spacebar. Normally, autocorrect gets 90% of the words correct if I miskey. However, when a vulgar word slips through and your talking to your mother or worse your boss, not cool (especially if it goes along with the sentence).

      I love this idea and would probably buy the phone if it was out.

      June 12, 2012 at 9:50 am | Reply
  17. rich

    How long until this becomes a (Cr)Apples innovation and they start suing everyone for it.

    June 10, 2012 at 10:41 am | Reply
    • Jeremy

      Apple haters. Such a obsessive and dramatic cult of oddballs.

      June 11, 2012 at 4:38 am | Reply
      • Joe

        And what does that make you Apple supporters. I know! How about the most stuck up pretentious snobs ever.

        June 11, 2012 at 7:49 am |
    • dcase20

      A computer is a tool. Not unlike all of you.

      June 11, 2012 at 10:32 am | Reply
      • Andy


        June 12, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
      • John

        Thanks alot for this tutorial! I was a litlte careless the other day and managed to get the smallest drip of tomato sauce on my directional key and now it's sticky. Thanks to this tutorial I was able to clean it safely. Very much appreciated!

        July 18, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
      • Anaclara

        The 64-bit version is in early test right now. I have it runnnig on my machine as we speak. It's got a couple of bugs we've got to iron out before we go to beta. I don't like putting dates on things like that, especially around this time of year when everything stalls, so I won't, but I will say it is feature-complete and undergoing code review and bug fixes now.

        July 21, 2012 at 2:18 am |
    • Sharky14794

      Isn't there an apple article for you to troll?

      June 13, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Reply
  18. freshnewblog

    So what store can we go to to check this out?

    June 9, 2012 at 9:44 am | Reply
    • Joe Mama

      Try Evelyn Woods, they should be able to help you with your question...

      June 10, 2012 at 7:45 am | Reply
    • Wayne

      Why does it always seem to take Steve Jobs to get pudroct design right? Amen. Rave reviews of the iPhone are starting up, for example : it is being called a game changer by Mossberg, which of course is no surprise given how he likes all things Apple. But, it is starting to sound like a game-changer.Yup, once I dug my keyboard I had to wonder why I had let it set around so long. You can accomplish a lot with one and a PPC/Palm.Well, it's bed time for the old man. See you folks tomorrow.

      July 21, 2012 at 3:45 am | Reply
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        September 24, 2012 at 8:27 am |
  19. celebritybrands

    gimme gimme gimmeeeee - hurry!

    June 8, 2012 at 8:10 pm | Reply
  20. Rainbows Out Of My Ears

    Pancakes bunnies lemons dingoes inflatable giraffes squirrels cheese emus llamas belly button armpit noodle earwax peaches

    June 8, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Reply
    • M B

      Just the usual groceries.

      June 8, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Reply
  21. cbyrd

    I'm in love. I type over 50 wpm, and having to look at my phone while I text someone drives me nuts. bring on the tactile.

    June 8, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Reply
    • Joe

      Congratulations you type as fast as my grandma. 50 wpm is nothing to brag about. Typing this comment about you took me 7 seconds and it took me another 7 seconds to count all 37 of them.

      June 11, 2012 at 7:52 am | Reply
      • Margie

        You are a braggart d!ckhole. It took me 2 seconds to type that.

        June 11, 2012 at 11:53 am |
      • Person of Interest

        Congrats Joe, I'm just as highly impressed at your super typing skills. It took me about 15 seconds to write all of this but I learned some pretty cool things while I was in the Army...want me to show you what I can do to you in the 14 seconds it took you to be a Dbag using just two thumbs and one index finger?

        You know you're a winner when you're one upping someone about your typing skills.

        June 12, 2012 at 9:56 am |
  22. samsart

    This would be such a boon to the blind and visually impaired. My brother is blind, and LCD touch anything is of no value to him. He does have an internet radio with knobs and buttons- that allows him to listen to streaming music. Keyboards do have purpose. I prefer them. I watch my grandchildren sending texts- and they are good at it, but I can enter just as rapidly or more rapidly , on my keyboad. I think the industry needs to keep those who have visual issues in mind when they design things. They have a desire to be just as connected as the rest of the population.

    June 8, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Reply
    • LaraRebooted

      YES. Aside from the keyboard, imagine having a screen that can produce braille for a blind or visually impaired user! That alone would be worth every cent.

      June 9, 2012 at 11:14 pm | Reply
    • Karin

      I was thinking the same thing! My daughter is blind, and she's all kinds of excited about this new technology.

      June 10, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Reply
  23. Tim

    It looks like the raised areas are consistent and you can see where they are when they're flat. How does that work if you turn the device? Seems like those raised areas would no longer match the keyboard on the long side of the screen.

    I would think that unless they can make the areas appear anywhere, in any shape on the screen, this will just be relegated to one or two Android phones, right next to the ones featuring 3D.

    June 8, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Reply
    • Rich

      I'm with you. Maybe I'm not understanding the concept correctly, because even if they do find a way to make it work no matter the orientation of the phone, I just don't see any real value in the technology, at least for the average consumer.

      June 8, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Reply
    • hillbilleter

      Don't turn the device. Especially if you are visually impaired and view this technical advance as a godsend. However, if you are shortsighted in a different way and think everyone is just like you, then twist and turn another brand of device all you want. Touch typists will love this.

      June 11, 2012 at 1:33 am | Reply
  24. Jock

    And for we old-time people who learned QUERTY as children, well, enough said:)

    June 7, 2012 at 11:00 pm | Reply
    • Rabid Goon

      hmmm... I'd think if you really 'learned' it, you'd know it's 'QWERTY' and not 'QUERTY'

      June 8, 2012 at 7:28 am | Reply
      • Tim

        Damn you, Autocorrect!,

        June 8, 2012 at 7:50 am |
      • JeffinIL

        Tim, well played, sir!

        June 8, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • Ari

      I'm 25, we learned QWERTY in school. I guess I must be old.

      June 9, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Reply
  25. Jock

    I agree with Craig – tactile is good.

    June 7, 2012 at 10:58 pm | Reply
  26. Dan Sutton

    I wonder if this works the same way the one I thought up would've worked if I could've been bothered to do anything about it. In my idea, the haptic objects are created by piezoelectric deformation, and then when a finger pressed on it, that would create a current as well, signalling the event... it'll be interesting to see if this is similar.

    June 7, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Reply
    • hillbilleter

      I have also dreamed a lot of inventions and innovations that I never patented. I enjoy seeing them actually being developed and helping people.

      June 11, 2012 at 1:36 am | Reply
  27. chan

    hmmm its interesting...I don't see the point now; but then I know many will like this for sure. Not like it matters, Keyboards and typing, controls, etc wont be around much longer lol...

    June 7, 2012 at 6:24 pm | Reply
    • GitchyGitchyGoo

      Think about the potential applications. How about a smart phone for the blind. With this technology, they could read web pages, text messages, etc.. on thier phone in braile.

      June 8, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Reply
  28. Miles

    ugh my brain hurts

    June 7, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Reply
  29. Steve Tsuida

    Wait, people still type? With a keyboard? That's so cute.

    June 7, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Reply
    • David

      how in the world do you type?

      June 7, 2012 at 6:17 pm | Reply
      • PPJr

        He types letter by letter, using his unmentionable appendage.

        June 7, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
      • Gil Nodges

        Would that be considered "Penpecking" ?................lol.

        June 8, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • swohio

      Yes, we still type....and probably a heck of a lot faster, and more accurately, than those who hunt and peck on a touch screen keyboard using their thumbs.

      June 7, 2012 at 11:47 pm | Reply
      • Herby Sagues

        Especially for those that speak (and write) multiple languages (which are NOT a small portion of the population, mind you). Auto correction works for single-language speakers, but for everyone else, having to switch language correction every time you have to write an email or text in a different language is a curse. And when you forget to do it you get a completely mis-corrected message that you have to re-type again from scratch.
        Physical keyboards will continue to offer significant advantages for a very long time. Intelligent people can accept that sometimes, for certain form factors, losing the physical keyboard is a decent tradeoff. Dumb people don't realize that there's a tradeoff involved.

        June 8, 2012 at 3:35 am |
      • Rich

        @Herby: "Auto correction works for single-language speakers," THAT is highly debatable. I had to turn mine off completely because it kept screwing up. While I take your point regarding keyboards in multiple languages, I'm not sure that's what this would allow – it looks like it's still just a standard keyboard with the ability to raise the buttons, but limited in being unable to change the keyboard layout for different languages, or change the orientation.

        Then what do I know. I thought that whole texting thing was a fad.

        June 8, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  30. Mortran

    This could be a breakthrough in touchscreen technology.

    June 7, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Reply
    • John Cram

      Could be? It is.

      June 7, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Reply
      • Kevin 'Demortes' Dethlefs-Moreno

        I think he was going for the pun 😛

        June 12, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
  31. Regal_Eagle

    If any of those keys could vibrate when the phone rings, and the keyboard was slim in width, women all over the world would line up to buy it, in pairs. One to sit on, the other to repeatidly call the first. Way to go, great invention....sponsored by AT&T, Verizon, ???

    June 7, 2012 at 10:11 am | Reply
  32. jdoe

    While this is a positive development, the best and fastest way to enter data is still a full-time keyboard. The problem with a touchscreen, tactile or not, is that it uses the same surface area to both view data and enter data. When you want to enter data, there is an extra step needed to make the keyboard appear, often obscuring part or all of the screen. Then another step is needed to hide the keyboard. This up/down scenario goes on for every input field.

    You don't have this problem with a full-time keyboard. The separation between data entry (input) and screen (output) is maintained. You see the whole screen at all time, and there are no extra steps needed. Jumping between input fields is fast and seamless. No touchscreen can work around this.

    June 7, 2012 at 5:36 am | Reply
    • Chris G.

      I disagree. About the speed that is. For me and a lot of people, one of the best and fastest ways to enter text data on a cell phone is SWYPE. I'm quite proficient. 🙂

      June 7, 2012 at 6:57 am | Reply
      • cyberhackster

        Good for you

        June 7, 2012 at 7:45 am |
      • mattski

        Swype is good. Not perfect, and proficient texters can pwn me even when I'm swyping and they're just typing.

        June 7, 2012 at 9:06 am |
      • Robert

        Swiper no Swiping! Swiper no Swiping! Swiper noooooooo Swiping!

        June 8, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
  33. reenie parris

    To relmfoxdale: they are for touch typists to ensure their fingers are over the proper keys (as on most regular keyboards) – left index over "f" ,etc.

    June 6, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Reply
  34. relmfoxdale

    I'm still trying to figure out why my iPad's keyboard has raised "bumps" on a couple of the keys. So far, no answers. Hello? Apple?

    June 6, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Reply
    • jeff

      If you mean raised bumps on the F, and J keys, your a moron

      June 6, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Reply
      • Ronnie


        June 6, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • Jim

      The raised bumps on the "F" and "J" keys are what's known as "Home Keys". The "Home Keys" are where your index fingers of both hands lay if you have learned the QWERTY keyboard. If you haven't learned the QWERTY keyboard, those raised bumps are there for you to ask why they are there... they are on ALL keyboards not just Apple or PC keyboards. They are for "Real Typists" to use...

      June 6, 2012 at 8:20 pm | Reply
    • GB

      Hahaha, you guys insulting him are funny.

      He is refering to the fact that the digital keyboard has no feel to to it, so why make "raised" looking keys.

      Why not just put black dots or something.

      Though I think it is a style thing.

      Still, so many poeple ready to insult. Just itching to do it. God...

      June 6, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Reply
      • theeponym

        It's called a skeuomorph. Look it up 😉

        June 7, 2012 at 11:59 am |
      • Rich

        Okay, I confess – I had no idea what a "skeuomorph" was, and looked it up. I'm going to completely annoy my friends with that.

        June 8, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  35. SparkBunny

    How about a desktop that has the keyboard rise out of it? Then i don't have to clean under the stupid keyboard at work all the time. Just a flat surface that rises up into a keyboard when you need it. It may seem frivolous, but would do wonders for the aesthetics of our daily lives.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Reply
    • saxophone31

      That would be fantastic! Especially for those of us who have sneezed while eating something COVERED in powdered sugar while at the computer...

      June 6, 2012 at 10:40 pm | Reply
    • yuniverse

      Actually those keyboards already exist.

      June 7, 2012 at 7:36 am | Reply
    • Howie

      Just quit eating while at the keyboard.

      June 7, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Reply
      • PEDO BEAR

        What are all the grown adults going to do who are living in the parent's basement living off hotpockets while sitting in the corner playing World of Warcrack all day long?

        June 11, 2012 at 11:37 am |
  36. Curmudgeon

    More high-priced flimsy garbage that will break just after warranty runs out.

    People don't need this sort of thing. Just get a life people.

    June 6, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Reply
    • scott

      Bitter, party of one.

      June 6, 2012 at 5:15 pm | Reply
    • bob

      Someone actually gets mad that they invented a better touchscreen ? very very strange

      if they invent the cure to cancer you probably have a panic attack

      June 6, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Reply
      • Say it ain't so

        Until they find a cure for panic attacks, then it's all over.

        June 6, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
      • evgeni

        i can imagine some medieval monks fumigating after they found out someone had invented a bookprinting machine

        June 11, 2012 at 4:43 am |
    • GB

      I think it is awesome.

      June 6, 2012 at 8:34 pm | Reply
  37. MarkinFL

    There are several companies working on variations of this concept. They all have patents pending. It will be interesting to see which ones are the most useful or fill specific niches. Seems like this company may well be first to market which can be a great advantage if people like the product.

    June 6, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Reply
  38. Me The Original

    It also looks like it will consume a lot of battery, check the haptic link

    June 6, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Reply
    • neoritter

      Not a problem, batteries are about to get much smaller and carry a larger charge.

      June 6, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Reply
  39. Me The Original

    Sounds really interesting, I wonder how much thickness will add to devices?

    June 6, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Reply
    • The Social Preacher

      And all you had to do was read the article...

      June 6, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Reply
    • Me The Original

      It may also consume a lot of battery, check the haptics link

      June 6, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Reply
    • The Social Preacher

      Use a pen and paper then.

      June 6, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Reply
  40. Ian

    This would be great for people who are blind. This technology could be progressed so people could feel the screen, and know how to interact with it. Sounds like a start to something truly remarkable.

    June 6, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Reply
    • MarkinFL

      This would be VERY useful for blind users. Not just for braille, any "buttons" that are normally just flat displays would suddenly be much easier to find. Shapes could be conveyed. Sections of the screen could be delineated. Any tactile feedback is a big help.

      June 6, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Reply
  41. hecep

    I wonder how Viagra ads would appear on this touchscreen.

    June 6, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Reply
    • Call a doctor

      Problem is that it would stay there for 4 hours.

      June 6, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Reply
      • Evia

        The iPhone is a good example, Mossberg or not. It rellay doesn't contain much that's rellay new, it's just a slick convergence of already existing technologies. Convergence wasn't a new idea it'd been talked about for ages, but it took Apple to do more than just talk about it. Now of course, it's a no brainer and similar units are sprouting up from other quarters. But for Pete's sake, how long have we had Windows Mobile phones and PDAs? How much would it have taken to make a WM phone the approximate equivalent of an iPhone, (in the same way a Zune is the approximate equivalent of an iPod)? Not much, but MS never took that step and WM devices are still clunky in oh so many ways. Come on, Microsoft, get a little vision. Their Surface computing device is pretty cool, for example, but how many people are going to be interested in it? Not many. It'll have very limited appeal outside of commercial environments.

        July 21, 2012 at 3:18 am |
  42. thinkfirst

    The greatest form of entertainment I've found so far is people arguing on message boards. Keep trollin!

    June 6, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Reply
    • Me The Original

      Yes, and all the stupid comments

      June 6, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Reply
  43. Atari2600

    We need a dozen eggs, some olive oil and some cocaine!

    June 6, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Reply
  44. hecep

    This definitely beats out Smell-o-vision.

    June 6, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Reply
  45. kirk

    Booo hooo, i dont like buttons, i do when there is funbags inside

    June 6, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Reply
  46. Derrek

    This concept was released around the same time (2007ish) and the patent was filed this year. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VL-yfP3-3hI

    June 6, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Reply
  47. littleBearFN

    Pretty dang cool!!!!!!!

    June 6, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Reply
  48. Johnny

    This is a good idea and could probably serve as a realistic compromise between those who like physical keys vs those who prefer touch. I hope they patent it quick before Apple steals the idea and claim it's theirs.

    June 6, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Reply
  49. Dirka

    A non Apple Technology story on CNN? Now thats news

    June 6, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Reply
    • wealthcoaches

      To be fair, they DID mention iPhone in the article.

      June 6, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Reply
  50. Kat

    People are viewing this with limited ideas on its use. Sure, it's showing a keyboard but there are other things that could be future applications. Braille for touch screen is just one. What about displays inside of vehicles and other transportation devices that lift up only as you need them? For example radio controls, environmental controls, heck even steering and shifting devices in the future. There are lots of cool applications other than just keyboards on phones.

    June 6, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Reply
    • anon

      Wish there were a like button for your post on this page. You're totally right. People live in the small world of things they can reach for around on their desks.

      June 6, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Reply
    • Jennifer

      "But it also has potential in automobiles, medical devices and personal navigation systems, they say."

      June 6, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Reply
      • larlarme

        "Tactus has partnered with Touch Revolution, a touchscreen manufacturer."

        nope, no fun. i thought i might try a random copy/paste, too.

        June 6, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
      • thinkfirst

        Jennifer wasn't randomly copying and pasting, she was answering the question by pointing out that the last three sentences of Kat's post were already in the article. Did you or Kat finish reading before posting?

        June 6, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
      • anon

        I think her post was more in response to people's comments here than the article itself.

        June 6, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
    • Alex

      Unfortunately the physical buttons are not dynamic, so a Braille application would not work. It is simply an overlay with an on/off feature that shows the buttons or hides them. It could be incorporated into cars tho, and that would be neat. Maybe eventually they'll figure out how to dynamically create the keys as needed.

      June 6, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Reply
      • Jon

        It will be fairly easy im sure. Think about the pixels in your screen. They make up images by using multiple pixels. In the same way, possibly, this system could work dynamically for multiple systems. While keeping the buttons functioning via an on/off state they could make them smaller and use multiple buttons to make up other buttons of different shapes and sizes. thus creating the illusion that they are dynamic. The only additional piece would be a programming layer that can identify and signal particular buttons to rise for particular situations.

        June 6, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
      • Fiveliters

        Actually,Alpine did incorporate this technology into a few of their NAV/DVD head units in cars several years ago,and even won a CES award for it. There should be a Google article on it out there.

        June 7, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • Jock

      Kat, 2 words – car accident. 😦

      June 7, 2012 at 11:05 pm | Reply
  51. DreamyK

    Meh. The keys are so small that your finger would overlap onto other letters unless you do some precision hunt and peck.

    June 6, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Reply
    • Bob the Cat

      Ack. Thhhpt.

      June 6, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Reply
    • Brian Hartman

      Presumably, they could have different key sizes for different surfaces. I see it as a real boon for tablets.

      I suppose it depends how it's implemented, but I don't see this technology making things like switches or knobs. It sounds like it's strictly for buttons, if only one surface deforms.

      June 6, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Reply
  52. Public32

    I have been waiting for this! the application are endless, computer keyboard that stays flat, game controller pads that raises forget Wii U and the extra controllers that's old school. This is sweet 🙂

    June 6, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Reply
  53. bam

    the ONLY time u need to feel the keys is while txtdriving. otherwise this tech serves no purpose

    June 6, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Reply
    • Bob the Cat

      ... for you...

      June 6, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Reply
      • Serenia

        Abnormal this post is totaly utenlaerd to what I used to be looking google for, but it surely was once listed on the first page. I suppose your doing one thing right if Google likes you enough to position you at the first web page of a non related search.

        July 21, 2012 at 12:59 am |
  54. su3385

    Being an old farrt, I love the idea, and intend to wait until it's available before I get a new tablet or phone.

    June 6, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Reply
  55. freshnewblog

    I think that I want it, but I do not understand it. Isn' t thst what my Kindle has? The keys fo not actually rise up out in a textured way on my Kindle though.

    June 6, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Reply
  56. The Master


    June 6, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Reply
  57. Robert

    As speech recognition gets better and better (Dragon is amazing), the need for an elaborate keyboard diminishes. This will be the challenge of Tactus.

    June 6, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Reply
    • Rich

      I could see something like this, but more refined, being used for the blind. If they can make the dots small enough, it can be a variable, changeable braille screen.

      June 6, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Reply
    • Ben

      I for one prefer typing to speaking to my computer or phone. Even if it was 100% accurate, typing gives me time to think about my word choice and structure in between words, and it's also more private. I don't think the majority of consumers will ever prefer speaking over typing in most situations.

      June 6, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Reply
      • Elj4y

        I agree. There's always a role for physical input into systems. Speech recognition is good, but it's still got a long way to go. Text-based input is not going away any time soon.

        June 6, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
      • Rick Reinckens

        Actually, I have Dragon Naturally Speaking, which I use for entering first names and birth places when indexing 1940 Census records. I'm a lawyer and I found it absolutely useless for drafting because my speaking and writing styles are completely different. For anything I dictate I wind up completely rewording it.

        June 6, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
      • sameeker

        Sometimes it is nice to type. I type when I am in a noisy area or when I don't want those around me to hear my conversation.

        June 6, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
      • heathnav

        I agree. Also there is a level of rudeness that we haven't achieved until we get 10 people in an elevator all talking to their devices over each other. A mix between them and the blue tooth peeps who always look like they are talking to themselves could be apocalyptic.

        June 6, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • Homer

      Please speak your password after the beep

      June 6, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Reply
    • Pandagirl

      Robert – "As speech recognition gets better and better (Dragon is amazing), the need for an elaborate keyboard diminishes"

      I disagree!! I could not send many of the txts I do or search the internet in the same way if I had to speak everything. A lot of people use the web and txting to fill time when they cannot talk due to their environment. (Of course, this is ignoring those that insist on shouting on their phones in movie theaters and the like. 😉 ) Not to mention, some people with speech issues cannot use speech programs no matter how good they get.
      This would definitely get me to abandon my keyboard phone that I love. I can't stand the touch screen keyboard.

      June 6, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Reply
    • Jon

      yes and no. In the mainstreem market you are probably correct. but think about situations where voice recognition wont work or work very well. Mostly noisy situations like a constructioni site or on a runway. Anyone who uses a phone where noise interference is common will need touch as a fallback. So this will actually be the perfect compliment to voice.

      Think about when you are sick and cannot speak too. There are situations that require touch when voice is not an option. So there will probably always be a need for some form of touch backup and this could be the next step. If not then when you cant use your voice you cant use your device at all. That would suck.

      June 6, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Reply
    • basketcase

      Yes, because shouting a text message at my phone while in a crowded public area is soooo discrete. The whole point of a text message is to quickly, quietly, and discretely communicate. If you're going to be talking into the phone, you might as well call.

      June 6, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Reply
  58. EAPoe

    Amazing, but I can see one potential problem. How is the screen going to look after a few months/years of use? Over time, do those little buttons popping up and down start to show signs of wear or artifacts on the display? As much as I dislike touchscreens as a typing device, I'd dislike having perpetually visible evidence of little keyboard bubbles even more.

    June 6, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Reply
  59. Johnny Cage

    The only problem here is that the Patent system will take hold, and eventually no one will be able to use this tech because someone will own the rights and refuse to lease it out. Yeah patents!

    June 6, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Reply
    • NJ

      Really?..That is the most ridiculous comment I have read in a long time. Patents protect peoples intelectual property. If patents were not avaialble as a means of protection, no one would create anything, why bother if anyone has the right to steal it? Patents are huge motivator for inventors who do not have the means to mass produce product, most inventors look forward to licensing the patent, get paid, and start the creative juices up again.

      June 6, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Reply
    • Patents

      @Johnny Cage – You don't understand the patent system then. What is DOES mean is that in 20 years, the technology will be free to EVERYONE! Go patent system! As opposed to a "trade secret" system that hides the technology forever. How "open" is that formula for Coke after 100 years? Sure, there is a price to pay in that the cost will be higher initially. Someone has to pay for the research, so why not the early (rich) adopters. After a few years, society gets free technology. Take the long view of what is better for society over all, not just today.

      June 6, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Reply
  60. Cherry Cordial

    I think most of us can see the amazing benefit of brail enhanced screens. Just imagined a kindle-like device with brail. Putting textbooks into that medium would make life easier for people that can always use a break.

    June 6, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Reply
    • Common Sense

      I really hope the people developing this technology have the same brilliant idea. I really think that a brail touch screen would open the world up for those that not only need a break, but likely have a lot to offer.

      June 6, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Reply
  61. Cherry Cordial

    I think most of us can see the amazing benefit of brail enhanced screens. Just imagined a kindle-like device with brail. Putting textbooks into that medium would make easier for people that can always use a break.

    June 6, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Reply
    • DWD

      Most people who are blind can't even understand brail themselves.

      June 6, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Reply
  62. SB

    Now that is extremely cool.

    June 6, 2012 at 11:51 am | Reply
  63. Jim

    Does this open up the possibility of braille-capable touch screens?

    June 6, 2012 at 11:47 am | Reply
    • SB

      Seems likely, which would be fantastic.

      June 6, 2012 at 11:52 am | Reply
    • MOCaseA

      While in it's initial release the fine detail required for braile is probably inpossible, I don't see why it could be adapted in the coming month to do it. But then, the point of a touch screen is having video graphics capability, thus blindness defeating the purpose of a touchscreen.

      June 6, 2012 at 11:54 am | Reply
      • JShizzy12

        Thats not true. A touch screen would be just as good as a recyclable surface. Instead of filling up pages of brail, just recycle the small bumps on the same page. Not to mention all of the features of a cell phone, but in brail. Dummy.

        June 6, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • Robert

      Braille keypads have been around for many years. Many of them will plug directly into USB for mobile devices. They allow dynamic braille touch. You don't have to output braille to paper. The blind/low vision community is well aware of the benefits of a braille keypad. They are relatively expensive but i think it would be difficult for the keypad described in the article to replace the braille keypad. The sensitivity level has to be very high.

      June 6, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Reply
  64. CB

    "Looking at the iPhone and all the elegance of that user interface, I also realized that I like my BlackBerry with the buttons ... . As human beings, we really want to be able to feel things; we really want that tactility." I'm a human and I don't like the physical Blackberry key's, I can type much faster with a touchscreen than I can with small physical keys.

    June 6, 2012 at 11:44 am | Reply
    • MOCaseA

      He wasn't talking about duplicating those small keys, he was talking about duplicating the feel of real keys on a touch-screen.

      June 6, 2012 at 11:52 am | Reply

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