Come and touch the future of keyboards

Tactile interaction is moving into a reactive and adaptive future. But does it really spell the end for buttons?

Software adapts

The BlackBerry Z10 learns where you hit keys and adapts its field of sensitivity if, for example, you keep hitting B when you're aiming at the spacebar. The SwiftKey app learns how you write from your Gmail, Facebook, Twitter and SMS typing and corrects errors automatically. If only the good old T9 predictive text could see its grandkids now.

Google restart

A recent patent from Google takes keyboard software upgrades to a new level. Its design uses five finger-points that can be flicked in multiple directions to select a specific letter, symbol or shortcut. While the idea of learning to type again might not appeal, the remedy will quickly follow with your new faster, more accurate tactile typing abilities.

Tactus touch

Tactus uses witchcraft (or technology, we're told) to make your touchscreen display bulge to create temporary buttons for more accurate typing. Enter a new dawn of bespoke controls like a D-Pad appearing when you open a game. Not that it can compete with the full-sized controls of mobile gaming platforms like the Nvidia Shield and Razor Edge Pro – but it's a step in the right direction for touchscreen typing.

Ultrabooked up

Even Intel is pulling away from keyboards. It plans to update the next generation of ultrabooks, which feature its Haswell chip, with touchscreens. So the future of computing looks like detachable tablets, judging from our CES hands-on time with the Intel North Cape. While there is still a physical keyboard, it’s becoming detached – literally.

AR typing

We’ve already seen projected keyboards like the Cube Laser but the newly announced meta AR glasses take it a step further. A keyboard is displayed on-screen while the camera detects your hands in the real world, picking up what you type. Imagine any surface as a discreet full-sized keyboard. Surely that’s worth publically looking like a deranged, obsessive pianist for?

One more thing

Apple has a patent for a depth-sensing laser which, in conjunction with a projector and your camera, could mean an iPhone 6 that can project a working keyboard on any surface. Way to get back to innovating, Apple.

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