The Leap Motion controller has nothing on this thing; Haptix is a project that, simply put, is designed to turn any surface into a multitouch surface. (Get it? Haptics.) Ostensibly, this allows for input in more ways, and it opens up more possibilities for user customization. The Haptix team sees the device as combining the traditional mouse/keyboard input method with touch and getting the best of both worlds.
The device itself is a small, silver bar that clips onto or rests on just about anything. It “reads” your finger movements and inputs accordingly. It can be used for everything from computers to tablets to TVs. Even more impressive is that it can be used for 3D multitouch, so you could, for example, make the space directly above your keyboard a multitouch “surface” while still being able to use your keyboard.
Haptix works with Windows XP/Vista/7/8 and Ubuntu, and support for Android and iOS is in the offing. The device consists of two CMOS sensors that find the position of your hands with a 640x360 resolution, and in the absence of sufficient light, it uses infrared. A microcontroller does essentially all the processing, and the unit connects to a computer via USB 2.0.
The group is raising money for the project on Kickstarter and has so far easily beaten its goal of $100,000; with 13 days to go, Haptix stands at $143,977 pledged.
But that’s only part of it. The project caught the attention of Zack Dennis, creator of the DexType app, and together he and the Haptix team are implementing a typing method called “ASETNIOP” in the device.
ASETNIOP uses only 10 keys to input all letters by utilizing finger combinations, and it also lets users input numbers and symbols, in some cases simply by drawing them. ASETNIOP, in tandem with Haptix, gives users a way to make any surface a keyboard. That opens up even more possibilities for input on a number of different types of devices.