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iPhone mod adds haptic feedback when typing

updated 11:10 am EST, Thu February 28, 2008

iPhone haptic keyboard mod

In an effort to make typing on the iPhone more familiar, the University of Glasgow has unveiled a hack that provides vibration feedback when a virtual key is pressed, simulating the effect of typing on a real keyboard. The patch enables what the University calls haptic feedback, which researchers say can help improve typing speeds, while simultaneously reducing errors. The hack is available from the University's Google Code page, requiring a jailbroken 1.1.3 iPhone.

The current modification uses a 70-millisecond, 170Hz pulse with the built-in vibration motor to simulate pressing the key, while a 50-millisecond, 100Hz pulse imitates the key raising when the finger leaves the touch surface. The researchers also have implemented an unspecified event that occurs when a user's finger crosses over two keys, to help with accuracy.

by MacNN Staff



  1. danviento

    Joined: Dec 1969



    You know the term "haptic" came from the researchers, and not MacNN "writers."

    In any event, this sounds useful, but how do you wean yourself off using the vibrations? After I got accuracy down, I know I'd want to conserve battery life by eliminating vibrations, but there'd be that sense of wrongness without the same feel to typing.

  1. Monstermind

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Go Scotland

    Tha's feckin' braw!

  1. lockhartt

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Better question would be "what is the effect of this implementation on battery life?"

    I'm not optimistic that it's negligible (not that anyone is saying that this is the case), but hard to say how bad it is without facts.

  1. Galen Wood

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Of course the researchers came up with it, which is why I wrote "The patch enables what the University calls haptic feedback...". I thought that was pretty clear.

  1. phayd

    Joined: Dec 1969



    The problem is that it is not "what the University calls haptic feedback"

    It _is_ haptic feedback. HCI programs all over the world use the term for anything that gives physical feedback from a computer.

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