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Input Devices Technology

Touchpad Meets Morphing Keyboard 85

Several sources are reporting on the new offering from the British firm Pelikon which combines a touchpad and morphing keyboard into a unique little device. "This isn't just any old morphing keyboard, you see. Not only can the board be dynamically reconfigured by backlighting different portions of the keys — the entire surface of the thing doubles as a touchpad, which you can probably imagine has virtually limitless utility in a mobile device where the space for a true touchpad simply doesn't exist. Pelikon already works with Toshiba on its domestic-market Biblio, but we'd love to see it hit devices around the world — in fact, we wouldn't really mind if they just released this prototype they're showing as a Bluetooth accessory. diNovo Mini competitor, anyone?"
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Touchpad Meets Morphing Keyboard

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  • Neat! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cromar ( 1103585 ) on Monday March 01, 2010 @12:19PM (#31317444)
    One step closer to the death of our current, inefficient control devices? I like the idea of devices that morph to fit the domain of the program they are controlling. On the other hand, this isn't that much different from a touch-screen emulating a keyboard... probably more sturdy, though.

    Hopefully, one more (prototypical) nail in the coffin of windowing systems and carpal tunnel inducing interface devices.
  • Fingerworks (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MacFury ( 659201 ) <me&johnkramlich,com> on Monday March 01, 2010 @12:23PM (#31317512) Homepage
    This looks like an evolution of what FingerWorks was building before being purchased by Apple. Fingerworks multitouch technology led to the iPhone, macbook multitouch trackpad, etc. Their Frogpad product: []
  • Re:Interesting (Score:5, Interesting)

    by viking099 ( 70446 ) on Monday March 01, 2010 @12:27PM (#31317584)

    HTPC input device would be something I would like.

    I don't like trackballs, and keeping a big keyboard floating around the living room sucks.

    It's not like you need a keyboard for 90% of the time you're using an HTPC, but that 10% is usually sort of critical, and using an on screen keyboard is barely above an exercise in futility.

    So if it goes up for ~$80, I might buy it just to get rid of the keyboard and mouse setup I have in my living room.

  • Re:Interesting (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cromar ( 1103585 ) on Monday March 01, 2010 @12:31PM (#31317642)
    A wireless version would make an awesome home theater control device - especially if it could be programmed to morph to match the service you're using at the moment. It would be neat to have it change automatically from a video remote, to a game pad, to audio control w/ EQ, to keyboard for email and social media, to slider for lighting control, etc.
  • Re:Neat! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 01, 2010 @12:34PM (#31317694)

    I like the idea of devices that morph to fit the domain of the program they are controlling.

    I detect one thing that will completely spoil any good that may become of this. Two words: average users. If you can't get them to use malware scanners and if you can't convince them that opening binaries found in emails sent by random strangers is a terrible idea, best of luck explaining how to morph a keyboard to fit the program domain.

    Idiots have killed many more worthy ideas. Here, "idiot" means someone who is literate yet refuses to RTFM.

  • Re:Interesting (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ircmaxell ( 1117387 ) on Monday March 01, 2010 @12:53PM (#31317970) Homepage
    I think it would be even more useful if it offered an LCD (OLED perhaps?) screen instead of "just" a keyboard (Although it would negatively effect battery life). Then imagine the possibilities. You could configure it as a keyboard, as a "mouse", or even as a dedicated input panel (think something analogous to a Point Of Sale keyboard, where you can use icons instead of just "keys"). I would personally be able to find uses on a desktop, laptop and a cellphone (Although I don't think I'd carry around a second input device for my cellphone)...

    So if you're in presentation mode (Paired with PowerPoint or OpenOffice Impress), it could switch to having 5 or 6 buttons (Prev Slide, Next Slide, Exit, etc) instead of --just-- using mouse gestures or keyboard interaction.

Suburbia is where the developer bulldozes out the trees, then names the streets after them. -- Bill Vaughn