An Innovative Keyboard For Your iPad

March 9, 2012

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With Apple’s unveiling of the new iPad 3 yesterday in San Francisco, many entrepreneurs were nervous that their accessories for the device would become incompatible with the new model release.

Two of those entrepreneurs were Brad Melmon and Steve Isaac, developers of TouchFire—a silicone rubber keyboard overlay that makes typing on your Apple iPad feel like a true keyboard. The rubber, see-through keyboard lies directly on the iPad over the touch screen keyboard that appears when typing. You can rest your fingers on the “home row” keys without triggering the touch screen, and the keys have little pads underneath that compress and “touch” the right keys when you type. The TouchFire keys even have resistance and spring back like the buttons on an actual keyboard. See the user videos on the TouchFire website here.

The TouchFire is malleable and lightweight (it weighs less than an ounce), and also incorporates magnets on the edges so that it can rest in place without moving while the user types. The magnets also attach to the inside of many iPad covers and folds with it for easy storage as well as making it easy to have the TouchFire with you and your iPad at all times.

Steve Isaac initially came up with the TouchFire idea after researching that the biggest challenge for tablet computers was inputting, i.e. handwriting and typing. Steve has been a major player in tablet computers since the early 90s when he was working for GO, a company in Silicon Valley that made one of the world’s first tablet computers. When he purchased his first iPad, he noticed the typing function was far better than others in its category, but it was still a weak area that he became obsessed with improving. He asked Brad Melmon, a mechanical engineer and product designer, to help transform his conceptual prototype into a physical one, and the TouchFire was born on October 20th, 2011. They turned TouchFire into a Kickstarter project and raised over $200,000 in seven weeks and sold out its entire first production run to Kickstarter backers. Read more about TouchFire’s development process and Kickstarter experience in “The TouchFire Chronicles” here.

So although the TouchFire’s first production run is sold out, it is only just now going into production after a year of design and fundraising, hence Isaac and Melmon’s anxiety awaiting the release of the iPad’s newest model. Will it even be compatible after all the hard work and fundraising? Good news: according to their website, the TouchFire is in the clear. We’d love to check this out in person!

Written By: Caitlin Bragg, Administrative Assistant

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