Could smartphones have keyboards that exist outside their touch screens in the near future?
It's possible, thanks to a student at University of London's Godsmiths College. Swiss-born Florian Kraeutli has created a virtual keyboard for iPhones using the gadget's built-in accelerometer. The phone measures the vibrations made by fingers tapping on a table it's resting on and types out messages as if it were a regular keyboard.
The unique system is called Vibrative and was tested on a jailbroken iPhone 4, according to the Telegraph.
"The Vibrative Virtual Keyboard aims to appease the frustration felt by smartphone users when faced with drafting lengthy emails or notes on a small onscreen keyboard," Kraeuti stated in a Godsmiths press release.
Check out the video below to watch the "keyboard" at work:
As seen in the clip above, Kraeutil first "trains" an iPhone with software to understand the placement of keys. Depending on the distance and strength of each tap, his device is able to determine which letter to display. The fascinating video also demonstrates how the paper keyboard is not necessary for Vibrative to operate.
So will we be typing on tables and composing long, wordy emails through this software soon? According to Kraeuti, not quite yet.
“The signals I’m collecting are very weak," he told the Telegraph. Kraeuti also notes his service is "more of a proof of concept" than anything else. Still, he believes if accelerometers were more sensitive, the accuracy of his product would increase. Currently, Vibrative types out the correct letters about 80 percent of the time.