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Ultimate keyswitch idea

post #1 of 2
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I built an arduino powered footswitch macro keyboard a while ago and it got me thinking about keyboard and keyswitch design. I have now arrived at what might be a novel idea for the ultimate keyswitch.

Just to be clear, this is a theoretical non-existant product.

The switch consists of 3 components:
  1. An analog linear positional sensor. Could be hall effect, capacitive or optical.
  2. A linear voice coil suspension. (haptic driver)
  3. A high speed digital signal processing controller.

This combination would allow a keyswitch with fully programmable behaviour featuring:
  • Customizable make and break actuation positions.
  • Customizable top and bottom of travel.
  • Customizable high resolution force curve ranging from 5N to -5N.

Potential advantages:
  • Could be programmed to behave and feel exactly like anyone's favourite switch action.
  • Could be silent with a programmed soft bottom-out and top-out.
  • Microsecond accurate key reporting, no contact bounce.
  • Accurate haptic feedback tied precisely to contact events.
  • Able to be so light that your finger can't even feel the key falling under it's weight.
  • Could support even keycap lighting with no light bleed (I hate that)
  • Could use analogue key input. (do different things based on how far or fast the key is pressed)
  • Could use the keyboard as a haptic output device. (e.g. different haptic feel if the "wrong" key is pressed)

Potential disadvantages:
  • Would be ludicrously expensive in terms of R&D costs and probably also retail price.
  • Could easily require more power than is available via USB (though could theoretically tame the power envelope to fit USB)
  • Could run hot enough to need heatsinking in excessive use situations. Solvable with clever programming I think.
  • Probably can't be engineered to fit a laptop keyboard form factor, certainly would weigh more.

I did some research on existing off-the-shelf linear voice coil products. I don't think there is an existing product that would do the job but based on existing specs I think it's possible to design a part that would fit the dimensions required for a full size keyswitch with 5mm max travel and 5-10N max momentary force.

I realize that the R&D required means this will likely never be a thing but I do like to push my imagination sometimes.
Edited by matman - 7/3/16 at 7:10pm
exfinium-6
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SanDisk Extreme 240 Samsung HM500JI Corsair H60 Windows 7 
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exfinium-6
(14 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsHard Drive
i5 4670K Asrock Z87E-ITX Gigabyte GTX 670 Mach Xtreme mSATA 240 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
SanDisk Extreme 240 Samsung HM500JI Corsair H60 Windows 7 
MonitorMonitorKeyboardPower
Dell 3008WFP Dell U2711 Logitech G15 Seasonic S12II 520 
CaseMouse
exfinium-6 Logitech G500 
  hide details  
Reply
post #2 of 2
I miss one feature, it's not mind reading.
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