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Darfon's Maglev keyboard to help slim future notebooks

by Mark Tyson on 9 June 2014, 14:15

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qacfhj

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Keyboard manufacturer Darfon has introduced a new, super-thin Maglev keyboard that could facilitate a significant thickness reduction in future notebook designs. Instead of the conventional rubber cups and scissor switches, in traditional notebook keyboard keys, the Maglev keyboard utilises magnetic levitation to keep the keys raised and in position.

According to CNet's report, Darfon had different keyboard prototypes on display, including a demo notebook, which was set up to show off the combined design slimness, as well as a standalone keyboard. The manufacturer also suggests that users can adjust the resistance of keys to their liking electronically. Perhaps users could tweak a software control panel to adjust key resistance and typing feel.

However having tested a prototype, CNet's reporter thought that while the notebook prototype was admirably thin, the lack of depth in the key action made it uncomfortable and difficult to type.

Even though the Maglev keyboard may still not have the feel of a traditional keyboard, it will be a step to help achieve even thinner notebooks. Darfon has declined to reveal what companies will be applying its technology on their upcoming devices, though it has already received orders from several notebook vendors.

Darfon's keyboards are said to be coming in the consumer market by the end of the second half of 2014, or the first quarter of 2015. The company is claiming that this unique technology will give the keyboard a longer product life, outlasting the typical 10 million-stroke life of a traditional keyboard by around 50 per cent.

External standalone keyboards are also expected to be released by Darfon before the end of 2014, DigiTimes says. The company is expected to sell them online, through retailer partners such as Amazon.



HEXUS Forums :: 15 Comments

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Would never buy it, same way I have trouble with low profile keyboards and touch screen keyboards, my fingers need to feel the keys for touch typing.
I would love to see an Android phone with a slide out keyboard with this. :)

Mind you, this tech is probably still far too thick for a sliding keyboard.
I think this will be interesting and I am anxious to see this. Mainly because I have to buy a laptop next year for my schools BYOD
Before I got my first laptop I remember being worried the low-profile/low-travel keys would be hard to type on, but now I find most other keyboards cumbersome and clunky. Hopefully this will be similar, the ability to customise the resistance is definitely interesting. Cost might be a worry, especially as Darfon don't seem to have mentioned that bit…

I wonder if it would be possible to have an ultra-ultra-thin maglev keyboard with keys in the ‘down’ position when a laptop is shut, which then raises/levitates the keys up to a normal travel height when the lid is lifted and the keyboard powered up…or is that the whole idea of this in the first place?
How much of the batteries would something like this drain ? isn't powering 100+ electromagnets going to chew into the run time from each charge.