Haptix is a compact 3D motion sensor that turns any flat area into a multitouch surface. It could help do away with the traditional keyboard as well as the mouse.
The concept has already raised more than $130,000 on Kickstarter with the promise of 3D multitouch for $70 or less.
When Haptix is placed over a surface (such as a messy kitchen counter while cooking), or even a laptop, users can tap, swipe, or pinch it to control a cursor, page scroll, or image zoom on a screen. It can also be used for things like capturing real-world brushstrokes for a drawing program.
By tracking 3D finger positions, the two CMOS (complementary metal-oxide semiconductor) image sensors in Haptix also allow users to tap above the surface in the air, so that clicking on a link is simply a matter of moving a finger up and down.
"You can either treat the surface like a multitouch screen or a trackpad, or define different functions for different fingers," the campaign page says. "For instance, you can use your middle finger as the cursor, your index finger to left click, and your ring finger to right click."
That sounds complex enough -- but wait, there's more: Zack Dennis, the developer of the DexType midair typing app, believes Haptix could work really well as a QWERTY keyboard alternative.
To be integrated in Haptix, Dennis' Asetniop is a "chorded keyboard replacement method" that uses combinations of only 10 virtual keys to produce all the letters, numbers, and symbols of a traditional keyboard at a comparable speed.
Haptix could be used with input methods such as Asetniop, so that once you learn the method (which seems to be no easy feat), you could be typing on any surface under virtually any lighting conditions. Goodbye, keyboards.
But even without using novel typing techniques, Haptix is an interesting input method for everything from game controlling to TV menu navigation. Check out the demo vid below.