The Premise. Almost every device on the market these days needs a touch screen in order to succeed, as the newest wave of input allows users to interact with their devices in a natural, convenient way. Still, where touch displays should make things easier, without anything to feel by, a touch screen is useless to those who lack other senses.
The Product. Touching buttons to launch apps is one thing, but being able to feel them and identify them without necessarily pressing them is what the Tactalis Origin Tactile Computer offers. Using a metal stylus or a magnetic ring, the Tactalis system puts a system of switches and magnets under any LCD panel, creating a sensation of touch for any image that is normally displayed as a static, flat representation. Additionally, Tactalis is pushing itself as a marketplace of software that utilizes this technology, allowing an entire niche market of apps that can be felt to be developed on the platform, giving vision impaired users access to programs and features that many already take for granted.
The Pitch. The core concept behind Tactalis isn’t just altruistic, it’s also cool. Their campaign materials do a great job of blending these two core aspects of the product’s identity, focusing as much on what adding the sensation of touch can add to existing programs as it does on what said features will enable the blind community to do as far as independent travel, work, and learn. Tactalis is trying to get their hands on $40,000 CAD to bring the Origin Tactile Computer to the masses.
The Perks. With plenty of reward tiers, it’s not until the $2,500 CAD level that backers can actually (and literally) get their hands on an Origin Tactile Computer powered by Tactalis. For twice as much money, at the $5,000 CAD level, the Origin Tactile Computer will come with a carrying case, an accessory pack, and a license offering free access to all Tactalis software. All perks are set to arrive in May 2015.
The Potential. Any technology that offers accessibility to a group of people that currently lack it is sure to make a big splash. The Tactalis Origin Tactile Computer brings back the dimension of touch to devices that have for too long lacked such a feature. While it may seem like nothing more than a novel and unnecessary idea to the bulk of the touch screen-using community, blind users would be able to navigate and use the Internet in a new and intuitive way that can better relay important information. It’s not the first attempt at a tactile display, but the more practical approach using magnets as opposed to a dynamically raised display seems to give it a nod ahead of Tactus in terms of speed to market.