Design of the Week: Key Waffle

By on December 17th, 2012 in Design


This week’s selection is a tremendously functional design with an unusual name. The Key Waffle, designed by artist Tim Potter, attempts to simplify the use of keyless mobile devices. 
You’ve probably heard someone say, “I need REAL keys to type on my mobile!”, when they discount full-screen phone options. This item is designed for those people, because it covers the lower portion of your mobile (in this case an iPhone) with a tactile map of the keys. Your fingers can still press the screen-key underneath through a suitably large hole, but the magic is in the touch. Your fingers can learn to find the right keys without seeing them. 
This leads to a variety of new usage scenarios for your mobile: 
Feel the keys. Type a message without looking at the screen, under the desk in meetings, or in class – this feature is a life saver. There are key marking bumps both above and below the ‘D’ and the ‘J’ keys to further enable sightless typing. The ‘Send’ and the ‘Camera’ buttons also have partial outlines to assist sightless text messaging.
The Key Waffle comes in several species to fit various mobile device models and 3D printed versions are offered for sale at Potter’s Shapeways site, Alcove. 
Best of all, it solves our fat-finger problem. 

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!