updated 08:20 pm EDT, Thu August 12, 2010
Keyboard integrates touchscreen across top ridge
Microsoft engineers have demonstrated a new keyboard concept geared for desktop computers. The Adaptive Keyboard integrates a touchscreen LCD above the top row of keys. The additional display presents information such as shortcut icons or document previews, while the key characters can also change to reflect different functions based on the active software.
"We created a concept prototype in the Adaptive Keyboard (see the above video) that suggests that the display capabilities of high efficiency input devices such as keyboards and mice should be as dynamic and relevant to user context as the UI on the PC screen," said Microsoft program manager Håkon Strande.
The project aims to improve the learning curve of software, while enhancing many of the basic functions. A video preview shows Powerpoint slides presented on the touchscreen display, with insertable items visible on each key of the standard QWERTY layout. Users would be able to quickly access complex functions based on visual recognition, rather than recalling a memorized shortcut layout.
The Adaptive Keyboard concept is included in the Student Innovation Contest at the ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology. Strande noted that any of the function examples have yet to be officially planned for future software updates.