Future MacBooks Might Eliminate Mechanical Keyboard Switches

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| News

Future MacBook keyboards might not have mechanical keyboard switches, with a patent suggesting an “optical keyboard.”

Light Switches

The optical keyboard would use a system of emitters and sensors that measure light. If the key sensors detect a change in the light, it could take that as input.

The light sensor may detect changes in an amount of received light caused by actuation of a keycap of the button or key. The button or key may include an opaque structure that blocks a portion of the light when the key is compressed. The button or key may include a light source such as a light-emitting diode that generates light.

A portion of the light from the light source may illuminate the key or button to provide backlight for the key and another portion may be received by the light sensor for detecting partial or complete compression of the button or key.

Although a patent filing isn’t a guarantee that Apple will release such technology, removing mechanical parts could solve problems such as debris under the keys.

Further Reading:

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wab95
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wab95

Andrew:

This is one reason why, as I’ve commented before, that I believe that Apple have not abandoned the Touch Bar keyboard, whose technology will likely feature in such a non-mechanical keyboard in future. Indeed, I would go further and venture this technology will go further to introducing a user-configurable keyboard, providing a greater range of options that might make redundant a number of keyboard shortcuts required for mechanical boards.

The future of computation, in my opinion, is increasingly non-mechanical.