Before iPhone came out with its first on screen QWERTY keyboard (which spawned a long line of imitators) the most common argument for people avoiding touchscreen smartphones was the absence of a physical keyboard. This is perhaps the only reason why Blackberry still adheres to its trademark design. However, this argument may well be turned into a saying of the days of yore, all thanks to a new technology.
A company going by the name of Tactus (yes! Quite a sci fi name) has come up with new piece of tech that creates physical buttons on the touchscreen as and when required. When not typing on the screen the physical buttons recede back into the screen surface as if they never existed. Tactus first unveiled this screen addon at a demon in the Society for Information Display. The layer was added to an Android tablet and the audience was left amazed. Tactus claims that it is the world’s only tactile surface that is able to create dynamic physical keys that users can feel while entering text.
The invention has been named the “Tactile Layer”. It does not add any momentous breadth to the screen surface nor does it require any considerable power. However, it did change the way the screen looked (sort of a mash up between matte and gloss). Tactus also claims that the layer can have a wide variety of applications—in the smallest smartphone or in the largest of touch screen TVs. The Tactile Layer already has a huge potential market in the smartphone industry, but Tactus hopes to add their technology to automobile displays, ebook readers, industrial machinery controls, medical devices and personal navigation equipment. The Tactile Layer looks right out of a sci fi book, but hold your breath, it hits markets in 2013.