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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 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 typing is difficult.
Membrane keyboards work by electrical contact between the keyboard surface and the underlying circuits when keytop areas are pressed. These models were used with some early 1980s home computers, enjoying wide adoption in consumer electronics devices. The keyboards are quite inexpensive to mass-produce, and are more resistant against dirt and liquids than most other keyboards. However, due to a low or non-existent tactile feedback, most people have difficulty typing with them, especially when larger numbers of characters are being typed. Chiclet keyboards 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 and restricted areas), 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.
The membrane keyboard consists of three layers; two of these are membrane layers containing conductive traces. The center layer is a "spacer" containing holes wherever a "key" exists. It keeps the other two layers separated.
Under normal conditions, the switch (key) is open, because current cannot cross the non-conductive gap between the traces on the bottom layer. However, when the top layer is pressed down (with a finger), it makes contact with the bottom layer. The conductive traces on the underside of the top layer can then bridge the gap, allowing current to flow. The switch is now "closed", and the parent device registers a keypress.
Typical applications include;
Source, APEM, Membrane switch panels
QWERTY layouts unless otherwise specified
A keyset or chorded keyboard is a computer input device that allows the user to enter characters or commands formed by pressing several keys together, like playing a "chord" on a piano. The large number of combinations available from a small number of keys allows text or commands to be entered with one hand, leaving the other hand free. A secondary advantage is that it can be built into a device that is too small to contain a normal-sized keyboard.
Computer keyboards can be classified by the switch technology that they use. Computer alphanumeric keyboards typically have 80 to 110 durable switches, generally one for each key. The choice of switch technology affects key response and pre travel. Newer keyboard models use hybrids of various technologies to achieve greater cost savings.
The ZX Spectrum is an 8-bit personal home computer released in the United Kingdom in 1982 by Sinclair Research.
A game controller, gaming controller, or simply controller, is an input device used with video games or entertainment systems to provide input to a video game, typically to control an object or character in the game. Before the seventh generation of video game consoles, plugging in a controller into one of a console's controller ports were the primary means of using a game controller, although since then they have been replaced by wireless controllers, which do not require controller ports on the console but are battery-powered. USB game controllers could also be connected to a computer with a USB port. Input devices that have been classified as game controllers include keyboards, mouses, gamepads, joysticks, etc. Special purpose devices, such as steering wheels for driving games and light guns for shooting games, are also game controllers.
A chiclet keyboard or island-style keyboard is a computer keyboard with keys that form an array of small, flat rectangular or lozenge-shaped rubber or plastic keys that look like erasers or "Chiclets", a brand of chewing gum manufactured in the shape of small squares with rounded corners. It is an evolution of the membrane keyboard, using the same principle of a single rubber sheet with individual electrical switches underneath each key, but with the addition of an additional upper layer which provides superior tactical feedback through a buckling mechanism.
A touchscreen, or touch screen, is a both input and output device and normally layered on the top of an electronic visual display of an information processing system. A user can give input or control the information processing system through simple or multi-touch gestures by touching the screen with a special stylus or one or more fingers. Some touchscreens use ordinary or specially coated gloves to work while others may only work using a special stylus or pen. The user can use the touchscreen to react to what is displayed and, if the software allows, to control how it is displayed; for example, zooming to increase the text size.
The space bar, spacebar, blank, or space key is a key on a typewriter or alphanumeric keyboard in the form of a horizontal bar in the lowermost row, significantly wider than other keys. Its main purpose is to conveniently enter a space, e.g., between words during typing.
Arrow keys or cursor movement keys are buttons on a computer keyboard that are either programmed or designated to move the cursor in a specified direction. The term "cursor movement key" is distinct from "arrow key" in that the former term may refer to any of various keys on a computer keyboard designated for cursor movement, whereas "arrow keys" generally refers to one of four specific keys, typically marked with arrows.
The Kinesis line of ergonomic computer keyboards is an alternative to the traditional keyboard design. Most widely known among these are the contoured Advantage line, which feature recessed keys in two bucket-like hollows which allow the fingers to reach keys with less effort as well as a central array of modifiers such as enter, alt, backspace, control, etc. where they can be pressed with the thumbs. All Kinesis keyboards support the capability to re-map individual keys. Recent models also come with the ability to switch between the Dvorak layout with the press of a special key combination, though keycaps printed with dual-legend QWERTY/Dvorak letters are included only on specific models. Moreover, the keys are laid out in perfect vertical rows to avoid the need for lateral movements during typing.
A keypad is a set of buttons arranged in a block or "pad" which bear digits, symbols or alphabetical letters. Pads mostly containing numbers are called a numeric keypad. Numeric keypads are found on alphanumeric keyboards and on other devices which require mainly numeric input such as calculators, push-button telephones, vending machines, ATMs, Point of Sale devices, combination locks, and digital door locks. Many devices follow the E.161 standard for their arrangement.
A membrane switch is an electrical switch for turning a circuit on and off. It differs from a mechanical switch, which is usually made of copper and plastic parts: a membrane switch is a circuit printed on PET or ITO. The ink used for screen printing is usually copper / silver / graphite filled and therefore conductive.
Japanese input methods are used to input Japanese characters on a computer.
A text entry interface or text entry device is an interface that is used to enter text information an electronic device. A commonly used device is a mechanical computer keyboard. Most laptop computers have an integrated mechanical keyboard, and desktop computers are usually operated primarily using a keyboard and mouse. Devices such as smartphones and tablets mean that interfaces such as virtual keyboards and voice recognition are becoming more popular as text entry systems.
Silicone rubber keypads are used extensively in both consumer and industrial electronic products as a low cost and reliable switching solution.
The VideoBrain Family Computer is an 8-bit home computer manufactured by Umtech Incorporated, starting in 1977. It is based on the Fairchild Semiconductor F8 CPU. It was not a large commercial success and was discontinued from the market less than three years after its initial release. Some of its lack of success has been attributed to the decision to substitute the APL/S programming language over the then-standard BASIC. Due to the high cost of RAM memory, it only contained 1 KB. It had a full-travel keyboard, unlike some early home computers that featured membrane keypads, but with a very non-standard layout. It was designed by Dr. David Chung and Dr. Albert Yu.
The Atari 2600 hardware design experienced many makeovers and revisions during its 14-year production history. The system also has many controllers and third-party peripherals.
A computer keyboard is a typewriter-style device which uses an arrangement of buttons or keys to act as mechanical levers or electronic switches. Following the decline of punch cards and paper tape, interaction via teleprinter-style keyboards became the main input method for computers.
A keyboard layout is any specific mechanical, visual, or functional arrangement of the keys, legends, or key-meaning associations (respectively) of a computer, typewriter, or other typographic keyboard.
A numeric keypad, number pad, numpad, or ten key, is the palm-sized, 17-key section of a standard computer keyboard, usually on the far right. It provides calculator-style efficiency for entering numbers. The idea of a 10-key number pad cluster was originally introduced by Tadao Kashio, the developer of Casio electronic calculators.
The Atari joystick port is a computer port used to connect various gaming controllers to game console and home computer systems in the 1970s to the 1990s. It was originally introduced on the Atari 2600 in 1977 and then used on the Atari 400 and 800 in 1979. It went cross-platform with the Commodore VIC-20 of 1981, and was then used on many following machines from both companies, as well as a growing list of 3rd party machines like the MSX platform and various Sega consoles.
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