This Invention Might Be The Death Of The Keyboard We All Know


Ran Poliakine, founder of Powermat
Technologies Inc. Focused on eliminating the world’s
dependence on electrical cables, is setting his sights
on improving communication with wireless devices
by transforming human hands into keyboards that
type anywhere, and on anything.

The new gadget, Tap Systems , came out of stealth
mode Wednesday with a foam strap that slips onto
the hand almost like a brass knuckle. It translates 31
finger taps into letters and numbers, which are
transmitted by Bluetooth to mobile devices like
phones and tablets. With an accuracy level of “99
percent,” according to Poliakine, the strap is an
alternative to voice-based systems such as Apple
Inc.’s Digital Assistant, Siri or gesture technologies, and eliminates the
need to carry a keyboard.

“We’ve invented a new smart textile that when you
place it on your hand you can turn any surface into a
keyboard,” Poliakine said in an interview. “It’s
important because when you have a smartwatch, or
iPad or any other device that you need to activate or
interact with on the go, right now you need to sit
down and have a keyboard, or to touch on a screen.”

Poliakine founded Tap with Sabrina Kemeny , a
former NASA engineer and co-inventor of an image
sensor technology used in mobile phones; and David
Schick, an engineer whose previous company, Schick
Technologies Inc., sold in 2005 to Sirona Dental
Systems in a $928 million reverse takeover.
Financed by its founders, Tap stands to benefit from
Poliakine’s previous experience with Powermat.

According to Bloomberg, Cordless charging, 10 years after the company
founding, is far from ubiquitous , despite the likes of
Samsung Electronics Co., Ikea Group and Starbucks
Corp. embedding the technology in its latest products
or stores.
“Lesson number one is: go after a very large market
that is going to be even bigger. When we started
Powermat it was clear that the market will come but
was not there,” said Poliakine. “Wireless charging
was like a magic kind of thing, a concept. With Tap
the need is absolutely there, and is going to be
greater and greater, from wearable devices all the
way to virtual reality and augmented reality, all of
those devices in urgent need for a sophisticated input
method.” MarketsandMarkets most recent forecast
for the global wearables industry was $31.3 billion by
The strap won’t stop at typing text. Software
developers will be invited to create applications for
use with the platform. Poliakine foresees a future
where music could be composed or played by tapping
on a knee instead of piano keys. He hopes to see
technology global leaders such as Microsoft Corp.
eventually incorporate Tap technology into products
like HoloLens , the company’s virtual reality headset
that a recent CNET review said was difficult to control
with voice commands and gross movements.
Tap intends to offer the strap early on to the blind or
visually impaired. “This is a transformative
technology, where they can be as facile with mobile
as a sighted person,” Schick said. The market for
devices that assist the disabled and elderly could
reach $19.6 billion by 2019, according to
Transparency Market Research.
Other companies, in Israel and abroad, are targeting
that same market. OrCam , a company created by one
of the founders of Mobileye NV, makes a device that
fits on eyeglasses to help the visually impaired cross a
street or read. Imogen Heap, a musician and
entrepreneur based in the U.K., co-developed a set of
gloves that can help physically challenged musicians
create and perform.
As the need for a better input method grows, so will
the possibility that Tap will end up competing with
some of the world’s largest companies. “It is quite
possible that Google, Facebook and Apple are
working on a solution,” Schick said.
Tap’s possible drawback may be that users need to
learn to “tap,” an obstacle the company has tried to
overcome with a learning game that uses ditties and
music to improve memory retention for finger
combinations. Poliakine said it takes most people no
more than an hour to adjust.
Schick said the development continues in-house and
the strap will evolve as technology advances. In
particular, he envisions future designs of the strap to
eventually be worn on the wrist rather than around
the hand.
The company plans several months of consumer
testing in Silicon Valley before shipping. “The
underlying assumption is we need to create a
community,” Schick said. “We believe this technology
can become a core language or protocol.”

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I'm a Computer Science Student of The University of Port Harcourt and a Chelsea Fan. I love RnB and A little Trap Music. Tech flows in my veins. I love to have fun with friends and I read a lot. 

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