Up until now, touch screen keyboards have been problematic in that the user has had to look at the screen to navigate the location of the keys. That could all be set to change with news that Microsoft has filed a most interesting patent for a touch screen keyboard that uses multi touch capabilities to incorporate the user’s own hands as a physical point of reference.
The patent describes a system that detects the base of a typist’s hands and then aligns an on screen keyboard in two halves underneath so that the user’s fingers automatically rest on the “home keys”. By using multi touch the keyboard appears wherever the user’s palms appear, and since the keys on a keyboard are always in relatively the same position to a user’s fingers, the hand serves as the physical point of reference. This could largely alleviate frustrations previously encountered by touch typists using touch screen keyboards.
Other features described in the patent include a gesture to dismiss the keyboard and the potential to scale the keyboard to size by detecting the distance between the base of a user’s hand and the tips of their fingers. Speculation is rife as to when Microsoft may be planning to implement the technology, with many expecting it to be incorporated into the Courier tablet PC, which is currently still at the prototype stage.