From an interface perspective, the analog-to-digital evolution I've had the hardest time adjusting to is touchscreens replacing buttons. I used to be so fast at banging out texts on my old Motorola, and the perfectly-calibrated click of each button provided tactile satisfaction. In contrast, I've been a daily iPhone user since 2007 and still make errors literally every time I type. It's maddening, but a trade-off I live with because there's so many other things I love about the phone.
If a company called Tactus Technology sees uptake, perhaps I'll be able to have my cake and eat it too. Tactus has developed a new touchscreen where buttons can physically morph up out of what seems like flat glass, then disappear when not needed. They manage the trick by incorporating tiny channels within the substrate, through which a liquid is pumped into button-shaped chambers, providing volume on demand.
The demonstration video doesn't provide as clear a view as we'd like, and the opening voiceover sounds like something James Lipton wrote, but it should give you the idea of what they're going for:
Tactus Technology Introduction from Tactus Technology Inc. on Vimeo.
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Also, blind people who use braille need a cheap way to feel output in braille (which is presented in six-dot cells). So, both tactile input and output is needed for them. Wouldn't it be neat if some advanced technology could provide inexpensive arrays of dots that could be used for both input and output? Sounds simple, but such technology can't even be imagined yet.
No body exept old dinosaurs will want tactile interface.
havent you seen minority report. Even though its a fictional movie, its a great indication of our future for electronics and communication.
The future is not tactile touchscreens. I'm 30 and I have no problem with touchscreens. I see 4 and 5 year olds using iPad's. They see zero value in physical buttons.
but good luck. lol
The qwerty keypad could be on one end of the device and the numerical keypad on the other. Just hold the phone "upside down" to text.
According to the white paper on the site, the position of the buttons is pre-configured at manufacture stage; obviously say, a numerical keypad and a qwerty keyboard will share some of the same screen area, so they will have to share the same buttons (for instance a large square button cannot cross over a small circular button). This means the 10 digit numerical keypad you would dial a number with would have to be within 10 of the smaller keys of the 26+ button qwerty interface that you would use to send a text.
Any other application that uses this tactus technology will have to design their interface around the position and size of these 26+ qwerty buttons.
Until there is a way to direct the flow of the fluid around the screen to allow differently shaped and sized buttons in the same space, I can't see a phone manufacturer picking this up (unless for an almost novelty value, and I imagine fluid control at that scale would make a handset fairly expensive), and that sort of control would mean lots of independently controlled valves, which would mean taking up helluva a lot of space.
Simpler interfaces though, and this could be wonderful