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Microsoft RearType: Microsoft Research bring “physical keys” to Tablets/Slates

Microsoft Research is working on a slate/tablet-related projects “RearType,” including a way to add physical keys to the backs of these kinds of mobile-computing devices. Researchers have taken two halves of a QWERTY keyboard and rotated the keys in a way that user’s thumbs remain on front of the surface and other keys are placed within reach of the thumbs. An on/off button for activating/deactivating the keys to avoid  accidental typing is a must, the researchers note.


RearType paper describes the project: “Our goal is a system that provides the tactile feedback and familiarity of a regular keyboard without cluttering the front of the display, ameliorates the occlusion problem inherent in direct on-screen touch and pen input, doesn’t use the valuable screen real-estate taken up by an on-screen keyboard, leverages users existing skills in touch-typing on a regular physical QWERTY keyboard, and allows for text entry in highly mobile usage scenarios.”

Reference: Research Paper


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