Bluetooth innovator creates world's thinnest keyboard

The device can be used to extend the touch interface of tablets and smartphones

A Bluetooth device maker and an Inkjet company have created the world's thinnest, flexible computer keyboard.

To create the keyboard, U.K.-based CSR and Inkjet Technology combined the low-power wireless technology with the latest in printable, flexible electronics and touch screen sensing.

The keyboard, which is just .49mm thick, can be modified for language or work purpose.

Bluetooth keyboard
The keyboard is just .49mm thick

"It's inkjet printed and can therefor be rapidly created in multiple formats, which can be adapted to fit [the] multiple different shapes and sizes of tablets and smartphones that are available today," Paul Williamson, director of CSR's Bluetooth Smart division, said in a video presentation.

Because of its touchscreen technology, the wireless device can also used for touch and gestures, as well as for handwriting recognition or for drawing and sketching. The latter involves placing the keyboard under a piece of paper and using a stylus-type pen.

CSR plans to display the keyboard prototype at the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin this week. The company expects to begin selling the keyboard in about a year.

Flexible use
The printable keyboard can be modified for use with tablets or smartphones

CSR said the keyboard prototype is just a glimpse of what's coming; final form factors could take other shapes.

"We're committed to working collaboratively with developers ... to help them bring similar next-generation accessories to the market quickly," Williamson said in a statement.

The keyboard can be customized for different languages or for multiple purposes such as for video rendering.

The new Bluetooth connected device can be used to extend the touch interface of tablets and smartphones, and because it's printed, it can easily be adapted for different purposes.

Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at  @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed . His e-mail address is lmearian@computerworld.com.

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