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Apple Patents Keyboard That Can Sense Fingers

Question asked by crazycoder in #Gadgets on May 14, 2011
crazycoder · May 14, 2011
The keyboards we use are already great, but what will happen if you get a keyboard that can sense your fingers? It’ll know what you want to type and will do the needful for you. Well typing could be easy. This could be of great use for the people with slow typing speeds. Won’t it feel great to move our fingers over the keyboard (in air) and the whole typing will be done accordingly.

Apple’s idea of this kind of keyboard was published on May 13, 2011 in U.S Patent and Trademark Office. The filing was done in November 2009, entitled “Input Devices and Methods of Operation”. Apple was always interest in creating a keyboard that could provide the same typing experience users prefer, and this was the idea they came up with. They are creating a keyboard that contains proximity sensors and air vents on each key which could provide tactile feedback to the users. Nowadays, the physical keyboards are getting smaller, thinner and more compact. While typing, a smaller keyboard may limit the tactile feedback a user feels on their fingertips and while pressing a key on a thinner keyboard they don’t travel far enough to satisfy the user.

This problem can be solved by Apple’s new keyboard, which was invented by Aleksandar Pance, Michael Sinclair, and Brett Bilbrey. They proposed two solutions for this problem. The first system will provide tactile feedback to the user, as soon as the proximity sensor will detect the presence of your finger. The feedback will be given by the “flow of air from the input device”, through the openings in the surface of an individual key. This air pressure could provide tactile feedback to the user’s fingertips even before it makes any physical contact with the key’s surface.


In the second system the key will be “pulled away from the user” pneumatically. The keyboard will have a pneumatic system that will move the key in a direction of actuation, as detected by the proximity sensors. The inventors say that the two systems can be used in combination to make typing simpler and to satisfy the user. The air pressure will resist the movement of fingers and also the key will be pulled away from the user to feel one more satisfied. This can also increase the typing speed, as no time will be wasted in pressing a key.

Some people might not find this keyboard better than the one’s they are using. They feel best only when their fingers touch something and they can see the work done on the screen, but if the air pressure can be high enough to provide this satisfaction then the device is going to rule the computer world.

Source: Digital Trends Posted in: #Gadgets

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