UniQuest congratulates the LiquidKeyboard™ inventors Christian Sax and Hannes Lau on winning an Innovation Island prize in this year’s Tech23 Awards.

Developed at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and currently at second iPad prototype stage, the LiquidKeyboard is a virtual QWERTY keyboard for touch screens and surfaces which adapts to the user’s natural finger positions.

LiquidKeyboard allows users to ‘feel’ the keys and use all ten fingers for typing, increasing input speed and reducing hand fatigue.  It compensates for the lack of tactile feedback on smooth touch-sensitive surfaces by adapting to the finger position and by following finger touch points. Fingers can rest on the screen without moving the keys’ positions and both hands can type in the traditional way on larger devices such as the iPad.

Tech23’s third annual event on 23 August invited innovative young companies in the tech space to give a five-minute presentation to showcase their business model to an audience of over 400 potential investors, partners and clients. LiquidKeyboard was one of 18 ventures showcasing their technologies in an open forum.

Opened by NSW Deputy Premier, Andrew Stoner MP, the day brought together representatives from various sectors – research and development, entrepreneurs, investors, and enterprise customers – to celebrate Australian innovation.

Winning an Innovation Island prize means the inventors will meet with Dean McEvoy, CEO & Co-Founder of the highly successful Spreets daily deals website venture.

UniQuest Managing Director, David Henderson, said LiquidKeyboard’s achievement reflected the growing interest in and support for innovations originating from university research.

“While touch screen technology is now the norm, consumers are demanding even more personalised adaptations and the LiquidKeyboard technology aims to meet that demand. The award from Tech23 shows that this kind of responsive research is valued by the industries and individuals currently investing in innovation,” Mr Henderson said.

“The forecasts are that by 2015, more than 50 percent of PCs purchased for users under the age of 15 will have touch screens. The LiquidKeyboard is one of several innovations UniQuest is working on with UTS researchers to add value to existing technologies in the ICT sector and respond to the expectations of the digital generation.”

UTS-based UniQuest Manager of Innovation and Commercial Development, Leigh Angus, said the technology was attracting interest from a variety of potential commercial partners.

“To really accelerate the development of this technology onto the market we’re keen to hear from more surface or touch computing hardware manufacturers, and also software developers who may be interested in licensing this technology as an enhancement to their current product range,” Ms Angus said.

The LiquidKeyboard technology could also be applied to larger tablet computers, touch-sensitive surface interfaces like dual-screen laptops and kiosk systems, one or two-handed interfaces for vehicle/machine control such as wheelchairs, projected displays with an infra-red finger position tracking device, and data gloves.

A demonstration of technology can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47okf4aykUg

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