The TouchFire, a screen-top keyboard device for Apple's iPad, is now available for pre-order on the company's website.
The new product can be reserved on pre-order for a $10 donation via www.touchfire.com. The donation will then be put towards the final price for the product, which will be $44.95 when released in 2012.
The individuals behind the TouchFire device are Steven Issac, CEO of TouchFire, and Brad Meldon, director of product development for TouchFire. The inspiration for the keyboard came when Issac wanted to craft one that made typing easier on the iPad.
The touchscreen keyboard for the iPad is seen as innovative, but it has been derided for not being accessible for typing. Wireless keyboards for the iPad are currently available as well, but many of them have been described as being too bulky.
Steve Issac has some stipulations for his device: it should be compatible with the iPad's existing on-screen keyboard and have springy "keys" that user's could actually feel. It also had to be small, light and unobtrusive. It needed to respond to user's finger taps and be insensitive enough so that user's could rest their fingers on the keys without triggering the typing of random letters.
Last September, Issac connected with Brad Melmon, an industrial designer who is based in Seattle. Both men refined Isaac's original idea for the keyboard and created the TouchFire company together.
Issac went on to craft a screen-top keyboard device called the TouchFire. The device sits atop the iPad's keyboard when the device is turned on its side.
The first prototype for the TouchFire became possible through funding from users on the website, Kickstarter. Kickstarter allows visitors to search through proposals for everything from graphic novels to consumer electronics. The inventions and creations come from creators who must meet their stated funding goal in a specified period of time in order to actually use the money. Through Issac's efforts, he managed to raise $201,400 by the end of last week.
Reviews for the iPad TouchFire have been positive thus far. The New York Times has reviewed, "The keyboard is incredibly simple to use. Typing on it is like typing on a physical keyboard."
Mashable stated that, "TouchFire doesn’t set off a single key when you rest you fingertips on the product."
Isaac and Melmon are currently deciding on a manufacturer to make the final device. Isaac believes they're likely to ship the TouchFires to Kickstarter donors in January. After that, they hope to make the devices available for sale as soon as possible.
The video footage below shows the inventors of the TouchFire and the device itself: