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World’s thinnest keyboard invented by scientists

Graeme Parton

A group of scientists in the UK has developed a flexible computer keyboard with the same thickness as a  standard piece of paper.

Tech firm Cambridge Silicon Radio – or CSR – has claimed that its device, at half a millimetre thick, is the slimmest in the world and can turn any flat space into a touch-sensitive platform.

As well as being compatible with standard computers, the keyboard can also be used to extend the usable screen space of tablet devices and smartphones by removing the need for the in-built buttons.

In order to develop the tool, CSR combined its own low-energy wireless technology with state-of-the-art flexible, printed electronics.

Speaking about the innovation, Paul Williamson, a director at CSR, said:

“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.

“It can also be used with a stylus-type pen for handwriting recognition and to draw and sketch.”

The company has said that the device can be used with a tablet’s protective cover or as a space-saving solution for a conventional desktop PC.

The keyboard can be connected to its user’s device with a newly developed CSR1010 Bluetooth chip optimised for energy efficiency. This allows it to be used in harmony with Apple’s iPhones and iPads, as well as computers running Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system, with minimal power usage.

Williamson went on to say:

“Consumers want innovative, portable wireless accessories that just work with their mobile devices.”

While smartphones and tablet devices are certainly more popular than desktop computers when it comes to accessing the web, they do have limitations. On-screen keyboards, in particular, certainly affect the ways in which content can be produced on the move. CSR’s latest invention, however, will no doubt go some way to further bridging the gap.

It is not yet known when the keyboard, which was revealed at the IFA expo in Berlin last week, will be available to consumers.

Graeme has experience creating content for online sources and for the radio, and at university he studied Multimedia Journalism.

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