There are so many threads of exploration for integrating physical and digital elements that keeping up with it closely seems to slow down the evolutionary process a bit. The “breakthrough” doesn’t catch you off guard, usually, because you can almost project it by tracking other “breakthroughs” that come before. Rarely does something truly blow my mind.

This tactile touchscreen, from Tactus Technology, just did:


Physical buttons rising from a flat touchscreen? This almost transforms a phone into a living organism. Theoretically, an iPhone can have a name (Siri), want to know where you are at all times, respond to your wants and needs, and physically react to your touch. Why not just teach a dog to make phone calls instead?

Jokes aside, this signals a novel approach to innovation. While so many are focused on how to embed digital applications into physical objects and environments, Tactus Technology is taking an inherently digital object and implanting a physical application into it. This is a natural progression now that once revolutionary forms of technology (such as the touchscreen phone) are becoming commonplace – we’ve come to know technology so well that we’re interested in shaping it into something new. But it doesn’t make it any less amazing.

It will be interesting over the next few years to see how far innovators stretch this notion of implanting physical components into technological items…without, hopefully, getting carried away: