Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Innovative keyboard with flexible layout

A keyboard with increased capabilities of easy reconfiguration to any set of languages and symbol groups is expected to revolutionalise interaction with electronic devices - from computers to cell phones.
Innovative keyboard with flexible layout
One of the most common ways of data input in electronic devices such as computers, Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) and cellular phone is via keyboards. Keyboards display increased flexibility, changing any set of characters or symbol groups according to user needs. A widely accepted, standard layout of an English keyboard is the QWERTY layout, named after the first six characters on the left side of the top row of the keyboard.

Unlike this, the newly developed keyboard allows the user to easily change the order of the characters' layout via the keyboard or computer by following a few simple steps. The innovative technology is not virtual, but it rather involves real hardware combined with specific additional new software.

This novelty allows dynamic and easy change of the different fonts, signs and symbols for an almost unlimited number of languages, symbol groups or specific keyboard layouts. This user-friendly font change on the fly is particularly critical for languages with more than 24 characters, such as Chinese. This potential is feasible through special software programs added in either the keyboard processor or the computer/PDA memory or both. Moreover, these programs can be continuously added by using all conventional methods including CDs and Internet downloads as per availability at the desired time.

Furthermore, there is also an increased capability of employing a Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) screen for a completely foldable keyboard, such as a small compact roll that is portable. Another option would be the use of electronic ink (e-ink) to be applied on the keyboard surface/screen for a similar operation to the LCD screen. The cost-effective, multi-purpose operation of an electronic device by using just a single keyboard is offered to industrial manufacturers/distributors of keyboards for technology implementation.
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