Aug. 21, 2012 at 7:00 PM ET
We've seen lots of keyboards for the iPad, but only lately has the concept of an iPad typewriter been surfacing. This, the best and most recent, actually beats on the screen as if it's putting ink on paper.
It's called iTypewriter (naturally), and unlike other accessories, it doesn't actually make any kind of data connection with the iPad. It just touches the keys on the screen the way you might with your fingers, using the letter-printing arms of the typewriter itself.
The result is the familiar clackity-clack of a typewriter, along with the added benefit of cloud backups, multitouch, and the rest of the iPad's 21st-century feature set. Austin Yang, the Edinburgh-based designer who put it together, writes on his webpage that it's intended to provide better haptic feedback for people who might want to use an iPad but are turned off by its slick, unyielding screen.
The project looks simple, but consider that typewriters were not made to strike at wildly different places on the paper; their letter arms struck at the center and the paper moved along. In contrast, the iTypewriter's arms all reach to different places on the screen, meaning a lot of care had to be taken in setting this up. The tip of each arm has a little "capacitive cap" that imitates the conductivity of your finger.
You can't buy the iTypewriter, not yet anyway, but you can watch the video below and make believe what it would be like to use it. (Presumably, you'd want to type a little faster.)
Devin Coldewey is acontributing writer for NBC News Digital. His personal website iscoldewey.cc.