Making the iPad keyboard relevant with the TouchFire

Typing on the iPad is not without its faults. An onscreen keyboard minus the tactical feedback of each keystroke has never been ideal, but is workable after a few days of trial and error.

Why bother with the hassles of Apple’s virtual keyboard when a hardware solution works so well? Options are sparse though, and costly. Why bother with a complicated, foldout nightmare when the TouchFire can ease your pains with its hassle-free, lightweight solution.

The design is simplicity itself. TouchFire slips over the iPad (any version), magnetically connects itself to the sides of the device and claims to deliver a touch-type experience as flawless as you could imagine it to be.

KickStarter, an all-you-can-eat funding website hosted the fiscal development of the TouchFire. With an initial goal of US$10 000, the TouchFire quickly reached this target, almost tripling it at US$34 802.

Steven Isaac, the creator of the TouchFire knows that tablet input (typing, handwriting and so on) has always been an aggressive challenge for hardware designers. Isaac “became obsessed” with finding a means of making iPad typing easier and more intuitive. Isaac, along with his partner Brad Melmon went on to design the initial prototype of the TouchFire in 2010.

Designing a lightweight keyboard proved to be a hefty challenge for Isaac and Melmon. Natural typing relies on the user being able to rest their fingers in order to type naturally. To emulate the feel of a keyboard, micro-structures were inserted inside each key. This produces “proper force resistance” regardless of how you approach the keyboard.

With funding complete, the TouchFire will now begin its first production run and Isaac is searching for a manufacturing partner. For those who assisted the project on KickStarter, US$45 secured them with a TouchFire standard pack. This included the keyboard, a storage case and the cover clips. With technology like this just around the corner, the iPad’s keyboard can now boast both looks and functionality.



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