New Electro Mechanical Polymer Could Make Touchscreen Keyboards a Little More Physical



There’s new EMP technology on the horizon, and it might change the way you interact with touchscreen keyboards. And no, that’s not the same EMP as the one used in all the doomsday scenarios – we’re talking electro mechanical polymers, not electromagnetic pulses.

The electro mechanical polymers, made by Strategic Polymers Sciences, are new super-thin plastics that can change their shape and play sounds in response to electronic signals. The polymers are 1.5 mm thick, which means they could be used along with touchscreen devices as part of the keyboard. Basically, as the touchscreen keys are being pressed, the plastic would actually change its shape to provide feedback, instead of the vibration feedback you get now. And, with sound generation, you would get immediate audio feedback – the sound of keys clicking, perhaps.

In fact, there’s already a prototype of a touchscreen device with a keyboard that pops up from the touchscreen when brought up. Once you dismiss the keyboard, the screen becomes flat again. For fans of tactile feedback, this is great news – you would be getting the benefits of a physical keyboard, without having to settle for a screen half the size of what the usual touchscreen devices are. Or, put more simply – you would be getting the feeling of the keyboard of the BlackBerry Q10 in the body of a Z10. Not a bad deal. Keep your eyes peeled and fingers crossed for this technology to be put to good use in the near future.

Via MIT Technology Review