Companies like Logitech, Zagg and others have been making their iPad keyboard cases thinner and thinner with each generation, but a year from now we might be seeing accessory makers take advantage of a new technology from CSR— The world’s thinnest wireless touch surface that could make your iPad keyboard case paper-thin. The company develops a number of silicon, software, and wireless solutions for OEMs in the consumer electronics space, and tonight it showed off its new printable, flexible 0.5 mm thick touch surface for the first time during ShowStoppers, the official media showcase for the IFA consumer electronics show taking place here in Berlin.
CSR partnered with Atmel and Conductive Inkjet Technology (CIT) to develop the ultra-thin wireless touch surface. The device uses Atmel’s touch silicon to sense multiple contact points on a surface, and can offer a full touch surface or power optimised key detection. The flexible membrane is enabled by CIT printed conductors. CIT’s reel-to-reel printing process enables copper and other conductors to be applied to the surface of the ultra-thin and flexible membrane, and can be printed to fit a range of tablet shapes and sizes.
Not only is it the thinnest touch surface ever made, it’s also wireless thanks to built-in Bluetooth 4.0, which CSR tells us helped the prototype achieve “market leading battery life” in the thin form factor. It also has touch latency of about 12mS, which means no noticeable lag while typing, but also possibilities for gaming and other applications. It’s not just for iPad keyboards, however. Tablet keyboard cases might be the ideal form factor– and CSR agrees– but it can also create table-sized touch surfaces and even customizable layouts that can be easily and inexpensively added to the keyboard. The tech is capable of picking up handwriting and stylus input as well, so typing and keyboards are certainly not the only implementation that we could see in the near future.
While it’s still a prototype, the company tells us its in discussions with many OEMs that are interested in the technology and that we could see consumer products implementing the paper thin touch surfaces as early as the holiday season next year. Head past the break for our first look at the prototype from tonight’s ShowStoppers show at IFA in Berlin.