Microsoft Surface Neo could come with transparent keyboard

Surface Neo

Microsoft unfolded Surface Neo at its October 2nd event in the
New York City and it comes with the wraparound keyboard
accessory. The actual work requires a keyboard and Microsoft is
trying to achieve flexibility by bridging the gap between users
who prefer real keyboard and those who type on the touchscreen.

Surface Neo, which runs
Windows 10 X, supports a magnetic keyboard that covers the
two-third of one screen. Microsoft’s new operating system
recognizes the keyboard and it shrinks the one-third of the
display to render a rich input area where you can open certain
apps or emojis.

In a new patent filing
titled ‘MECHANICAL KEYBOARD OVERLAY FOR TOUCH SCREEN’,
Microsoft has discussed how it plans to build a Surface product
with a mechanical keyboard that sits above one of the displays.
This also suggests that Microsoft plans to use a mechanical
keyboard layout for Surface Neo and possibly other dual-screen
products.

Microsoft patent says traditional devices have a mechanical
keyboard, but touchscreen present a virtual keyboard and
experience is not as good as a mechanical keyboard. The patent
addresses the problem with a mechanical keyboard for use on a
touch screen.

According to the Redmond firm, Surface mechanical keyboard may
come with individually and resiliently depressible keys that
include a user-facing outer portion and a screen-facing.

Surface Neo keyboard
Image Courtesy: USPTO / Microsoft

“The network of electrical conductors is configured to conduct
a drive signal to the inner portion of the key, the drive
signal being received, during the depression of the key, at a
locus of touch screen directly beneath the key,” the filing
reads.

Microsoft also noted that the accessory includes a hinge to
enable the mechanical keyboard to fold onto or behind the touch
screen.

“The hinge allows almost 360° of rotation, which enables the
mechanical keyboard to be folded onto touch screen for use or
behind touch screen for stowage. In other examples, different
keyboard mounting and stowage configurations may be employed,
including some in which the mechanical keyboard is permanent
attached to the electronic device.

Interestingly, keyboard keys could be substantially transparent
or substantially translucent where the keys may comprise very
thin wires and or films formed from a degenerately doped
semiconductor.

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