In the late 1950’s my dad was tasked by the US Navy to help them figure out how to put a nuclear reactor inside a sealed pipe submerged hundreds of feet under the ocean. Right, a nuclear submarine. Two key constraints were written in white chalk on a big blackboard in his office.

  1. Make it work in absolute silence.
  2. Try not to kill the crew with radiation.

There was a third, but unstated challenge – figure it out with a slide rule. These engineers faced some tough hurdles.

In contrast, the challenge of making a good virtual tablet keyboard is much less daunting, but requires some ingenuity. The challenge –

How do you make glass soft?

A couple of unassuming design engineers decided to tackle this challenge and they’ve come up with a solution that you can help to fund right now at KickStarter.

As soon as you see this thin, floppy, rubbery keyboard overlay for iPad, you just know you’re gonna’ love, use it, and come to depend on it. TouchFire is the latest in a series of very successful KickStarter projects that are paving the way for small ideas to become big solutions. And by big, I mean huge.

The shiny glass slates that are becoming a staple for business people everywhere, [seemingly] possess everything mobile workers could need or want except for one thing – a touchy, feely, softer keyboard interface that blends the harsh realm of hard glass with human touch. As we have all experienced, typing on a glass surface is the opposite of ergonomic bliss.

The infinitely shallow plane where iPad’s glass ends and air begins, is the only realm Steve Jobs and team were unable to sculpt to their whims. Steve and Brad, inventors of TouchFire, have indeed found a way to make glass soft.

TouchFire, made of pure high-grade silicone, magically transforms the magic tab’s virtual keyboard into a comfortable human-to-glass interface. TouchFire is not so much a keyboard as it is a more productive human interface for tablet keyboards. It is not just a keyboard overlay for providing the much-needed and missing guideposts for home finger positions, but it also knows how to adapt to swipes and other types of touch input that commonly occurs in tablet apps. In this regard, TouchFire is a human interface extension that solves one of the troubling aspects of a virtual keyboard while embracing all elements of a touch interface.

That’s right – you can swipe right over the TouchFire keyboard when the need arrives. This is so cool and so needed – extremely ergonomic, but delightfully agile. As virtual keyboards appear and disappear in apps, you don’t have to remove TouchFire to continue working. Taps, swipes, zooms continue to function.

image TouchFire is thin and light. It can be folded, scrunched, packed, jammed, and stored in any shape without fear of mangling it. It uses magnets to guide its position and even has certain areas that are made of sticky silicone to hold it firmly on the tablet. It can also be stored on the inside of your smart cover with its magnets.

And like the nuclear power plants in submarines, TouchFire is silent – no plastic snapping or popping, or annoying attempts to provide audible feedback.

Humanity needs to give a golf clap to Steve and Brad.

Fund it now, you won’t regret it.