Touch-typing works well on a physical keyboard. One can feel the keys and their location and has based on this a clear understanding on where all other keys are located without looking at them. Virtual keyboards do not allow touch-typing as firstly placing 10 fingers on the screen would activate keys accidentally and secondly one cannot feel the keys. Hence does not know where other keys located without look at them. For making touch-typing work on touch screens and surfaces the input system has to adapt to the touch screen conditions.Researchers from University of Technology,Sydney have come  up with a new idea through which typing on touch screens becomes much easier.They call it ‘LIQUIDKEYBOARD’.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

The LiquidKeyboard™ splits the QWERTY keyboard in key groups and allocates these to individual fingers. Each group has a ‘home key’ on which the finger is resting when touch-typing, e.g. the ‘H’ for the right index finger. When a finger on a home key is moved the key group follows the sensed finger position and the keys are rotated based on the wrist position for conveniently placed keys. The LiquidKeyboard™ enables users to know exactly where keys are positioned on the keyboard as these keys are always at the same position relatively to the current finger position on the screen. Therefore one does not have to look at the keyboard in order know where keys are located.

When the user’s first four fingers touch the surface, an entire keyboard is constructed in one fluid motion. The system senses finger positions and their pressure by calculating the surface area of a finger on the screen. The positions of the surrounding keys are fixed in relation to each finger, so users can find and touch the keys without tactile feedback. The user-controlled positioning of keys allows the keyboard to adapt automatically to hand size and finger position.

Early versions of the LiquidKeyboard system were developed using HTML and JavaScript, and are said to have been inspired by a virtual keyboard from Microsoft that used a split keyboard approach. Creators Christian Sax and Hannes Lau went on to develop the system for Apple’s iOS operating system for the iPad, but say that the software could be adapted for use on other operating platforms. They chose the iPad believing it to have superior multi-touch capability, and because the cost of the hardware met their strict budget criteria.

Source:liquidkeyboard.org,gizmag.com

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