Typing on mobile devices such as tablets and phones is notoriously dodgy. It can be done, but it’s awkward, inefficient and frustrating. Sort of like rooting for the Chicago Cubs.
A startup in Austin, Texas, may have found a way to solve the mobile keyboard problem: Get rid of the keyboard entirely.
The AirType project — currently in early prototype phase — is a “keyboardless keyboard” accessory that allows you to type on any surface, or none at all. Unlike projection keyboards, which use a virtual keyboard image displayed on a flat surface, the AirType has no visual component whatsoever.
Instead, the Air Type system uses a pair of cuff-like sensor units that go around your hands and over the knuckles. The units track your finger moments to detect which keys you’re striking, or would strike, on your mobile tablet keyboard — which isn’t there, mind you.
It’s all rather Zen, really, and the AirType unit would seem to require total touch-typing proficiency. According to the project page, the system has some adaptive technology built in so that it will learn to adjust to your habits, and not the other way around. It appears to be similar to the way you “teach” voice recognition software to recognize your speech patterns.
Photos suggest that the AirType cuffs are designed to be small and mobile, clipping onto your tablet like a pair of friendly barnacles. The accessories would also come with an app that incorporates dynamic text correction and prediction.
That’s about it as far as public details go, for now, but you can check out the concept video below.