We all know there are apps for everything. But now there is an app that can create something out of nothing. Imagine typing up the next great novel by simply tapping your fingers on a desk. Florian Kräutli is an industrial designer living in the Netherlands who has designed an app that can allow you to do just that. His invention can literally turn any surface into a keyboard for your iphone. For his master’s degree in cognitive computing from the University of London, he created the Vibrative Virtual Keyboard, an invention that is less like transmitting Morse code and more like playing air guitar. Unlike similar designs that allow users to type onto a laser-projected keyboard, his app requires no additional hardware other than your nearest flat surface. The app works by taking readings from the iphone’s internal accelerometer which measures vibrations near the iphone. The user spends some time teaching the iphone what certain taps mean, and the software figures out the rest. The app is in its early stages and the readings from the iphone’s internal accelerometer are not always spot on. However, Kräutli claims that “if you made the accelerometer more sensitive you could improve the accuracy quite easily” (The Telegraph). In the meantime, the app relies on a spell checker to get words right. Here is the app in action.
How do you get your keyboard without a keyboard installed on your iphone? The app is still in its proof of concept phase and has yet to be commercialized. So for now, you’ll need some hardware or at least a pen and paper to get started on that novel!
Image from Goldsmiths, University of London