Scientists at Cambridge Silicon Radio (CSR) have developed a flexible computer keyboard that is paper thin and is claimed capable of transforming any area into a touch-sensitive surface. The company describes its creation as the world's thinnest wireless touch surface at 0.5 mm thick, and offers consumers a low-power Bluetooth technology featuring "the latest in printable, flexible electronics and touch screen sensing."
The ultra-thin surface is wirelessly connected to an iOS 7 or Windows 8 device using CSR’s brand new CSR1010 chip, which is optimized solely for Bluetooth Smart, a recent technology that ostensibly extends battery life and has a much smaller form factor than standard Bluetooth. With a touch latency of under 12 ms the user experience is reported to be seamless, providing instant visual feedback.
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"The device can do basic text input as well as touch and gesture control, so you can swipe and pinch and zoom, as well as use much more complex gestures," says Paul Williamson, Director of Low Power Wireless at CSR. "Additionally, it can be used with a stylus-like pen for handwriting recognition or for drawing and sketching."
The touch surface is able to register multiple touch points thanks to Atmel's touch silicon technology, with reel-to-reel printing from Conductive Inkjet Technology used to apply the conductors to the flexible membrane. The process allows for the production of a wide range of shapes and sizes, which can bring a full-sized keyboard experience to protective tablet covers, for example, or add touch-sensitive areas to a desktop workspace.
CSR’s ultra-thin touch surface will be unveiled to customers for the first time this week at IFA 2013 in Berlin.
The video below outlines the key selling points of CSR's ultra thin touch surface technology.