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Art Lebedev explores touchscreen KB concept

updated 01:40 pm EST, Fri December 28, 2007

Optimus Tactus Concept

Art Lebedev Studio today prototyped a keyboard design that could stand in as a completely flexible display. The Optimus Tactus would improve on the yet to be shipped Maximus keyboard with touch input; instead of an OLED screen built into a bank of traditional keys, the Tactus would use one giant touchscreen: the design would not only permit keys to change in size and function but would also allow features that have previously been impossible on keyboards, such as a video playback overlay.

The Tactus is still considered a concept and may not translate as-is to any potential products, but shares a similar layout to the Maximus and may serve as the blueprint for the studio's long-term development of touchscreen-based input devices.

by MacNN Staff



  1. eldarkus

    Joined: Dec 1969



    this is cool for those who hunt and peck typing, but i'll bet real typists will scoff at this. They will have no physical feedback on where their fingers are or what keys they are hitting.

  1. ViktorCode

    Joined: Dec 1969


    just a concept

    Lebedev studio won't be able to pull this one out IMO. I remember Mr. Lebedev was an opponent of touchscreen input in the beginning of 2007, when iPhone was introduced. Now even if studio designers changed their mind this is not enough. With lack of tactical feedback the only way to make this kind of keyboard effective is to employ a correction algorithm similar to that one in iPhone. And this is just one of many potential problems that the developer of touch sensitive keyboard will face. For now Lebedev Studio was able to release just 3-button usb controller, and even for it they had to fix major bugs in second revision of the device.

    They are lacking the experience to make a design concept into the mass market product.

  1. MiMiC

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Very Nice

    Everyone talks about tomorrows tech not being usable, but tomorrows kids will be using touch EVERYTHING. It will be the buzz word of 2008 and for a few years to come.

  1. frisby

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Slap my money down...

    on an AppleTV...if the rentals are HD.

    Here's hoping.

    Netflix Instant Watch needs to work on a Mac. I love my netflix, but I also love Instant Watch.

  1. Tanker10a

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Give it to Apple

    I do not understand the problem with touch keys/Touchscreen with no tactile feedback. This is awesome. Consumers are already using appliances with Touchscreen. Has anyone checked out LG, Samsung's Appliances? Moreover, I am in agreement with one of the above threads about the iPhone Touchscreen. What's the big deal about the transition to Touchscreen? Look at the amount of overhead in hardware that is removed? Additionally, look at the ease of use to reprogram keys via a "checkbox" from a software interface? Has anyone learned anything yet from those skeptics about the iPhone's KB/TouchScreen? So why reinvent the wheel?! Give it to Apple! They'll make it work! Assuming they don't have anyting in the works ;-))

  1. Constable Odo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    People always seem...

    to be resistant to change. They dislike new ideas without even trying it. Do you know how long it took for people to grasp the idea of automobiles and airplanes. For instance, it's impossible to go faster than X miles-per-hour because it'll take your breath away.

    I prefer standard keyboards because I've never typed using anything else. But I'm certain if I'm given enough time and practice and motivated enough I could learn to type well on anything. Sure, I'd prefer even a little feedback, but if losing the keyboard and making the device lighter and smaller by using a virtual keyboard, I'll take the trade-off. At least I'll be willing to give it a fair trial before condemning it.

    I'd love to hear what those scribes that painstakingly produced books hundreds of years ago say if I were to hand them a keyboard. No way, books are meant to be penned by handwritten script.

  1. Loren

    Joined: Dec 1969


    definitely need feedback

    Maybe if the base contained spring-loaded tiles beneath the OLED membrane which would have some resistance-- they wouldn't be electronically functional so one tile could service a whole cluster of keys and work for querty, dvorak, et all -- then this could be a winner. Everything else about it is s** on a stick, IMHO. But I need that movement feedback, and maybe a little aural clack.

  1. BelugaShark

    Joined: Dec 1969


    RE: definitely need feed

    The Tactus is not an OLED keyboard, and you couldn't place any spring-loaded tiles beneath an LCD nor would it make any sense for a keyboard that is totally customizable, down to the key size.

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