Industrial Keyboards

Electronic Keyboards, Inc.

"The Next Generation of Man - Machine Interface"

Industrial Keyboard


Industrial Keyboards from EKI

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Membrane Keyboards

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 rubber switches.

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.

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