The iPad’s onscreen keyboard feels better suited to shorter bouts of typing, so as an alternative to carrying around a keyboard when using it as a laptop replacement, Steve Isaac and Brad Melmon created a flexible alternative that makes its virtual keys touch-typist friendly.
Contrary to its name, the TouchFire keyboard doesn’t actually ignite when used. Instead, it’s a clear, lightweight overlay made of flexible silicone rubber that sits atop the iPad’s onscreen keyboard when it’s in landscape mode. It gives users a similar tactile experience as typing on a physical keyboard, while still letting them perform swipe gestures on the display.
Because it actually touches the display at all times, the TouchFire doesn’t have any capacitive properties like the tip of a stylus would. Instead, the underside of the keys feature a series of micro-structures that easily collapse when pressed. Since the silicone material used is thinner than a credit card, while typing your fingers come close enough to the display to be detected by the keyboard. The use of flexible silicone rubber also allows the TouchFire to be stored under the iPad 2’s Smart Cover, or stashed inside when it’s folded and used as a stand. Unfortunately, at the moment it’s still a Kickstarter project working towards its funding goal of $US10,000. But it’s halfway there, and a donation of $US45 guarantees you one, if and when it goes into production. [TouchFire via Fancy]