Stantum Looking to Improve On-screen Keyboards

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Stantum is working on technology that could help make it faster to type using use on-screen keyboards.

The French company's multitouch technology includes controllers and sensors so that input into touchscreens -- so-called soft keyboards -- is reflected more quickly and accurately on screens, said Guillaume Largillier, Stantum's co-founder and chief technology officer.

A soft keyboard is a good way to write short documents, but there is room for improvement to accommodate touch typists who want to write longer documents, Largillier said.

The technology, called digital-resistive multitouch technology, is being licensed to touch-panel makers like STMicroelectronics. One company, Great Wall, has already displayed a tablet called Gbook that utilizes Stantum's technology.

The technology is capable of recognizing input from up to 10 fingers simultaneously, he said. That removes hindrances touch typists would otherwise face in writing long-form documents on a soft keyboard and helps gamers who want fast response rates and high performance from computers.

The company's technology measures the location and force of screen contact to better filter out unintentional touches. "The faster you scan, the better you can filter out real action of users," Largillier said.

Multiple input and finger pressure measurements in the multitouch technology also make using a touchscreen more like a traditional keyboard, Largillier said. For example, pressing down the "shift" button harder on screen can be used to capitalize letters instead of using the "caps lock" button, Largillier said. That will allow traditional keyboard designs to be implemented on screen to be more like using a QWERTY-style keyboard.

Faster touch panel response times are also important taking notes on tablets and other computing devices that use touchscreens. That could lead to wider use in the education and creative markets, Largillier said. Most applications will also need stylus support for data input and Stantum's technology enables that.

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