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World's slimmest keyboard is PAPER-THIN and turns ANY area into a touchscreen

Scientists at Cambridge Silicon Radio (CSR) have invented a flexible computer keyboard that is paper-thin at just 0.5 millimeters thick and can turn any area into a touch-sensitive surface. They claim it is the world's thinnest

British scientists have invented a flexible computer keyboard that is as thin as a piece of paper and can turn any area into a touch-sensitive surface.

Tech company Cambridge Silicon Radio (CSR) claims its keyboard is the world's thinnest, at half a millimeter thick and offers consumers a 'glimpse of future computing interfaces' that are paper-thin, wireless and respond to touch.

The device can be used to extend the touch-sensitive areas of tablets and smartphones so customers can use a full-size thin keyboard to type messages on their mobile.

It combines the company's low-power wireless technology with cutting-edge printable and flexible electronics.

Paul Williamson, director of Low Power Wireless 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, than people now use on many touch screen devices.

'It can also be used with a stylus-type pen for handwriting recognition and to draw and sketch,' he added.

The company said the keyboard can be integrated into a proprotective cover for a tablet, or used to create large touch zones on a desktop computer.

It claims the device adds a 'full keyboard experience' to a tablet without using up screen area like the pop-up keyboard that comes as part of most tablet software.

The paper-thin surface is wirelessly connected using a new CSR1010 chip that is optimised for this 'Bluetooth Smart' technology.

This allows it to connect to the latest Apple smartphones and tablets as well as Windows 8 PCs, using much less power of standard Bluetooth.

Touch latency is minimised to less than 12 milliseconds, ensuring almost instant visual feedback.

Mr Williamson said: 'Consumers want innovative, portable wireless accessories that just work with their mobile devices.'

The technology is inkjet printed so it 'can be rapidly created in different formats and adapted to fit multiple sizes of tablets and smartphones available today,' he said.

The company partnered with Atmel and Conductive Inkjet Technology to make the thin surface.

It uses Atmel's touch silicon to sense multiple contact points on a surface and CIT's printed conductors for the flexible membrane.

The 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.

The keyboard will make its debut at IFA Berlin this Friday.

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