In the world of smartphones there have been quite a few innovations in the area of displays, at SID Display Week some extremely innovative technologies were shown to the public. One of those technologies happened to be Tactus.
Tactus to put it simply is a technology that enables regular touch screen phones and tablets into physical keyboarded devices. Tactus takes what most people believe to be the worst part of touch screen candybar form factor phones, the lack of a physical keyboard, and creates a solution around it. The pure lack of having any tactile feedback on a screen generally results in a higher error rate and less desire to type on screen. Because of this, we have seen an increased focus on voice technologies and such, but those too are not without their faults and generally have relatively high error rates as well.
In the end, you simply cannot beat a physical keyboard. So, Tactus Technologies brings the physical keyboard to your touch screen phone through an innovative process. The Tactus technology is achieved by adding another layer to the display of the device and that layer is then designed to be capable of raising the profile of the display in certain designated areas. After checking out this technology, we had a few questions and Craig Ciesla, CEO of Tactus Technology, was more than happy to answer them for us.
Craig states that Tactus technology has many applicable markets and that their technology is usable anywhere a touch screen is used that would benefit from integrating Tactus. That said, he stated that they have seen tremendous pull from mobile computing (smartphones, tablets, etc.) as well as the automotive market amongst others. We see the automotive application being an extremely useful one when you think about cars like the Tesla that have large touch screens. The only problem in the Tesla scenario is that currently Tactus only supports displays up to 14 inches.
In addition to supporting displays up to 14 inches Tactus is able to support virtually as many 'Tixels' (touchable pixels) as you can fit on a display. The one thing that must be considered is that the smallest size that they can make a 'Tixel' is 1mm^2. By having the ability to make these buttons as big or as small as they'd like, you could in theory have different buttons for different applications while still using the same touch screen display. This technology allows you to change your keys to whatever size you like or to increase or decrease the size of the buttons/keys.
Since Tactus' technology does not require integration inside of the display itself, but rather atop the display as part of another layer, Tactus is able to be installed on virtually any display. They do this by replacing the display's window/cover lens and get installed in place of it. Furthermore, by doing this you would think that there is a chance that Tactus' buttons/keys would cause a distortion of the display but in fact, it does the exact opposite and magnifies the on-screen key because the technology acts as a small lens.
Taking all of these different factors into account we can say that we are excited to see this technology in action without a doubt in our minds. We really hope that some display manufacturers license their technology so that we can help further solve the age old problem of touch screen keyboards sucking.
Below is a video that Tactus Technology has created of their technology for your viewing pleasure.
Tactus Technology Introduction from Tactus Technology Inc. on Vimeo.
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