Meet Tactus - the touchscreen that pops into physical buttons on demand, then flattens back

Meet Tactus - the touchscreen that pops into physical buttons on demand, then flattens back
It's been everyone's dream ever since touchscreens got popular in smartphones and tablets in the last few years - to have physical buttons that pop when you have to type or dial a number, then flatten back leaving you with just the touchscreen when they are not needed.

It's been a fantasy so far, one reserved for sci-fi movies and concept handsets, where everything goes. Not if you ask Tactus, however - the company has developed a way to replace the top layer of existing touchscreens with a Tactile Layer that incorporates popping buttons, which can morph back into an even surface.

The layer doesn't add extra thickness to existing touchscreens, Tactus argues, and the buttons shape, size and layout can be customized for each particular case. The keys are application-controlled and utterly transparent, so when you are finished typing letters and numbers, or killing zombies and racing Porsches, the buttons just sink back into a flat shape. 

Magical stuff indeed, and one we hope gets perfected for use in our smartphones and tablets as soon as possible. The trademark "Tactile Layer" was already demonstrated at the SID expo the other day on an Android tablet as well. Watch a video explaining the science behind the Tactus magic below.

source: Tactus



1. thelegend6657 unregistered

Nice but regular touch keyboards is working fine

9. frustyak

Posts: 249; Member since: Mar 08, 2010

For you, they're working fine. For many people, they're not. I know many people that refuse to give up their blackberries simply because of the physical keyboard. Just because everything is trending toward black slab touchscreen phones doesn't necessarily mean people don't want physical keyboards. They're moving away from physical keyboards because they make the phone bulkier and more expensive, not because they like their virtual keyboards.

13. poddey

Posts: 77; Member since: Mar 22, 2012

Swype users won't really need this but physical buttons are always better for serious typing. This is seriously cool. I hope the pop out keys feel like real chiclet ones.

26. thelegend6657 unregistered

I am more worried about side effects . Such as those of LTE

2. GuiltyBystander

Posts: 199; Member since: Mar 05, 2012


3. bobfreking55

Posts: 866; Member since: Jul 15, 2011

Displays and screens are the next race after all these processor stuff. I'm feeling it. A Galaxy Phone, 5" w/ 1080p, the Xensation Cover, with this technology, and all of it is unbreakable because it bends... i see the future... lol

8. tedkord

Posts: 17512; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

You only see it. This company only developed it. Apple is scrambling to amend patents to cover it.

23. Ivan6479

Posts: 250; Member since: Jun 26, 2011

That's funny!! I'm sure Apple is already trying to get patents on this. LOL

4. OpTiMuS_BlAcK

Posts: 418; Member since: May 04, 2012

I want an analog stick that pops out :D

15. poddey

Posts: 77; Member since: Mar 22, 2012

Like a boss! Sweet... yeah I can think of some other applications that this could be put to good use for. A certain recent wallpaper comes to mind. :D

25. bayusuputra

Posts: 963; Member since: Feb 12, 2012

"if you know what i mean.."

22. whothisperson

Posts: 102; Member since: May 06, 2012

I have one of those... lmao

5. tedkord

Posts: 17512; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

OK, now THAT is innovation.

7. hung2900

Posts: 966; Member since: Mar 02, 2012

And if Apple buys it, somebody will shout out loud "It's REVOLUTIONARY!!!"

6. mercorp

Posts: 1045; Member since: Jan 28, 2012

Bye bye hardware keyboards. (and blackberry qwerty phones)

14. poddey

Posts: 77; Member since: Mar 22, 2012

Maybe... maybe not, if they haven't died already. A slide out qwerty keyboard still gives you more space on screen to see the document/message you're typing and the conversation you're having. If anyone should buy out Tactus it should be Blackberry. This would be perfect for BB10.

10. andro.

Posts: 1999; Member since: Sep 16, 2011

This is indeed impressive,with so many people moving from button feature phones to smartphone these days this will make the process slot easier for them

11. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

man i hope this works better than RIM's attempt at a tactile touch with pezio. Some worked fine, like mine, but so many had flaws galore. if it can be user programmer controlled to pop buttons out pretty much anywhere that would be great. pop up analogue controls for games, keyboards, ect.

12. Sangeet

Posts: 232; Member since: Apr 21, 2012

just wishing that Apple should not buy it as if they buy this thing they will just patent it and then say that "They created innovation" and not let other companies use it

16. fervid

Posts: 183; Member since: Nov 22, 2011

This was actually news a year ago. Apple probably already has their patents modified and will revolutionize the smartphone world with it in the iPhone 5.

17. hepresearch unregistered

Why would Apple need to "modify" their patents in order to "revolutionize" the iPhone... again (chuckle chuckle)... with a tactile dynamic touchscreen? They have enough cash that they could BUY Tactus and its patents without blinking an eye... I mean, Apple has enough cash that they could own practically the entire mobile OEM industry, if they just left out Samsung, without even exercising stock swaps... but, wait a minute... oh yeah! That would temporarily slightly reduce the size of Apple's cash pile by a couple million bucks... what a huge inconvenience! Okay, I guess your plan for Apple to "modify" some existing patents isn't so bad, afterall! I mean, they'll just release it on the iPhone 5, then just sue Tactus for infringement, and then just legally block the imports of OEM’s who license the patent from Tactus...

27. fervid

Posts: 183; Member since: Nov 22, 2011

What is up with the thumbs down...Google is your friend people this is old news. And, with Apple's lame announced features in the next IOS they really needed new hardware. Stealing this might have saved their bacon.

18. frydaexiii

Posts: 1476; Member since: Dec 01, 2011

Not that it isn't cool or innovative, but am I the only one kinda freaked/creeped out by that popping out screen? It gives me tingles

19. greatGreekGeek unregistered

man, this technology is just so adorable! flexible glass screens, pop up keyboards...these last few days on phonearena have been so cool. welcome to the future, folks!

20. BomberXL

Posts: 82; Member since: Jan 17, 2012

can we make the surface go in? i can think of some interesting ways to use that. ;)

21. Brewski

Posts: 736; Member since: Jun 05, 2012

I'm curious how this would work with a screen protecor or the water-proof type case. Most people on this forum complain of how fragile phones are and it seems they put some kind of protection on the phone. I've always put at least a screen protector on my phones if not more.

24. KingKurogiii

Posts: 5713; Member since: Oct 23, 2011

i would LOVE this on my next phone! o:

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.
FCC OKs Cingular's purchase of AT&T Wireless