Those with good memories, or at least those that can remember back to January of 2010, will probably remember the intense debate that raged around the original iPad. While many decided that it was purely a content consumption device, others argued that the on-screen keyboard’s generous size would make it a device that could be used to create content, too.
Fast forward to today, halfway through the iPad 2’s life cycle, and we’re not really any wiser as to how useful the iPad is as a content creation device. Most of our misgivings come down to that software keyboard and its inability to offer any long term writing usefulness.
Part of the problem is the complete lack of haptic feedback, and as if by magic, one Kickstarter project is aiming to put that problem right.
The TouchFire, created as part of a Kickstarter project by Steve Isaac and Brad Melmon, aims to offer iPad typers physical feedback when typing. The accessory achieves this by overlaying a soft silicone keyboard right over the iPad’s software version. This means that typers will receive physical feedback when pressing the virtual keys, and as anyone who types a lot will attest, that can make the world of difference.
An added bonus is the fact the TouchFire can be attached to the iPad 2’s Smart Cover for convenience, too.
TouchFire was one of the most challenging design problems Brad has ever tackled. On one hand, TouchFire had to be thin, light and flexible enough to live in the iPad’s cover. On the other hand, TouchFire’s keys had to provide the proper force resistance to allow people to rest their fingers and type naturally. Brad figured out how to do this by inserting a series of micro-structures inside each key. You can’t feel these micro-structures, but they contain carefully designed walls that provide the proper force resistance no matter how your finger strikes a key.
The Kickstarter project has already received over $80,000 in pledges, eight-times the $10,000 originally hoped for. A sure sign that people are digging the TouchFire? Probably.
If you want to get your own TouchFire, you can order one now for $45 to get the standard pack, with other options becoming available depending on your budget.
We love the look of the TouchFire, and could really see ourselves using one. Could you make use of a TouchFire?