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Student creates invisible iPhone keyboard

Student at Goldsmiths, University of London creates a virtual keyboard for the iPhone which responds to tapping on a nearby surface area.

PT1M39S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-299cv 620 349

A prototype app made for the iPhone 4 allows users to type on a keyboard made of paper using vibrations.

Created by Florian Kräutli, a university student in London, the "Vibrative" app makes use of the iPhone's inbuilt accelerometer, reading vibrations as a finger taps a surface to work out which key is being pressed.

According to the Daily Mail, the software works out the approximate location of a strike on a paper keyboard by analysing the strength and frequency of tremors through the surface the iPhone is resting on.

The "Vibrative" app in action.

The Vibrative app in action. Photo: Goldsmiths

Currently it is only compatible with "jailbroken" iPhones, but it could work on other phones too.

"Touch-screen devices, such as smartphones, lack a suitable method for text input which can compete with mechanical keyboards," Kräutli said in a statement on Goldsmith's website.

"The Vibrative Virtual Keyboard aims to appease the frustration felt by smartphone users when faced with drafting lengthy emails or notes on a small on-screen keyboard.

"The keyboard requires no additional hardware as it taps into an iPhone's built-in accelerometer, which is able to measure the vibrations caused by typing on any hard surface."

Although not 100 per cent accurate every time a letter is struck on a makeshift paper keyboard, the app makes use of auto correct and can also be trained to work better if a user devotes some time to giving it intelligence.

A video of the concept uploaded to video-sharing website Vimeo has been viewed 307,000 times.

It's not the first concept Kräutli has worked on - his Vimeo shows he has also worked on two other projects in the last year, one of which was a deaf-blind robot drummer and the other a "human antenna".

He developed the Vibrative app for his cognitive computing master's degree.