July 12, 2020

The era of configurable keyboards: electronic ink is imposed | Technology

There is no doubt that the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show (CES) it is the world reference point if one wants to know what technology or technologies will become strong in the short and medium term. In this sense, the computer manufacturers have continued without giving solution these years to a pressing problem: the personalization of the keyboards. We do not only refer to the language requirements of each language, but also to the possibility of adapting them to the context of the application executed. Fortunately, autoconfigurable keyboards are opening up and CES has presented very interesting solutions in this line.

Lenovo Yoga Book C930.
Lenovo Yoga Book C930.

Last year, Computex showed the first laptops that transformed the surface until now dedicated to the physical keyboard on a multifunction screen that, in addition to being used as a keyboard, could be used in multiple ways depending on the program in execution. This possibility was provided thanks to the application of electronic ink (e-ink), a technology that consumes very little battery and allows to personalize the content on a touch surface.

In the great world electronic fair par excellence, he has not hesitated to reward one of the best products of the contest to the laptop Lenovo Yoga Book C930 What is special about this computer? It is the first laptop in the world to incorporate a dual screen: the surface of the keyboard transforms into an additional screen that can be used as a keyboard configurable by the user or in a simple notebook on which to draw. The advantages of this type of 'keyboard' are obvious, but there is a clear toll to pay: you do not have the experience that you feel when writing on a physical keyboard; It must be remembered that the e-ink screen is a flat tactile surface.

This problem will not suffer another of the products that have been long dressed at CES, the configurable keyboard Nemeio, a peripheral that skilfully combines the best of both worlds: the physical keys with a content in electronic ink personalized by the user or the program in execution. This product has two patents, according to its creators, that protect its "unique functions", among which are, change the distribution of the same depending on the language, as well as the existence of hundreds of existing profiles in the product library.

Google has also embraced the technology of e-ink incorporating its virtual assistant, Google Assistant, to all a range of products that have been presented worldwide in the Las Vegas contest. The giant aims to grow the Google Assistant Connect ecosystem giving way to new and imaginative equipment, such as the mentioned electronic ink screens that could be placed, for example, on the door of the refrigerator offering information of time and traffic or in the bathroom with the same function.


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