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Communications

Keyboard Rollups

Typing on a handheld device’s tiny keypad can be frustrating. It’s not uncommon to have to press the same key several times just to create one letter. Now, ElectroTextiles, based in Buckinghamshire, England, has designed a full-sized flexible keyboard that can be attached to a cell phone or a personal digital assistant. When you’re done, fold it in thirds and tuck it into your jacket-it takes up about the same space as a handheld computer. The keyboard is only a few millimeters thick, made from a fabric woven with tiny conductive fibers. During typing, pressure on the fabric surface is converted into electronic impulses. Software translates the impulses into digital commands that become the letters and words of your e-mail message. ElectroTextiles plans to bring the keyboard to market late this year.

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