As far as I know, this isn’t a joke. It’s an ad for a new kind of technology that allows tablet surfaces to produce tactile keys, temporarily:
Of course, this can’t be the only possible use one could come up with for this “bumps on demand” concept, and we’ll just assume everyone immediately thought of that one and move on to more family-friendly concepts:
• Eternal bubble wrap. If someone wants to ship me something wrapped in tablets, that’s great, but I figure a whole pad of bumps you can pop while you’re bored will be a primary function of this technology.
• A washboard for those minor garment cleanings you occasionally need while in a hotel (this needs to be preceded by some kind of waterproofing, but that should be a snap at this point, right?). The real purpose of this setup (with a special stylus, purchased separately) would be to allow the user to play the Ozarks-born smash hit music video game, “Jug Band.”
• A cheese grater for exceptionally soft or crumbly cheese.
• One more exciting and/or unnerving sensation to have going on in your pocket-area when you get a phone call.
• If the bumps can be made large enough and emerge fast enough, it has potential as an cat startling/repulsion system.
Maybe it’ll be a thing, maybe it’s just a Consumer Electronics Show pie-in-the-sky concept. Maybe it’s how the T-1000 got its start before being sent after Sarah Connor. I’d just keep it away from those quadrotor swarms the robotics geeks keep making, as they’re already scary enough.