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UK student creates ‘virtual’ keyboard for the iPhone by using its built-in accelerometer

Published Nov 10th, 2012 10:10AM EST

Who says you can’t use your iPhone like a laptop? Per the Telegraph, a computer science student in the United Kingdom has used the iPhone’s built-in accelerometer to measure vibrations that are then programmed to correspond with keys on a “virtual keyboard.” So for instance, if you put your iPhone down on a table and tap from a close distance, it will register as one letter while tapping further away will register as a different letter. As the Telegraph notes,this virtual keyboard right now gets the correct letters just 80% of the time, which is something that creator Florian Kraeutli says won’t be improved without a stronger accelerometer. Kraeutli also describes the virtual keyboard as more of a “proof of concept” than a commercially viable invention. A video demonstration of the iPhone keyboard is posted below.

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.