Touchscreens are improving all the time. But that’s just another way of saying they’re not perfect yet. Somehow, there’s still nothing quite like solid, three-dimensional buttons under your fingers.
Thankfully, Tactus Technology has found a way to make your touchscreen buttons more touchable.
The company has designed a unique case for mobile devices that you can turn on to create physical keyboard ‘bubbles’ over your touchscreen keypad when you type. So you get that reassuring feeling of pressing something solid, every time.
The case is called Phorm. It has three pieces: a back cover that wraps round your device, a clear middle layer which features microfluidic technology and a front bezel. It’s the middle layer that creates the bubbles. Rest your hand gently on the screen and the buttons pop up under your finger, making it much easier to hit the key you want. In fact, according to Tactus Technology, when you need to perform rapid tasks like typing, the sense of touch is about five times faster than vision. That sounds about right to us.
And it’s not just a luxury for those who hate touchscreens. The Tactus keyboard could have serious implications for the use of Braille on tablets and phones. Imagine, for example, being able to summon an instant Braille keyboard whenever you need it – potentially life-changing. The technology isn’t here yet, but Tactus has already announced that it’s exploring how to integrate Braille into the case with the aim of targeting the visually-impaired market.
Tactus has been working on the touchscreen technology since 2010 and now feels that it’s ready for the consumer market (although it’s still a prototype). You can even order your case today at an introductory price of $99 and a regular price of $149, with shipping starting this summer. Right now, the case is only available for the iPad mini, but there are plans to roll it out to the iPhone 6 plus in August and Android devices in 2016.