Scientists at the University of Auckland have developed a soft, flexible, stretchable keyboard using a type of rubber known as a dielectric elastomer.
The keyboard is comprised of a single laminated structure with two sensing layers. The surface is forked into nine different sensing regions, basically forming nine programmable keys. An interesting feature is that the number and layout of keys or sensing areas can be easily changed by reprogramming the rubber keyboard, compared to making hardware modifications.
According to Daniel Xu, author of the paper detailing the advance, “A key benefit of our keyboard is that essentially, it’s a thin sheet of rubber. It can be wrapped around any object which turns into a keyboard. It can also be made into a sensing skin for motion capture, which is useful for athletes, clinicians, and for new interactive gesture controllers.”
The researchers often used video games to test the functionality of the keyboard – and as part of a separate project have made a sensing glove to interface with shooting games.
The team’s paper appears in the journal Smart Materials and Structures.
For more information, see the full article here.