Microsoft working on pressure-sensitive keyboard

By on August 7, 2009, 5:22 PM
Microsoft has unveiled a prototype of a pressure-sensitive keyboard. In a description, Redmond said the device's potential use is limitless. The company has reportedly tested several possible applications for the technology, such as pressing a key harder to produce a capital letter or a larger font size.

This prototype is one of Microsoft's many projects focused on natural user interfaces. Project Natal is planned to launch for the Xbox 360 and could make its way to PCs - which would make for quite the experience when paired with Windows 7's multi-touch capabilities.


Unfortunately, Microsoft has no (disclosed) plans to go live with their new keyboard, but it is expected be the subject of a student competition at the User Face and Software Technology Conference in October. Participants will be challenged to create new ways of using the prototype with computers.




User Comments: 13

Got something to say? Post a comment
HaMsTeYr HaMsTeYr said:

Don't fix what isn't broken. In my opinion, keyboards are fine as they are. I don't need to press harder to make fonts larger or what not...

Yet another strange pursuit by microsoft. Surprise me. Just how are you planning to make a Pressure sensitive keyboard "natural"

Staff
Matthew Matthew, TechSpot Staff, said:

Not sure I see an issue, really. Pressure-sensitive input is hardly a new concept. Played a video game lately?

I for one think it's a great idea, if implemented and exploited properly.

9Nails, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I'M NOT YELLING. I'M JUST PRESSING REALLY HARD.

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

9Nails said:

I'M NOT YELLING. I'M JUST PRESSING REALLY HARD.

lol...

I am all for this. Using Wacom tablets frequently, I'm no stranger to pressure sensitive devices. I like the idea of a pressure sensitive keyboard.

Staff
Steve Steve said:

hamsteyr said:

Don't fix what isn't broken. In my opinion, keyboards are fine as they are.

Reallllyyy???? I can't believe they are not sealed yet for easy cleaning and to avoid crap getting in them to start with. I can spend over $100 on the latest Microsoft or Logitech keyboard but if I don't keep it in a sealed chamber for 12 months it will look awful and pulling them apart for a full clean up is no fun.

labrat611 said:

hamsteyr said:

Don't fix what isn't broken. In my opinion, keyboards are fine as they are. I don't need to press harder to make fonts larger or what not...

Yet another strange pursuit by microsoft. Surprise me. Just how are you planning to make a Pressure sensitive keyboard "natural"

labrat611 said:

hamsteyr said:

Don't fix what isn't broken.

if everyone thought this way, then we would all be still living in the stone age

Guest said:

On the other hand, if Apple is working on this keyboard, most of you would probably drooling over it, stating it was the innovation of the century or something and cost $200 more.

HaMsTeYr HaMsTeYr said:

labrat611 said:

hamsteyr said:

Don't fix what isn't broken.

if everyone thought this way, then we would all be still living in the stone age

Lol ouch good sir.

to all the replies, its not so much the matter about pressure sensitivity being bad, i.e. i love it in a game controller, but i'm trying to imagine myself doing my usual touch typing and doing a heavy and light jam on my keyboard, and honestly don't see it quite happenning as typing innovation.

There are places where pressure sensitivity come useful, for example artist tablets as i use one, but for keyboards, i don't see how you can't improve a keyboard by putting in pressure sensitivity....

Oh maybe apart from the internet trolls that bash their keyboards will now have their keys all font enlarged and bolded up.... Then again i'm guessing people like my dad who types slowly and stares at the keyboard each time to do so would start typing in capitals as well... haha

@Steve - Well, i was referring to the concept more of of having a touch sensitive keyboard ^^" Not really so much of the actualy DESIGN of it xD And yes, i do get irritated when things fall in between the keys.

Brings to mind whether they should make capacitive sensitive keyboards, which should allow all the whole to get sealed up hence no more chicken skin under the keyboards of friend computers i help >_>

Still, many rely on that tactile feedback in touchtyping to know whether they've pressed the key, though it'd be interesting to try this one.

Guest said:

I think it could be really useful if you push it down like normal and then click it down harder for the cap. Then the shift and function or whatever buttons could be used to expand the keyboard to include dozens of extra symbols. We could even have advanced uses like pushing "asdf jkl;" at the same time until it clicks instead of hitting enter, or pushing D and L at the same time until it clicks to delete, clicking down O, N, E to enter a 1. Some of these might seem stupid but thinking outside the box like that could lead to some awesome gains in efficiency (like adding tabs to browsers and scroll wheels or w/e did).

TJGeezer said:

Just what I need - a keyboard whose behavior depends on my fine motor control, no matter whether I'm exhausted, had too much coffee, just woke up and had no coffee at all, sick, spaced out, fully alert... not to mention, inclined to relearn keyboard cues that AutoHotkey macros already take care of for me. I don't even use the function keys as anything but function keys, forget all the extra functions like Undo (hello, that's Ctl-Z), etc. Geez, no thank you. Never was a fan of gadgetry for gadgetry's sake.

VonDisco said:

This will be a large improvement for games that involve driving, however. Much better than the full lock steering and hard accelerating and braking with current keyboards.

Assuming you don't have a steering wheel peripheral of course.

DragonMaster said:

Well, if you wash your hands and don't eat over it, there aren't going to be any problems. I have many 4+ years old keyboards that look just as new (and I don't clean them). There's a bit of air dust around the F keys but that's it.

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.