As you know, Apple recently unveiled its new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar touch display. What you may not know, is that Microsoft was at one point working on a Touch Bar-esque keyboard feature of its own.
The Verge points to a website for Microsoft’s applied sciences group, which highlights concepts revolving around keyboard innovation. The group rounded out the initiative in 2009 with an “Adaptive Keyboard.”
More recently, the research team investigated how touch experiences might be effectively integrated with keyboard input. This prototype has a large, touch-sensitive display strip at the top with the display continuing underneath the keys. In addition, a software infrastructure was developed to quickly enable students participating in the 2010 Student Innovation Contest at the ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology to create their own on-device experiences.
And here’s a clip showing the concept in action:
Ultimately, Microsoft ended up going with full touchscreen laptops. That’s a much different strategy than Apple, who said it looked into touchscreen laptops and didn’t think they made for a good experience.