By effectively turning any flat surface into a multitouch user interface, Haptix has the potential to consign the humble computer mouse to the IO history books. Now the development team has announced plans that could kill off the physical keyboard too. Ractiv has partnered with Asetniop creator Zack Dennis to bring his chorded virtual keying concept to life.

You may recall that Dennis recently introduced a mid-air typing plugin for Google's Chrome browser called DexType, that made use of the newly-launched Leap Motion controller to key in characters using gestures. To realize his vision for the Asetniop virtual keyboard replacement concept, however, he's turned to the now successfully crowdfunded Haptix 3D multitouch system.

The Asetniop ten-point input method aligns eight commonly typed characters with fingers that would be used to type them on a QWERTY keyboard, and then assigns the remainder of the alphabet to combinations of fingers. The thumbs are used for Shift and Space, or together to Enter. With Haptix tracking the position of each digit of a user's hands, keying can take place on any flat surface.

Dennis reckons that most Asetniop touch typists should be able to achieve typing speeds of about 30 words per minute within a few hours, followed by steady improvements as the user becomes more familiar with the system. Though his own mastery usually results in speeds of between 65 and 70 wpm on a tablet, he reports that highs of over 100 have been achieved.

So will the integration of Asetniop into the Haptix system bring an end to our dependence on physical keyboards? In the short term, probably not. But it's early days for the new partnership, and both parties are looking forward to seeing where this development will lead.

At the time of writing, the Haptix team has programmed the basic Asetniop key map into the system (which is demonstrated in the video below) and Dennis says that they'll be working together on more advanced features (such as predictive text and autocorrect) in the very near future. He also reports that he's developed a handwriting recognition feature for numbers, symbols and accents, that may also see future adoption.

The Haptix Kickstarter campaign is set to run until September 13.

Sources: Haptix, Asetniop

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