It is fun to live in the future

So, somebody has invented a tactile touch screen interface where buttons rise out of the flat surface like the Lady of the Lake, and disappear again when you're done with them. I'm not sure whether it's reasonable for my mind to be as blown as it is by this. Coming to products near you sometime next year, supposedly. (Via Laura Kling)


  1. I’m sure the teledildonics people are already all over this.  Potentially literally.

  2. I hope that the slightest scratch doesn’t cause your screen’s microfluidic layer to gradually bleed out…

  3. Great news for the blind.

    And everybody else, really, but a touchscreen that can be used by the blind is a pretty big deal.

    1. Why would a blind person need a touch screen as opposed to a keyboard or a wacom or something?

      1. Why do you need a touch screen as opposed to a keyboard or a wacom or something?

        I assume you have no need for a touch-screen phone or an iPad or anything else, right, because you just bring around a keyboard to plug into it?

        If an iPhone has any advantages over an old 12-button cell phone, then why couldn’t a blind person also partake in those advantages if a tactile screen were available?

        1. Given that I don’t use a single computing device without a hard keyboard, with touchscreens either nonexistent or relegated to occasional-pointing-device duty, I’m not sure why I do need a touchscreen…

  4. Not sure if this will be as successful as one first think. This because physical buttons only react when pressed, not touched like these will. This means that you can drag your fingers around to find the edges, and only press when your within the edges (and notice when you are partially off). Depending on the programming of the OSK, you may well find yourself leaving a row of letters while searching for that one you wanted to press.

    1. RTFL

      “Users can feel, press down and interact with these physical buttons just like they would use keys on a keyboard. 


      1. Unless they have built in a special sensing system in this (maybe reacting to changes in fluid pressure) the sensing system is still capacitive and so will detect the presence of the finger, irrespective of it being there just to feel for the button location or being there to actually press the button.

        1. You beat me to it. Unless the buttons respond to being touched and not actually to being pressed, there’s gonna be confusion in your brain between, say, pressing the keyboard button and the letters appearing on screen. I REALLY want for this technology to be what it appears, but this could be an important limitation.

  5. This requires the outer layer of the screen to be soft, in order to bend as required to make the buttons… and thus also easily scratched.

  6. It’s very cool technology but what’s even cooler is that Henry Winkler made an appearance 53 seconds into the video.

  7. It kind of looks like the buttons can only be a specific shape and position.  Notice they’re not totally lines up with the on-screen buttons on the phone keypad screen and they never show the buttons changing shape or moving around.  So it’s neat but not as super scifi as it first seems.

    1. That was what I was thinking, too. I could be wrong in that interpretation though. It would be really neat if you could get little pop up things anywhere on the screen in lots of different shapes. I suppose that would be the next step if this took off, though. 

      1. The guy in the video specifically says the buttons can be any shape and size anywhere on the display. Maybe this is not possible yet and won’t be implemented in the first releases, but it definitely seems like that is the ultimate goal.

  8. Strange women lying in ponds handing out buttons is no basis for a system of user interfaces…

  9. Sometimes you don’t realize you need a thing until someone tells you about it.
    And sometimes you don’t realize you don’t need a thing until you have it.

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