An example of a TapSense typing app, in which users access alternate characters on a virtual keyboard app by typing with the tip of their finger (as opposed to the pad), and backspace by nail-tapping
Small touchscreen devices such smartphones certainly have their attractions, but they also have one drawback – there isn’t much room on their little screens for touch-sensitive features. This means that users will sometimes instead have to go into sub-menus, or make do with jabbing their fingers at tiny controls. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University’s Human-Computer Interaction Institute, however, are working on an alternative. Their prototype TapSense system can differentiate between screen taps from different parts of the finger, and will perform different tasks accordingly.