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Have you ever wished there was a way to have some sort of physical buttons on a touchscreen only device without having to use extra accessories or add extra bulk? Well thanks to Tactus Technology, at SID 2012 they have unveiled a prototype tactile user interface for touchscreens devices. Buttons can rise up from the screen when you need them, and go away when you don’t. At SID it was demoed with an Android tablet, but if you view the video below you can also see it in action with the iPhone.

Technology

According to Nathan Ingraham at The Verge,

“The technology for this tactile layer panel is based on “microfluidics” — beneath the surface of a fairly ordinary-looking touchscreen are a number of channels that can be arranged in any pattern a manufacturer desires, and a small reservoir of fluid (a special type of oil that allows the channels to be invisible, for the most part). To form the shapes of the keys, a tiny amount of fluid is pumped through the channels, which raises a deformable membrane covering the surface of the touchscreen.”

Nate Saal, the VP of business development, mentioned a big benefit of a fluid-based system is the that a user can customize the tactile response such as changing the pressure and resistance. Something you can’t do with physical keyboards and buttons.”

Tactus keyboard on the iPad

The great thing about this technology is that it can be a benefit on a variety of devices despite the platform, including automotive devices, smartphones, tablets, GPS or even Medical devices. It is also said that it won’t add any extra thickness to a device, so the possibility of having this on, let’s say the iPhone 5 or the next Galaxy model, can happen.

The first products from Tactus said to be available by the middle of next year

(via The Verge)

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About The Author

Avatar of Jon Avalon

Jon is an avid computer and gadget specialist. Currently is a student at Tarrant County College while doing IT work for Letstalk.com. He also is a primary moderator and writer for djforums.com, and now GeekBeat.TV. Other than computers and gadgets, he has a strong passion for Audio & Video production. Put him in an editing bay or behind a camera and he will never leave. Follow him on Twitter @jonavalon.

5 Responses

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  2. Scott E

    This would be a great idea for RIM/Blackberry for them an there users who like the feel typing. This could save RIM/Blackberry update there product .

  3. Greg

    Everything about that video is cool apart from the gay voiceover.