Sept. 9 - Scientists at British technology firm, Cambridge Silicon Radio, say they've devised the world's thinnest keyboard. Just half a millimetre thick, the device could be available to consumers within a year. Jim Drury has more.
At just half a millimetre thick it's being hailed by its developers as the world's thinnest keyboard. The prototype device comes from researchers at UK firm Cambridge Silicon Radio. They say it will be the next big thing in touch technology and they've brought it to IFA, Berlin's consumer electonics show, to show it off. Company director Paul Williamson.... SOUNDBITE (English) PAUL WILLIAMSON, DIRECTOR OF LOW POWER WIRELESS AT CSR, SAYING: "It's only half a millimetre thick, making it the world's thinnest. That's enabled by an ink jet painted touch plane. And it takes the experience you'd have with the surface of you tablet and makes it available on a wireless accessory." The keyboard is comprised of a conductive surface printed onto a flexible plastic film. Williamson says it's a better alternative to tablet keyboards, which he says take up too much screen space. SOUNDBITE (English) PAUL WILLIAMSON, DIRECTOR OF LOW POWER WIRELESS AT CSR, SAYING: "It uses up a lot of the screen, and the external accessories for tablets really aren't that convenient. They are large, they're bulky and they're not very flexible. And so we wanted to create something that was smaller, thinner, lighter. And bluetooth-smart enabled that by being much lower power and needing a much smaller battery. But also to take that experience of the touchscreen keyboard and bring it off the screen to free up the keyboard area of the screen." The keyboard can be wirelessly connected with an Apple iOS 7 or Windows 8 device, via the company's custom-made chip. With an in-built battery it can be operated by swiping or pinch and zoom methods, like tablets. It can also be used with a stylus-like pen for handwriting recognition or drawing and sketching. Cambridge Silicon Radio and its partners are in discussions with manufacturers and expect their technology to be commercially available within a year.