Flexible electronics are going to become more and more important in the future. As we incorporate more sensors and computing power into our clothes, our bags, and other places, we’ll see more and more changes and innovation that will make the future as unrecognizable to us as somebody from the ’80s would see the modern day. And CSR is doing its best to make that happen as fast as possible, with a wireless “touch surface” the thickness and stiffness of your average sheet of paper.
The membrane pairs to, say, a tablet using Bluetooth Smart. You can just flop it down on a table and start tapping away, as it was designed to be a portable keyboard, but CSR has noted it can be a general touch surface. So really it can be pretty much anything; a sheet of drawing paper, a ledger, a spreadsheet, a control pad for a video game, it’s really up to how the device is manufactured.
And it’s absurdly portable, too, at just .5 mm thick. CSR has far more ambitions than just helping you to type emails, though. They foresee the membrane being used, for example, to make a pad of paper a smart notebook, or that it can be easily embedded into desks. Imagine being able to sit down at any desk with your tablet and start typing; the keyboard is just embedded into the desk’s surface.
There aren’t, however, any customers for this device named just yet. It’s still too new and CSR is still negotiating deals. That said, it seems unlikely that a thin, flexible keyboard that can work with pretty much anything won’t be on the market sooner rather than later.
And, yeah, people will gripe it doesn’t have the texture or feel of a keyboard, but really, if you’re on the go or just sick of swiping, this seems to be the best solution yet.
Dan Seitz is an obsessive nerd living in New England. He lives in the Boston area with a fiancee, a dog, a cat, and far too many objects with processors.