Forget 3-D printing. The future of personal manufacturing is now 2-D printing – when you’re making iPhone keyboards that it. Using nothing but a keyboard printed onto a sheet of regular paper, along with Gyorgyi Kerekes’s new Paper Keyboard app, you can type and play games as if you’d dropped cash money on a real 3-D metal and plastic keyboard.
The magic comes from the iPhone’s front-facing camera. Print out the supplied keyboard design (for full marks you should do it on an AirPrint printer), place the iPhone on the printout in the indicated spot and fire up the app. The camera watches your fingers and maps the taps to letters as if you were typing on physical keys.
It’s a neat gimmick, and one which has a lot more promise if you think of it in terms of augmented reality. You could print out chess boards, for example, and play a game against the iPhone with real pieces. Or you could do something people would actually find interesting, too.
Anyhow, the app is free and available now. I’d test it out but I don’t have a printer. Because, you know, it’s 2013 already. Maybe someone could print it out for me and fax it over instead?