Innovation of the week: Gel-filled touchscreen morphs to add buttons when you need them

Innovation of the week: Gel-filled touchscreen morphs to add buttons when you need them

The device pictured in the image you see above might look a bit primitive, but it’s actually a prototype built to showcase technology that may very well be the future of touchscreens. Researchers from Technische Universität Berlin in Berlin, Germany built the device, which offers a brilliant solution for touchscreens by giving them real physical buttons that appear temporarily when you need them, and then vanish when you don’t.

Imagine holding a phone as sleek as the iPhone 6s in your hand, but having access to a QWERTY keyboard with physical buttons without materially increasing the size or thickness of the device. Imagine a car with a massive touchscreen in the dashboard like the one in Tesla’s Model S, but with buttons you can feel and control without taking your eyes off the road.

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