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The Yau Law Firm
Focused on Protecting Businesses and Representing the Injured

Apple’s New Fruit: Keyless Keyboard

Apple recently filed a patent application for a sleek new computer keyboard.  The invention will feature a smooth surface, which will serve as the user interface.  But, do you notice something missing here?  There are no keys. The keyboard contains no mechanical keys or moving parts. LED lighting will illuminate a keyboard-like grid under the surface.  This configuration could also be modified to be compatible with music mixing software or game controls.  So instead pushing keys, the user types by tapping the surface where the desired characters are displayed.  In addition to looking futuristic thanks to the sleek design and LED lighting, this gadget has several practical advantages over current traditional computer keyboards as well as other touch screen keypads.

With the traditional computer keyboard, the spaces and crevices between keys tend to accumulate dust and crumbs.  This makes cleaning tedious, requiring the use of a brush or canister of compressed air to remove the particles.  Also, a liquid spill could be fatal to hardware, especially for lap tops where the keyboard is integrated into the computer.  Small openings, which allow the keys to actuate, permit liquids to seep down into the unit and damage the circuitry.  Another issue with traditional keyboards it that the letters and numbers on keys tend to fade and wear off over time due to friction with user fingertips.  Apple’s keyboard should prove easy to maintain; cleaning will involve swiping over the smooth surface with a cloth or cleaning pad.  And although there are no reports of the device being water proof or water resistant, it is reasonable to imagine it being impervious to minor spills.  Finally, the letters and numbers will maintain integrity because they will be displayed beneath the surface the user actually touches.

Other touch screen keyboards may feature flat, easy to clean surfaces, but one complaint with the current technology seems to be the inability to discern between intentional and inadvertent user input.  Apple’s new invention overcomes this by utilizing a combination of sensors.  Piezo-electric sensors detect acoustic vibrations from the user’s fingers tapping on the surface.  Capacitive sensors measure the pressure exerted by the user’s fingertips. Together, these sensors distinguish intentional user commands from a user accidentally resting a palm or wrist on the keyboard.

Do you have an idea for a new invention?  Contact a competent patent attorney to discuss protecting your intellectual property rights.

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