In what is touted as what could be the future of touchscreen keyboards, Microsoft filed a patent on Nov. 25 for a “shape-shifting” touchscreen.
The technology would let users feel contours of a keyboard as if they were typing on a real physical keyboard even though they are really typing on a touchscreen which has a projected image of a keyboard.
Microsoft proposes to create textures on touchscreens by using pixel-sized plastics which could be ordered to protrude from a surface. These plastics could be activated or deactivated by hitting them with different wavelengths of ultraviolet light.
If Microsoft would be able to develop the technology, analysts say it could be revolutionary because keyboards projected on touchscreens would be more life-like.
The patent application for “Light-Induced Shape-Memory Polymer Display Screen” named Erez Kikin-Gil as he inventor. Kikin-Gil is a Senior User Experience Designer for Surface at Microsoft.
The firm claims that the technology is intended to be used on large displays rather than mobile or tablet displays. Analysts, however, do not exclude the possibility that the technology could also be developed for use in mobile devices.