Tactus Technology is a company trying to solve the keyboard/touchscreen interface problem on tablets and smartphones. Their solution? Turn the screen into buttons.
Tactus provides a new dimension to touchscreens by enabling real, physical buttons that rise up from the surface on demand, and then recede back into the screen, leaving a perfectly flat, transparent surface when gone.
I was pretty impressed with their product video. The buttons pop up almost immediately and are fairly quick to go back down as well. They mention that the screen goes back to “normal” once the buttons recede, but I do wonder if you can still feel where the buttons would be. That sort of thing would be distracting. Curious as to how it all worked, I perused their site and found a white paper (PDF) that they wrote up on the tech. Apparently, there are tiny holes beneath the screen and a liquid is used to force it up into a bubble that someone can then press. That’s pretty cool. I’m still not quite sold on it yet, I want to get my hands on one and feel it for myself first, but I am delighted on the idea of changing technology like this.