What is the one thing that we miss working on a device with touch screen displays? Well, for a lot of us, one of these things is typing on a physical keyboard. We may be very fast typers on a physical keyboard, but we will not be able to achieve the same speed on a virtual keyboard. Even though you may be a fast typer on a virtual keyboard compared to your peers, you will not be able to achieve the same speed you can achieve on a physical keyboard. And this is one of the reasons why some of the BlackBerry lovers still do not want to change their smart phones.
But very soon, we may have devices with a special kind of display panel which will pop up a physical keyboard when you need one, and will pop it back in when you do not want it. You can get the idea from the image above. A California based company called Tactus Technology is working on this dynamic keyboard.
The secret here is to use a microfluidics, the same technology used in inkjet printers. The panel in this technology will have tiny channels in it. And these channels will act as one of the key parts of the technology. When you want to pop out the keys, you increase the pressure in these channels. The surface just bulges. When you want the keys to be gone, you just reduce the pressure.
But the company is facing a few problems. The keys make an audible noise when you press it. And the keys are just a fixed single array. So there is no automatic adjustment of orientation. The company is working on these issues.
The keyboard is still in the prototype mode. So you can expect the final consumer version to be a lot more improved with no noise and probably, the capability to adjust the orientation automatically and dynamically.
And one feature you will probably love about this keyboard is that the pressure in the aforementioned channels is adjustable. This means that you can have the keys to feel like gel packs, or like hard plastic. This is for sure going to be fun.