A British student has reportedly developed an iPhone software that allows the handset to turn any table into an impromptu, invisible full-sized keyboard.
The system, dubbed Vibrative, uses the three-dimensional accelerometer in Apple's smartphone to measure the characteristics of each tap on the table.
It measures the strength and frequency of the vibrations it causes, and compares them to "training data" to work out its approximate location. The location is converted into a key press on the "virtual keyboard.
Currently, the system, developed by Florian Kraeutli, a computing student at Goldsmiths, determines the intended key correctly about 80 per cent of the time, so the data is also fed into an auto correct dictionary to ensure the words are spelled correctly
"The signals I'm collecting are very weak," the Telegraph quoted Kraeutli, as saying. "At the moment it's more of a proof of concept but if you made the accelerometer more sensitive you could improve the accuracy quite easily," the student added.
According to the paper, he suggested that accelerometers in smartphones might be set to be less sensitive than they are capable of to conserve battery power. The system is currently more accurate on smaller surfaces, which vibrate more with each tap.