While onscreen keys might be the rage and pretty much the standard these days when it comes to smartphones and tablets, we’re sure that there is still a demand for physical keyboards out there which might explain keyboard cases and smartphones with slideout QWERTY keyboards and Blackberry devices. Unfortunately slideout keyboards do add a bit of bulk to the smartphone and the good news is that if you wanted to lose the bulk but keep a physical keyboard, then Tactus Technology might have something for you up their sleeves.
Using technology that relies on “microfluidics”, Tactus Technology demonstrated at SID Display Week 2012 a prototype Android tablet that while looking like your regular touchscreen device, will be able to “transform” its onscreen keyboard to a physical one. According to The Verge who were there for the demonstration, this is achieved by having channels underneath the device that can be arranged in any pattern that the manufacturer requires, and in this case it has been shaped in the form of a QWERTY keyboard. A special type of oil is then pumped through those channels which will ultimately form the shape of keys, or whatever the manufacturer decided to shape it in.
This would provide users with the slimness of a full touchscreen device while offering them “physical” and haptic feedback when typing out messages. However according to The Verge, there are several limitations to this technology and one of them being that due to its design, the keys will only appear in one orientation which has been set by the manufacturer. They have also noted that the pressing of a key did not provide much feedback. However we guess since this technology is in its alpha stages, there are some kinks that Tactus Technology will have to work out before rolling this technology out to the masses.
No word on when we will see this technology make its way into our mobile devices just yet, but what do you guys think? Is this a feature you wouldn’t mind having in your smartphones or tablets?