The venerable computer keyboard has been around for about 140 years and hasn’t changed much. Even individuals who are unable to see may use a keyboard because of its familiar layout. However, to use a keyboard requires a fixed and unmoving position. Keyboards on modern mobiles are almost all images on glass. Their small size enables keyboard input almost everywhere (even, unfortunately, while driving) but are almost impossible to use without the sense of sight. The Tap Strap is a keyboard alternative which allows mobility and input without having to see what your doing.
What is it?
The Tap Strap is a gadget that has a polyurethane ring that fits over the base of each finger, kinda like a tech version of brass knuckles. Each ring contains motion sensors which can detect finger taps against a hard surface. Entry is made by tapping against a hard surface either individually or in chord combinations. The finger sensors are all wired to the thumb which has a Bluetooth module. The unit emulates a standard Bluetooth mouse and keyboard, so no special software is required, but it does come with several apps for managing the device and learning the proprietary keyboard input. Moving your hand around a flat surface and lifting fingers to click turns the Tap into a virtual mouse.
What’s it offer?
One of the most significant benefits of this system is for those who require accessibility for typing. Recently Tap integrated support for Apple VoiceOver accessibility feature for iOS. This means that blind and low vision users are able to effectively use many iOS applications. Another foreseeable use is to provide input while experiencing virtual or augmented reality. It’s unlikely that many users will approach the 50 word per minute speeds attainable by most typists. Therefore, this won’t replace the keyboard, but it will give those who prefer an alternative a whole bunch of new options.
The Tap Strap sells for $179.99. Visit the Tap site here to find out more info and to purchase.