We all get fat fingers when typing on tablets
There’s nothing quite like touchscreen technology to make you feel like a total butterfingers. As you hone in on a letter, take aim, and keep punching the wrong damn key, you can’t help but wonder if your fingers are engorged, or if your device might be better operated by a tiny-handed child. Autocorrect tries to make up for your inevitable typos, but the result are often incorrect at best and embarrassing at worst. It’s enough to make you long for the clickety-clack sound of the soon-to-be old-fashioned tactile keyboards.
Tactus, a new tech startup, feels your pain. Their first consumer product, set to be released this summer, provides tablet users with an optional tactile keyboard that seems to spring into being from thin air. The product, Phorm, appears and functions much like a regular protective case for your device.
The paper-thin, clear, front panel looks like a regular screen protector and doesn’t change the optical display of your device, but it does something more: it creates a physical keyboard at the flick of a switch. The microfluidic panel channels liquid through nooks and crannies, protruding certain areas to create raised keys. The keys still use touch-responsive technology, but the ridges give the feel of a physical keyboard, and the keys give slightly when pressed, just like a regular keyboard. It’s simple to switch back to the touchscreen whenever you want.
Video demo of Phorm:
iPhone, iPad Air next on their agenda
Currently Phorm is only available for iPad, but Tactus is working on designs for iPhone and iPad air, as well as a prototype for Android that incorporates the microfluidic panel directly into the phone, without the need for the case.
At $149, you can get a Phorm case with optional tactile keyboard without spending too much more than you’d drop on a durable protective case for you iPad. Phorm will be released this summer, and customers who pre-order get a $50 discount, dropping the price to $99.