By Micah Yairi, Ph.D, Tactus Technology’s CTO and Co-Founder
Business Insider’s Steven Tweedie wrote an article highlighting some of Apple’s approaches to creating virtual keyboards that feel more like real, physical keyboards ( http://www.businessinsider.com/apple-virtual-keyboard-mac-2015-3 ). The approach Apple is taking is a form of haptics that is based on creating a series of synchronized vibrations. The vibrations can be precisely timed so that they combine in a particular location on the screen (or keyboard or touchpad) where your finger is touching. The combined vibrations stimulate the mechanoreceptors in your fingertip and attempt to duplicate the “click” feeling of pressing a key.
It is exciting to see haptics being considered front-and-center by one of the premier manufacturers of mobile and computing devices — and one that has historically placed the user experience at the heart of their product design. Changing touch technology to one that is dynamic, living and multi-sensory is a step towards the next generation of hardware.
Phorm by Tactus is already successfully transforming the future of mobile interfaces. Our patented morphing surface technology creates real, physical buttons which rise up on demand to help you type, and that recede when not needed, leaving a perfectly smooth, clear touchscreen (www.getphorm.com). Combining Tactus’ morphing surfaces with haptics – such as that being investigated by Apple – can enable an even more immersive and full-featured touch experience.