Turn any Surface into a Virtual iPhone Keyboard

While most people speculate and theorize about the future, some others make it obsolete by achieving today what seems to be improbable or even impossible, hence making the future a thing of the past. This time, the defendant is University of London’s student Florian Kraeutli, who developed a (wait for it !) Virtual keyboard for iPhone , using an accelerometer to teach each tapping made on a surface to the iPhone so the gadget can remember it. Sounds like a wacky but useless application at the first time, doesn’t it? Maybe it is. And maybe we’re wrong!

iphone 4 laser keyboard

I think I’ve seen this approach somewhere else

Looking back some time, there were virtual laser keyboards that you could use on any flat surface. The motion sensors detect a key being pressed on the virtual keyboard, and this movement is then transmitted to the connected device. It didn’t get that much of a hype as it was too expensive and didn’t also perform in the best conditions if you were traveling, as the movement could cause you to stroke a wrong key, even though it could be used virtually with any device like a mobile phone or a tablet. This new invention is somewhat different though, as it uses key stroke strength and vibration patterns to tell the device which key is being pressed.

Status of the application

Using it is rather simple: you put the iPhone on top of a paper sheet with a delimiting area, with all the keyboard keys below. The idea is to have it near the keys so when you tap them the phone will receive the vibrations and transform each into a character, then a word (that is presented through a dictionary on the phone) and then it is inserted. So far, the accuracy rate is in the 80% outskirts, which is encouraging on one hand but still not enough, as Florian says. Besides being a cool app, so far it’s only intended for the iPhone, but if released for other devices it may well be something to watch .

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