Let’s face it: one of the best parts of remote controls is the physical buttons. It’s not called the clicker for nothing, and pounding that channel button as you go around the horn is way faster and more satisfying than tapping a flat piece of Gorilla Glass. The versatility of touchscreens can’t be denied, however, but what if you can have both?
Tactus’s new technology uses a fluid layer between the screen and the finger, sprouting buttons where appropriate like on a keyboard for texting. It works a lot like an e-ink display, only using power to change state, not maintain it, so it should have a negligible affect on device battery life. Right now, the buttons only exist like “pixels,” in set sizes and locations, but hypothetically they will get smaller and more shapeable with further development in the future.
We’ll see if developers and hardware manufacturers embrace the technology, but for now it certainly looks pretty cool. We’ll see if these fluid buttons can be as tactally satisfying as the real thing.