07 January 2006

Fabric Keyboard

As Smartphone and PDA screens grow, keyboards
typically shrink. Imagine using your PDA on an airplane table with a
wireless full-sized keyboard. No worries if a pocket of turbulence
spills your coffee on the keyboard -- just throw it in the washing
machine.



That's what a company called Eleksen
offers with its fabric keyboard. After
using it for a few minutes, I can confirm the touch typists will be
much more effective on this than a tiny thumb keyboard. It may not
sport the usual key travel and click, but the slight depression leaves
no doubt when a key is pressed. When done, just roll it up and stuff it
in your computer bag, or even your pocket. It doesn't take up much
space, and it won't break. Connectivity options include Bluetooth and
USB.



Eleksen also uses this technology in
clothing. On display was a ski jacket with music player controls
embedded in the sleeve. No, these "buttons" aren't sewn in or ironed on
-- they're part of the fabric. (The buttons are activated by pressure,
not heat, so gloves can be kept on.) The jacket included a headphone
jack and a microphone built into the collar, and the control unit is
smart enough to pause the music when you answer a call (all via the
sleeve buttons). The picture just doesn't do it justice.
Sleeve_controls

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