Say what you will about BlackBerry, but there was always one saving grace for their devices – a tactile keyboard. This one simple feature of user experience kept many in the enterprise tapping away gleefully on these “bricks with clicks” despite fallacies from apps to…well…everything else…when compared to iOS and Android devices.
Now, Tactus technology has taken all of the teeth out of BlackBerry’s bite with the invention of tactile screens for all of today’s smartphones and tablets.
Here’s how it works: Tactus adds a small polymer layer to the Gorilla Glass on tablets and smartphones that when activated by the user adds fluid stretching the surface with micro-fluids above the device’s A to Zs. While keyboards will be the first and prevalent use for this technology, Tactus can also elevate the gaming experience by making joysticks slip free as well as A & B buttons for the more serious mobile gamers.
Oh the Places Tactile Screens Can Go
Tactus unveiled their uplifting mobile experience at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in beta form. CES 2014 shows the technology ready for wide market adoption.
Let’s take a minute though to speculate what Tactus might be showcasing at CES 2015 and beyond, especially when it comes to transcending beyond the basics of business or simple consumer wants.
Healthcare: Fiberlink Communications, an IBM Company, saw a record number of hospitals and other healthcare organizations sign-up for their mobile device management platform MaaS360 in 2013. Doctors and nurses are foregoing hospital provided computers on wheels (COWs) and traditional laptops for the easier to use (and carry) smartphones and tablets. This was especially prevalent in nursing staff where Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) isn’t a luxury, but a necessity considering many are transitory between facilities.
Currently, many of these devices are simply being used to access medical records. However, as I recently learned at my dermatologist, the App market is exploding for medical devices. My mole mapping has transformed from being written down in sentences to being visually displayed on a cartoon of my body. One tap at a time the doctor was able to place my most suspect moles on a virtual figure of my frame. With Tactus technology the weight and density of each malicious spot could be displayed in startling 3-D accuracy.
Move forward a few more years and we could see raised buttons on screens become the console for performing robotic assisted surgeries that today require a Pac-Man size joystick. While the patients might find it disconcerting, doctors will appreciate the world of 2020 when they can do emergency surgeries remotely from their tablet.
Financial & Legal: How many email signatures have you seen apologizing for typos because a message was sent from a mobile device? For the financial and legal markets, there are no excuses for the famed fat fingering of information. In the beginning of the smartphone craze, email security was the main reason these industries shunned the hysteria for touch screens. Once email encryption became the norm though, there was still a leeriness to move away from BlackBerry because the touch keyboard ensured accuracy. When you are in an industry where the terminology isn’t standard in spell check, one must rely on themselves to write the right words. With Tactus technology, tort won’t be as easily changed to tortoise.
Retail: I’m stretching here a bit (pardon the pun), but I truly envision a tomorrow where the feel of these new tactile buttons will be able to be manipulated to finally bring bricks and clicks together in the virtual world. How many times have you loved an outfit online, only to have it arrive on your doorstep with a fabric that’s scratchier than Laura Ingalls Wilder wear. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful experience to actually feel the fabric before you add it to your cart?
Obviously we could extrapolate this technology to every industry if we just imagine: In education where phones could become a “Please Touch” museum on the go, or in manufacturing where again precision level joysticks could move human intervention on the assembly line to a lounge chair affair. Tactus is the advent technology we’ve wanted since the television entered our living rooms. For today the technology is a simple keyboard, with a little imagination though, Tactus has the potential to finally obliterate the virtual and physical divide.