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Pop-up keyboard gives touchscreen typists something to feel

New touchscreen keyboard lets you feel the ke... 01:19

Touchscreens are a part of life now. But that doesn't mean we all like them - or the typos they create.

Now, a new physical keyboard that bubbles up to the surface of the screen when you type could help.

Designed by Tactus Technology, it allows you to feel the letters you are pressing - a development the creators hope will lead to a more physically satisfying typing experience, and fewer embarrassing mistakes.

"We actually change the shape of the surface with our accessory to allow you to be more accurate with your typing," Craig Ciesla, the CEO and co-founder of Tactus, told CNET's Kara Tsuboi.

The Phorm device is a case that goes around your tablet and over the screen. In the flat state, it looks and feels like a normal touch screen. But slide the switch on the back and tiny chambers over each of the virtual keys fill with fluid, raising the so-called finger guides and giving you a physical guide to the location of every letter.

The guides are firm to the touch, but disappear when you slide the switch back.

The fluid inside can't leak out and the case doesn't tap into your device's battery life or need to be charged.

"Within the panel, there's this invisible network of fluid filled channels," Ciesla said. "That's really the magic of this technology, the microfluidics that allow you to change the surface shape."

Tactus is tapping into a desire among some people who crave traditional keyboard features. Tom Hanks, for example, released a typewriter app that makes typing sounds. And other devices snap onto an iPhone to give users an experience more like typing on a BlackBerry.

"The physical feedback builds up muscle memory and makes it a more satisfying and more accurate typing experience," Ciesla said.

Eventually, Tactus hopes to eliminate the case entirely and have their technology built into phone and tablet screens.

The Tactus Phorm case for the iPad mini went on presale Thursday for $150 and will ship this summer. Cases for the iPhone 6 Plus will go on sale later this year.

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