Keyboard app gives off good vibrations

BEN GRUBB
Last updated 05:00 14/11/2012
Fairfax Australia

Student at Goldsmiths, University of London creates a virtual keyboard for the iPhone which responds to tapping on a nearby surface area.

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A prototype app made for the iPhone 4 allows users to type on a keyboard made of paper using vibrations.

Created by Florian Kräutli, a London university student, the "Vibrative" app makes use of the iPhone's inbuilt accelerometer, reading vibrations as a finger taps a surface to work out which key is being pressed.

According to the Daily Mail, the software works out the approximate location of a strike on a paper keyboard by analysing the strength and frequency of tremors through the surface the iPhone is resting on.

Currently it is only compatible with "jailbroken" iPhones, but it could work on other phones too.

"Touch-screen devices, such as smartphones, lack a suitable method for text input which can compete with mechanical keyboards," Kräutli said in a statement on Goldsmith's website.

"The Vibrative Virtual Keyboard aims to appease the frustration felt by smartphone users when faced with drafting lengthy emails or notes on a small on-screen keyboard.

"The keyboard requires no additional hardware as it taps into an iPhone's built-in accelerometer, which is able to measure the vibrations caused by typing on any hard surface."

Although not 100 per cent accurate every time a letter is struck on a makeshift paper keyboard, the app makes use of auto correct and can also be trained to work better if a user devotes some time to giving it intelligence.

A video of the concept uploaded to video-sharing website Vimeo has been viewed 307,000 times.

It's not the first concept Kräutli has worked on - his Vimeo shows he has also worked on two other projects in the last year, one of which was a deaf-blind robot drummer and the other a "human antenna".

He developed the Vibrative app for his cognitive computing master's degree.

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- Fairfax Media

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