A membrane keyboard is a computer keyboard whose "keys"
are not separate, moving parts, as with the majority of other keyboards,
but rather are pressure pads or metal domes that have only outlines and
symbols printed on a flat, flexible surface. Very little, if any, tactile
feedback is felt when using such a keyboard, and error-free blind or
touch typing is difficult because of the high operating pressure.
Membrane keyboards, which work by electrical contact between the keyboard
surface and the underlying circuits when keytop
areas are pressed, were used with some early 1980s home computers, and
have been much used in consumer electronics devices. The keyboards are
very inexpensive to mass produce, and are more resistant against dirt and
liquids than most other keyboards, but due to the low or non-existent
amount of tactile feedback provided, most people have difficulty typing
with them, especially when large numbers of characters need to be typed.
Some membrane keyboards with embossed key sides were a slight
improvement, at least allowing individual keys to be felt to some extent.
Aside from early hobbyist/kit/home computers and some video game
consoles, membrane-based QWERTY keyboards are used in some industrial
computer systems, and are also found as portable, even "rollable-collapsible" designs for PDAs and other
pocket computing devices. Smaller, specialised
membrane keyboards, typically numeric-and-a-few-control-keys only, have
been used in access control systems for buildings, simple handheld
calculators, domestic remote control keypads, microwave ovens, and other
similar devices where the amount of typing is relatively small or
infrequent, such as cell phones.
Modern PC keyboards are essentially a membrane keyboard mechanism
covered with an array of dome switches which give positive tactile
feedback but still suffer from key failure do to the contacting surfaces.
EKI keys keyboards that detect your finger optically have no contacts to
fail. this is also true of elastomeric and
EKI custom keyboards detect your finger optically and have zero
operating force, unlike membrane keyboards that have a limited life
because they use contacts with high finger force, can fail, and can cost
from $3000 to $8000 to have a custom keyboard made, EKI keyboards are
warranted for life and only cost a one time
charge to make a custom. No need for custom color key caps with different
text that can wear off EKI puts a .010 lexan
protective sheet over all keys.
To see EKI Custom Keyboards Click Here