Computers and their peripherals have undergone numerous changes over the past few decades, except for the keyboard. The keyboard’s design has remain relatively unchanged over the years aside from a few deviations that haven’t exactly become popular. Apparently Google thinks it’s about time that changed because the company was just awarded a new patent that changes keyboards in a dramatic way; not having a keyboard at all. At least, not a physical one.
The keyboard has more or less remained unchanged from its original design at the advent of the personal computer, itself essentially an update of the typewriter keyboard. Although some companies have tried over the years to update the design, most laptops and computers—and some tablets—still sport the same space-consuming design. Google, however, may have hit on a new solution: no physical keyboard whatsoever. A new patent awarded to Google today outlines a virtual keyboard consisting of audio sensors that plug into a smartphone or tablet on a flat surface. A user would then tap on that surface as if there were a keyboard in front of them. To a passerby, it might look as if the user had gone mad, tapping away at nothing, or had found a desktop equivalent to the invisible dog leash gag. In fact, the audio sensors in the device would be picking up the user’s taps and based on the vibrations relative to the sensors, would pick up which keys the user was intending to type. The information would then appear on the screen of the device the patented idea was connected to.