The drama that Apple is currently experiencing in keyboard It seems days are gone, if the rumors are correct and the company abandons the current butterfly mechanism and adopts the traditional 16-inch MacBook Pro's traditional scissor design. But it may be that even more changes ahead.
A patent published by Ma and recently spotted by AppleInsider describes one of Optical Keyboard (Optical keyboard), a physical keyboard technology for future computers or peripherals that would not involve any kind of mechanical switch, simply based on the action of light. What?!
Explanation: Since the personal computer revolution (and before!) To today, the fundamental technology underneath almost all keyboards is essentially the same. Whether on a heavy mechanical keyboard or the late butterfly keyboard of the new MacBooks Air, component action is accomplished by touching electronic contacts, one on the key and one on the receiving base, sending signals to the device in question.
In Apple's idea, that wouldn't exist. You would continue to press keys to get screen results, but these keys would be “empty” at the bottom, with light emitting systems and sensors that would know which key (s) are being pressed each time. Entering the most technical details, the patent is thus described:
An input device (the keyboard) may include a button or key that uses a light sensor to detect key press events. The light sensor can detect differences in the amount of light received according to the key or button press. The button or key may include an opaque structure that blocks a portion of the light when the key is pressed. The button or key may include a light source, such as an LED. One portion of the source light may illuminate the key or button to provide backlighting, and the other portion may be used by the light sensor to detect partial or complete key compression.
The idea is certainly promising: Because it involves much less moving parts, we may be talking about a much more durable and reliable keyboard. Moreover, by the “loose” nature of each key, repairs would also be much simpler, since failure of a key would not require changing the keyboard as a whole only of that component.
Of course, being a patent, Apple may never implement the technology. Still, the good idea, isn't it?