Apple iPhone hack adds vibration feedback for virtual key presses

“The University of Glasgow has unveiled an iPhone hack that provides vibration feedback when a virtual key is pressed, simulating the effect of typing on a real keyboard. The patch enables what the University calls haptic feedback, which researchers say can help improve typing speeds, while simultaneously reducing errors. The hack is available from the University’s Google Code page, requiring a jailbroken 1.1.3 iPhone,” MacNN reports.

“The current modification uses a 70-millisecond, 170Hz pulse with the built-in vibration motor to simulate pressing the key, while a 50-millisecond, 100Hz pulse imitates the key raising when the finger leaves the touch surface,” MacNN reports.

More info and link here.


  1. This sounds like a totally amazing enhancement.

    But it raises a couple of questions: what it the expected duty cycle of the vibration motor, and will this overload it and thus burn it out? Probably not, plus how often do people type on the iPhone?

    I’m fairly sure Apple didn’t consider this use when they specified the vibration motor, and I’m sure it will reduce the life of the vibration motor. Still sounds worth getting, assuming it doesn’t burn the thing out in a couple of months.

    And, as already raised, I wonder how much this affects battery life.

    Definitely worth trying tho.

  2. @Sure –

    You’re joking about how often people type on the iPhone, right? It’s not like it’s my main keyboard, but I write e-mails all the time, not to mention notes to myself when I’m on the road.

    The keyboard ain’t perfect, but I like it a lot better than my old Treo, or any other phone I’ve tried (except for early versions of the Sidekick, but that phone had so many other problems it doesn’t make up for it).

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